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feelings that we record HIM as the Mentor of our young Telemachus, for it is
good to know that our town produced the founder of the latter's fortunes. Does
the thoughtcontracted brow of the local Sage or the lustrous eye of local Beauty
inquire whose fortunes? We believe that Quintin Matsys was the BLACKSMITH of
Antwerp. VERB. SAP.
I entertain a conviction, based upon large experience, that if in the days
of my prosperity I had gone to the North Pole, I should have met somebody there,
wandering Esquimaux or civilized man, who would have told me that Pumblechook
was my earliest patron and the founder of my fortunes.
Betimes in the morning I was up and out. It was too early yet to go to
Miss Havisham's, so I loitered into the country on Miss Havisham's side of town
- which was not Joe's side; I could go there to-morrow - thinking about my
patroness, and painting brilliant pictures of her plans for me.
She had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not
fail to be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to
restore the desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the
clocks a-going and the cold hearths a-blazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy
the vermin - in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance,
and marry the Princess. I had stopped to look at the house as I passed; and its
seared red brick walls, blocked windows, and strong green ivy clasping even the
stacks of chimneys with its twigs and tendons, as if with sinewy old arms, had
made up a rich attractive mystery, of which I was the hero. Estella was the
inspiration of it, and the heart of it, of course. But, though she had taken
such strong possession of me, though my fancy and my hope were so set upon her,
though her influence on my boyish life and character had been all-powerful, I
did not, even that romantic morning, invest her with any attributes save those
she possessed. I mention this in this place, of a fixed purpose, because it is
the clue by which I am to be followed into my poor labyrinth. According to my
experience, the conventional notion of a lover cannot be always true. The
unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved
her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow,
often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against
promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all
discouragement that could be. Once for all; I loved her none the less because I
knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly
believed her to be human perfection.
I so shaped out my walk as to arrive at the gate at my old time. When I had
rung at the bell with an unsteady hand, I turned my back upon the gate, while I
tried to get my breath and keep the beating of my heart moderately quiet. I
heard the side door open, and steps come across the court-yard; but I pretended
not to hear, even when the gate swung on its rusty hinges.
Being at last touched on the shoulder, I started and turned. I started
much more naturally then, to find myself confronted by a man in a sober grey
dress. The last man I should have expected to see in that place of porter at
Miss Havisham's door.
"Ah, young master, there's more changes than yours. But come in, come in.
It's opposed to my orders to hold the gate open."
I entered and he swung it, and locked it, and took the key out. "Yes!" said
he, facing round, after doggedly preceding me a few steps towards the house.
"Here I am!"
"How did you come here?"
"I come her," he retorted, "on my legs. I had my box brought alongside me
in a barrow."
"Are you here for good?"
"I ain't her for harm, young master, I suppose?"
I was not so sure of that. I had leisure to entertain the retort in my
mind, while he slowly lifted his heavy glance from the pavement, up my legs and
arms, to my face.
"Then you have left the forge?" I said.
"Do this look like a forge?" replied Orlick, sending his glance all round
him with an air of injury. "Now, do it look like it?"
I asked him how long he had left Gargery's forge?
"One day is so like another here," he replied, "that I don't know without
casting it up. However, I come her some time since you left."
"I could have told you that, Orlick."
"Ah!" said he, drily. "But then you've got to be a scholar."
By this time we had come to the house, where I found his room to be one
just within the side door, with a little window in it looking on the court-yard.
In its small proportions, it was not unlike the kind of place usually assigned
to a gate-porter in Paris. Certain keys were hanging on the wall, to which he
now added the gate-key; and his patchwork-covered bed was in a little inner
division or recess. The whole had a slovenly confined and sleepy look, like a
cage for a human dormouse: while he, looming dark and heavy in the shadow of a
corner by the window, looked like the human dormouse for whom it was fitted up -
as indeed he was.
"I never saw this room before," I remarked; "but there used to be no Porter
"No," said he; "not till it got about that there was no protection on the
premises, and it come to be considered dangerous, with convicts and Tag and Rag
and Bobtail going up and down. And then I was recommended to the place as a man
who could give another man as good as he brought, and I took it. It's easier
than bellowsing and hammering. - That's loaded, that is."
My eye had been caught by a gun with a brass bound stock over the
chimney-piece, and his eye had followed mine.
"Well," said I, not desirous of more conversation, "shall I go up to Miss
"Burn me, if I know!" he retorted, first stretching himself and then
shaking himself; "my orders ends here, young master. I give this here bell a
rap with this here hammer, and you go on along the passage till you meet
"I am expected, I believe?"
"Burn me twice over, if I can say!" said he.
Upon that, I turned down the long passage which I had first trodden in my
thick boots, and he made his bell sound. At the end of the passage, while the
bell was still reverberating, I found Sarah Pocket: who appeared to have now
become constitutionally green and yellow by reason of me.
"Oh!" said she. "You, is it, Mr. Pip?"
