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retirement reminds you of the country. So it does me."
He led me into a corner and conducted me up a flight of stairs - which
appeared to me to be slowly collapsing into sawdust, so that one of those days
the upper lodgers would look out at their doors and find themselves without the
means of coming down - to a set of chambers on the top floor. MR. POCKET, JUN.,
was painted on the door, and there was a label on the letter-box, "Return
"He hardly thought you'd come so soon," Mr. Wemmick explained. "You don't
want me any more?"
"No, thank you," said I.
"As I keep the cash," Mr. Wemmick observed, "we shall most likely meet
pretty often. Good day."
I put out my hand, and Mr. Wemmick at first looked at it as if he thought I
wanted something. Then he looked at me, and said, correcting himself,
"To be sure! Yes. You're in the habit of shaking hands?"
I was rather confused, thinking it must be out of the London fashion, but
"I have got so out of it!" said Mr. Wemmick - "except at last. Very glad,
I'm sure, to make your acquaintance. Good day!"
When we had shaken hands and he was gone, I opened the staircase window and
had nearly beheaded myself, for, the lines had rotted away, and it came down
like the guillotine. Happily it was so quick that I had not put my head out.
After this escape, I was content to take a foggy view of the Inn through the
window's encrusting dirt, and to stand dolefully looking out, saying to myself
that London was decidedly overrated.
Mr. Pocket, Junior's, idea of Shortly was not mine, for I had nearly
maddened myself with looking out for half an hour, and had written my name with
my finger several times in the dirt of every pane in the window, before I heard
footsteps on the stairs. Gradually there arose before me the hat, head,
neckcloth, waistcoat, trousers, boots, of a member of society of about my own
standing. He had a paper-bag under each arm and a pottle of strawberries in one
hand, and was out of breath.
"Mr. Pip?" said he.
"Mr. Pocket?" said I.
"Dear me!" he exclaimed. "I am extremely sorry; but I knew there was a
coach from your part of the country at midday, and I thought you would come by
that one. The fact is, I have been out on your account - not that that is any
excuse - for I thought, coming from the country, you might like a little fruit
after dinner, and I went to Covent Garden Market to get it good."
For a reason that I had, I felt as if my eyes would start out of my head.
I acknowledged his attention incoherently, and began to think this was a dream.
"Dear me!" said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "This door sticks so!"
As he was fast making jam of his fruit by wrestling with the door while the
paper-bags were under his arms, I begged him to allow me to hold them. He
relinquished them with an agreeable smile, and combated with the door as if it
were a wild beast. It yielded so suddenly at last, that he staggered back upon
me, and I staggered back upon the opposite door, and we both laughed. But still
I felt as if my eyes must start out of my head, and as if this must be a dream.
"Pray come in," said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "Allow me to lead the way. I am
rather bare here, but I hope you'll be able to make out tolerably well till
Monday. My father thought you would get on more agreeably through to-morrow
with me than with him, and might like to take a walk about London. I am sure I
shall be very happy to show London to you. As to our table, you won't find that
bad, I hope, for it will be supplied from our coffee-house here, and (it is only
right I should add) at your expense, such being Mr. Jaggers's directions. As to
our lodging, it's not by any means splendid, because I have my own bread to
earn, and my father hasn't anything to give me, and I shouldn't be willing to
take it, if he had. This is our sitting-room - just such chairs and tables and
carpet and so forth, you see, as they could spare from home. You mustn't give
me credit for the tablecloth and spoons and castors, because they come for you
from the coffee-house. This is my little bedroom; rather musty, but Barnard's
is musty. This is your bed-room; the furniture's hired for the occasion, but I
trust it will answer the purpose; if you should want anything, I'll go and fetch
it. The chambers are retired, and we shall be alone together, but we shan't
fight, I dare say. But, dear me, I beg your pardon, you're holding the fruit
all this time. Pray let me take these bags from you. I am quite ashamed."
As I stood opposite to Mr. Pocket, Junior, delivering him the bags, One,
Two, I saw the starting appearance come into his own eyes that I knew to be in
mine, and he said, falling back:
"Lord bless me, you're the prowling boy!"
"And you," said I, "are the pale young gentleman!"
The pale young gentleman and I stood contemplating one another in Barnard's
Inn, until we both burst out laughing. "The idea of its being you!" said he.
"The idea of its being you!" said I. And then we contemplated one another
afresh, and laughed again. "Well!" said the pale young gentleman, reaching out
his hand goodhumouredly, "it's all over now, I hope, and it will be magnanimous
in you if you'll forgive me for having knocked you about so."
I derived from this speech that Mr. Herbert Pocket (for Herbert was the
pale young gentleman's name) still rather confounded his intention with his
execution. But I made a modest reply, and we shook hands warmly.
"You hadn't come into your good fortune at that time?" said Herbert Pocket.
"No," said I.
"No," he acquiesced: "I heard it had happened very lately. I was rather
on the look-out for good-fortune then."
"Yes. Miss Havisham had sent for me, to see if she could take a fancy to
me. But she couldn't - at all events, she didn't."
I thought it polite to remark that I was surprised to hear that.
"Bad taste," said Herbert, laughing, "but a fact. Yes, she had sent for me
on a trial visit, and if I had come out of it successfully, I suppose I should
have been provided for; perhaps I should have been what-you-may-called it to
"What's that?" I asked, with sudden gravity.
He was arranging his fruit in plates while we talked, which divided his
attention, and was the cause of his having made this lapse of a word.
