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saw that at the side of the house there was a large brewery. No brewing was
going on in it, and none seemed to have gone on for a long long time.
A window was raised, and a clear voice demanded "What name?" To which my
conductor replied, "Pumblechook." The voice returned, "Quite right," and the
window was shut again, and a young lady came across the court-yard, with keys in
"This," said Mr. Pumblechook, "is Pip."
"This is Pip, is it?" returned the young lady, who was very pretty and
seemed very proud; "come in, Pip."
Mr. Pumblechook was coming in also, when she stopped him with the gate.
"Oh!" she said. "Did you wish to see Miss Havisham?"
"If Miss Havisham wished to see me," returned Mr. Pumblechook, discomfited.
"Ah!" said the girl; "but you see she don't."
She said it so finally, and in such an undiscussible way, that Mr.
Pumblechook, though in a condition of ruffled dignity, could not protest. But
he eyed me severely - as if I had done anything to him! - and departed with the
words reproachfully delivered: "Boy! Let your behaviour here be a credit unto
them which brought you up by hand!" I was not free from apprehension that he
would come back to propound through the gate, "And sixteen?" But he didn't.
My young conductress locked the gate, and we went across the court-yard.
It was paved and clean, but grass was growing in every crevice. The brewery
buildings had a little lane of communication with it, and the wooden gates of
that lane stood open, and all the brewery beyond, stood open, away to the high
enclosing wall; and all was empty and disused. The cold wind seemed to blow
colder there, than outside the gate; and it made a shrill noise in howling in
and out at the open sides of the brewery, like the noise of wind in the rigging
of a ship at sea.
She saw me looking at it, and she said, "You could drink without hurt all
the strong beer that's brewed there now, boy."
"I should think I could, miss," said I, in a shy way.
"Better not try to brew beer there now, or it would turn out sour, boy;
don't you think so?"
"It looks like it, miss."
"Not that anybody means to try," she added, "for that's all done with, and
the place will stand as idle as it is, till it falls. As to strong beer,
there's enough of it in the cellars already, to drown the Manor House."
"Is that the name of this house, miss?"
"One of its names, boy."
"It has more than one, then, miss?"
"One more. Its other name was Satis; which is Greek, or Latin, or Hebrew,
or all three - or all one to me - for enough."
"Enough House," said I; "that's a curious name, miss."
"Yes," she replied; "but it meant more than it said. It meant, when it was
given, that whoever had this house, could want nothing else. They must have been
easily satisfied in those days, I should think. But don't loiter, boy."
Though she called me "boy" so often, and with a carelessness that was far
from complimentary, she was of about my own age. She seemed much older than I,
of course, being a girl, and beautiful and self-possessed; and she was as
scornful of me as if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen.
We went into the house by a side door - the great front entrance had two
chains across it outside - and the first thing I noticed was, that the passages
were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up,
and we went through more passages and up a staircase, and still it was all dark,
and only the candle lighted us.
At last we came to the door of a room, and she said, "Go in."
I answered, more in shyness than politeness, "After you, miss."
To this, she returned: "Don't be ridiculous, boy; I am not going in." And
scornfully walked away, and - what was worse - took the candle with her.
This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, the only
thing to be done being to knock at the door, I knocked, and was told from within
to enter. I entered, therefore, and found myself in a pretty large room, well
lighted with wax candles. No glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it. It was
a dressing-room, as I supposed from the furniture, though much of it was of
forms and uses then quite unknown to me. But prominent in it was a draped table
with a gilded looking-glass, and that I made out at first sight to be a fine
Whether I should have made out this object so soon, if there had been no
fine lady sitting at it, I cannot say. In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting
on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have
ever seen, or shall ever see.
She was dressed in rich materials - satins, and lace, and silks - all of
white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her
hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some
bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay
sparkling on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, and
half-packed trunks, were scattered about. She had not quite finished dressing,
for she had but one shoe on - the other was on the table near her hand - her
veil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not put on, and some lace
for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves,
and some flowers, and a prayer-book, all confusedly heaped about the
It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things, though I
saw more of them in the first moments than might be supposed. But, I saw that
everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and
had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the
bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no
brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had
been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon
which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to
see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible
personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh
churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out
of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have
dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.
"Who is it?" said the lady at the table.
"Mr. Pumblechook's boy, ma'am. Come - to play."
"Come nearer; let me look at you. Come close."
It was when I stood before her, avoiding her eyes, that I took note of the
surrounding objects in detail, and saw that her watch had stopped at twenty
minutes to nine, and that a clock in the room had stopped at twenty minutes to
"Look at me," said Miss Havisham. "You are not afraid of a woman who has
never seen the sun since you were born?"