"It is, Miss Pocket. I am glad to tell you that Mr. Pocket and family are
"Are they any wiser?" said Sarah, with a dismal shake of the head; "they
had better be wiser, than well. Ah, Matthew, Matthew! You know your way, sir?"
Tolerably, for I had gone up the staircase in the dark, many a time. I
ascended it now, in lighter boots than of yore, and tapped in my old way at the
door of Miss Havisham's room. "Pip's rap," I heard her say, immediately; "come
She was in her chair near the old table, in the old dress, with her two
hands crossed on her stick, her chin resting on them, and her eyes on the fire.
Sitting near her, with the white shoe that had never been worn, in her hand, and
her head bent as she looked at it, was an elegant lady whom I had never seen.
"Come in, Pip," Miss Havisham continued to mutter, without looking round or
up; "come in, Pip, how do you do, Pip? so you kiss my hand as if I were a
queen, eh? - Well?"
She looked up at me suddenly, only moving her eyes, and repeated in a
grimly playful manner,
"I heard, Miss Havisham," said I, rather at a loss, "that you were so kind
as to wish me to come and see you, and I came directly."
The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly
at me, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella's eyes. But she was so much
changed, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all things winning
admiration had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to have made none. I
fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and
common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity that came upon me, and
the inaccessibility that came about her!
She gave me her hand. I stammered something about the pleasure I felt in
seeing her again, and about my having looked forward to it for a long, long
time. "Do you find her much changed, Pip?" asked Miss Havisham, with her greedy
look, and striking her stick upon a chair that stood between them, as a sign to
me to sit down there.
"When I came in, Miss Havisham, I thought there was nothing of Estella in
the face or figure; but now it all settles down so curiously into the old--"
"What? You are not going to say into the old Estella?" Miss Havisham
interrupted. "She was proud and insulting, and you wanted to go away from her.
Don't you remember?"
I said confusedly that that was long ago, and that I knew no better then,
and the like. Estella smiled with perfect composure, and said she had no doubt
of my having been quite right, and of her having been very disagreeable.
"Is he changed?" Miss Havisham asked her.
"Very much," said Estella, looking at me.
"Less coarse and common?" said Miss Havisham, playing with Estella's hair.
Estella laughed, and looked at the shoe in her hand, and laughed again, and
looked at me, and put the shoe down. She treated me as a boy still, but she
lured me on.
We sat in the dreamy room among the old strange influences which had so
wrought upon me, and I learnt that she had but just come home from France, and
that she was going to London. Proud and wilful as of old, she had brought those
qualities into such subjection to her beauty that it was impossible and out of
nature - or I thought so - to separate them from her beauty. Truly it was
impossible to dissociate her presence from all those wretched hankerings after
money and gentility that had disturbed my boyhood - from all those ill-regulated
aspirations that had first made me ashamed of home and Joe - from all those
visions that had raised her face in the glowing fire, struck it out of the iron
on the anvil, extracted it from the darkness of night to look in at the wooden
window of the forge and flit away. In a word, it was impossible for me to
separate her, in the past or in the present, from the innermost life of my life.
It was settled that I should stay there all the rest of the day, and return
to the hotel at night, and to London to-morrow. When we had conversed for a
while, Miss Havisham sent us two out to walk in the neglected garden: on our
coming in by-and-by, she said, I should wheel her about a little as in times of
So, Estella and I went out into the garden by the gate through which I had
strayed to my encounter with the pale young gentleman, now Herbert; I, trembling
in spirit and worshipping the very hem of her dress; she, quite composed and
most decidedly not worshipping the hem of mine. As we drew near to the place of
encounter, she stopped and said:
"I must have been a singular little creature to hide and see that fight
that day: but I did, and I enjoyed it very much."
"You rewarded me very much."
"Did I?" she replied, in an incidental and forgetful way. "I remember I
entertained a great objection to your adversary, because I took it ill that he
should be brought here to pester me with his company."
"He and I are great friends now."
"Are you? I think I recollect though, that you read with his father?"
I made the admission with reluctance, for it seemed to have a boyish look,
and she already treated me more than enough like a boy.
"Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed your
companions," said Estella.
"Naturally," said I.
"And necessarily," she added, in a haughty tone; "what was fit company for
you once, would be quite unfit company for you now."
In my conscience, I doubt very much whether I had any lingering intention
left, of going to see Joe; but if I had, this observation put it to flight.
"You had no idea of your impending good fortune, in those times?" said
Estella, with a slight wave of her hand, signifying in the fighting times.
"Not the least."
The air of completeness and superiority with which she walked at my side,
and the air of youthfulness and submission with which I walked at hers, made a
contrast that I strongly felt. It would have rankled in me more than it did, if
I had not regarded myself as eliciting it by being so set apart for her and
assigned to her.
The garden was too overgrown and rank for walking in with ease, and after
we had made the round of it twice or thrice, we came out again into the brewery
yard. I showed her to a nicety where I had seen her walking on the casks, that
first old day, and she said, with a cold and careless look in that direction,
"Did I?" I reminded her where she had come out of the house and given me my
meat and drink, and she said, "I don't remember." "Not remember that you made