"Affianced," he explained, still busy with the fruit. "Betrothed. Engaged.
What's-his-named. Any word of that sort."
"How did you bear your disappointment?" I asked.
"Pooh!" said he, "I didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar."
"I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and haughty
and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up by Miss Havisham to
wreak revenge on all the male sex."
"What relation is she to Miss Havisham?" "None," said he. "Only adopted."
"Why should she wreak revenge on all the male sex? What revenge?"
"Lord, Mr. Pip!" said he. "Don't you know?"
"No," said I.
"Dear me! It's quite a story, and shall be saved till dinner-time. And now
let me take the liberty of asking you a question. How did you come there, that
I told him, and he was attentive until I had finished, and then burst out
laughing again, and asked me if I was sore afterwards? I didn't ask him if he
was, for my conviction on that point was perfectly established.
"Mr. Jaggers is your guardian, I understand?" he went on.
"You know he is Miss Havisham's man of business and solicitor, and has her
confidence when nobody else has?"
This was bringing me (I felt) towards dangerous ground. I answered with a
constraint I made no attempt to disguise, that I had seen Mr. Jaggers in Miss
Havisham's house on the very day of our combat, but never at any other time, and
that I believed he had no recollection of having ever seen me there.
"He was so obliging as to suggest my father for your tutor, and he called
on my father to propose it. Of course he knew about my father from his
connexion with Miss Havisham. My father is Miss Havisham's cousin; not that
that implies familiar intercourse between them, for he is a bad courtier and
will not propitiate her."
Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very taking. I
had never seen any one then, and I have never seen any one since, who more
strongly expressed to me, in every look and tone, a natural incapacity to do
anything secret and mean. There was something wonderfully hopeful about his
general air, and something that at the same time whispered to me he would never
be very successful or rich. I don't know how this was. I became imbued with
the notion on that first occasion before we sat down to dinner, but I cannot
define by what means.
He was still a pale young gentleman, and had a certain conquered languor
about him in the midst of his spirits and briskness, that did not seem
indicative of natural strength. He had not a handsome face, but it was better
than handsome: being extremely amiable and cheerful. His figure was a little
ungainly, as in the days when my knuckles had taken such liberties with it, but
it looked as if it would always be light and young. Whether Mr. Trabb's local
work would have sat more gracefully on him than on me, may be a question; but I
am conscious that he carried off his rather old clothes, much better than I
carried off my new suit.
As he was so communicative, I felt that reserve on my part would be a bad
return unsuited to our years. I therefore told him my small story, and laid
stress on my being forbidden to inquire who my benefactor was. I further
mentioned that as I had been brought up a blacksmith in a country place, and
knew very little of the ways of politeness, I would take it as a great kindness
in him if he would give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong.
"With pleasure," said he, "though I venture to prophesy that you'll want
very few hints. I dare say we shall be often together, and I should like to
banish any needless restraint between us. Will you do me the favour to begin at
once to call me by my Christian name, Herbert?"
I thanked him, and said I would. I informed him in exchange that my
Christian name was Philip.
"I don't take to Philip," said he, smiling, "for it sounds like a moral boy
out of the spelling-book, who was so lazy that he fell into a pond, or so fat
that he couldn't see out of his eyes, or so avaricious that he locked up his
cake till the mice ate it, or so determined to go a bird's-nesting that he got
himself eaten by bears who lived handy in the neighbourhood. I tell you what I
should like. We are so harmonious, and you have been a blacksmith - would you
"I shouldn't mind anything that you propose," I answered, "but I don't
"Would you mind Handel for a familiar name? There's a charming piece of
music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith."
"I should like it very much."
"Then, my dear Handel," said he, turning round as the door opened, "here is
the dinner, and I must beg of you to take the top of the table, because the
dinner is of your providing."
This I would not hear of, so he took the top, and I faced him. It was a
nice little dinner - seemed to me then, a very Lord Mayor's Feast - and it
acquired additional relish from being eaten under those independent
circumstances, with no old people by, and with London all around us. This again
was heightened by a certain gipsy character that set the banquet off; for, while
the table was, as Mr. Pumblechook might have said, the lap of luxury - being
entirely furnished forth from the coffee-house - the circumjacent region of
sitting-room was of a comparatively pastureless and shifty character: imposing
on the waiter the wandering habits of putting the covers on the floor (where he
fell over them), the melted butter in the armchair, the bread on the
bookshelves, the cheese in the coalscuttle, and the boiled fowl into my bed in
the next room - where I found much of its parsley and butter in a state of
congelation when I retired for the night. All this made the feast delightful,
and when the waiter was not there to watch me, my pleasure was without alloy.
We had made some progress in the dinner, when I reminded Herbert of his
promise to tell me about Miss Havisham.
"True," he replied. "I'll redeem it at once. Let me introduce the topic,
Handel, by mentioning that in London it is not the custom to put the knife in
the mouth - for fear of accidents - and that while the fork is reserved for that
use, it is not put further in than necessary. It is scarcely worth mentioning,
only it's as well to do as other people do. Also, the spoon is not generally
used over-hand, but under. This has two advantages. You get at your mouth
better (which after all is the object), and you save a good deal of the attitude
of opening oysters, on the part of the right elbow."
He offered these friendly suggestions in such a lively way, that we both
laughed and I scarcely blushed.
"Now," he pursued, "concerning Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, you must
know, was a spoilt child. Her mother died when she was a baby, and her father