I regret to state that I was not afraid of telling the enormous lie
comprehended in the answer "No."
"Do you know what I touch here?" she said, laying her hands, one upon the
other, on her left side.
"Yes, ma'am." (It made me think of the young man.)
"What do I touch?"
She uttered the word with an eager look, and with strong emphasis, and with
a weird smile that had a kind of boast in it. Afterwards, she kept her hands
there for a little while, and slowly took them away as if they were heavy.
"I am tired," said Miss Havisham. "I want diversion, and I have done with
men and women. Play."
I think it will be conceded by my most disputatious reader, that she could
hardly have directed an unfortunate boy to do anything in the wide world more
difficult to be done under the circumstances.
"I sometimes have sick fancies," she went on, "and I have a sick fancy that
I want to see some play. There there!" with an impatient movement of the
fingers of her right hand; "play, play, play!"
For a moment, with the fear of my sister's working me before my eyes, I had
a desperate idea of starting round the room in the assumed character of Mr.
Pumblechook's chaise-cart. But, I felt myself so unequal to the performance
that I gave it up, and stood looking at Miss Havisham in what I suppose she took
for a dogged manner, inasmuch as she said, when we had taken a good look at each
"Are you sullen and obstinate?"
"No, ma'am, I am very sorry for you, and very sorry I can't play just now.
If you complain of me I shall get into trouble with my sister, so I would do it
if I could; but it's so new here, and so strange, and so fine - and
melancholy--." I stopped, fearing I might say too much, or had already said it,
and we took another look at each other.
Before she spoke again, she turned her eyes from me, and looked at the
dress she wore, and at the dressing-table, and finally at herself in the
"So new to him," she muttered, "so old to me; so strange to him, so
familiar to me; so melancholy to both of us! Call Estella."
As she was still looking at the reflection of herself, I thought she was
still talking to herself, and kept quiet.
"Call Estella," she repeated, flashing a look at me. "You can do that.
Call Estella. At the door."
To stand in the dark in a mysterious passage of an unknown house, bawling
Estella to a scornful young lady neither visible nor responsive, and feeling it
a dreadful liberty so to roar out her name, was almost as bad as playing to
order. But, she answered at last, and her light came along the dark passage
like a star.
Miss Havisham beckoned her to come close, and took up a jewel from the
table, and tried its effect upon her fair young bosom and against her pretty
brown hair. "Your own, one day, my dear, and you will use it well. Let me see
you play cards with this boy."
"With this boy? Why, he is a common labouring-boy!"
I thought I overheard Miss Havisham answer - only it seemed so unlikely -
"Well? You can break his heart."
"What do you play, boy?" asked Estella of myself, with the greatest
"Nothing but beggar my neighbour, miss."
"Beggar him," said Miss Havisham to Estella. So we sat down to cards.
It was then I began to understand that everything in the room had stopped,
like the watch and the clock, a long time ago. I noticed that Miss Havisham put
down the jewel exactly on the spot from which she had taken it up. As Estella
dealt the cards, I glanced at the dressing-table again, and saw that the shoe
upon it, once white, now yellow, had never been worn. I glanced down at the
foot from which the shoe was absent, and saw that the silk stocking on it, once
white, now yellow, had been trodden ragged. Without this arrest of everything,
this standing still of all the pale decayed objects, not even the withered
bridal dress on the collapsed from could have looked so like grave-clothes, or
the long veil so like a shroud.
So she sat, corpse-like, as we played at cards; the frillings and trimmings
on her bridal dress, looking like earthy paper. I knew nothing then, of the
discoveries that are occasionally made of bodies buried in ancient times, which
fall to powder in the moment of being distinctly seen; but, I have often thought
since, that she must have looked as if the admission of the natural light of day
would have struck her to dust.
"He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!" said Estella with disdain, before
our first game was out. "And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots!"
I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to
consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that
it became infectious, and I caught it.
She won the game, and I dealt. I misdealt, as was only natural, when I
knew she was lying in wait for me to do wrong; and she denounced me for a
stupid, clumsy labouring-boy.
"You say nothing of her," remarked Miss Havisham to me, as she looked on.
"She says many hard things of you, but you say nothing of her. What do you
think of her?"
"I don't like to say," I stammered.
"Tell me in my ear," said Miss Havisham, bending down.
"I think she is very proud," I replied, in a whisper.
"I think she is very pretty."
"I think she is very insulting." (She was looking at me then with a look
of supreme aversion.)
"I think I should like to go home."
"And never see her again, though she is so pretty?"
"I am not sure that I shouldn't like to see her again, but I should like to