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Chapter 8

  • Mr. Pumblechook’s premises in the High Street of the market town, were of _eppercorny and farinaceous character, as the premises of a cornchandler an_eedsman should be. It appeared to me that he must be a very happy man indeed, to have so many little drawers in his shop; and I wondered when I peeped int_ne or two on the lower tiers, and saw the tied-up brown paper packets inside, whether the flower-seeds and bulbs ever wanted of a fine day to break out o_hose jails, and bloom.
  • It was in the early morning after my arrival that I entertained thi_peculation. On the previous night, I had been sent straight to bed in a_ttic with a sloping roof, which was so low in the corner where the bedstea_as, that I calculated the tiles as being within a foot of my eyebrows. In th_ame early morning, I discovered a singular affinity between seeds an_orduroys. Mr. Pumblechook wore corduroys, and so did his shopman; an_omehow, there was a general air and flavor about the corduroys, so much i_he nature of seeds, and a general air and flavor about the seeds, so much i_he nature of corduroys, that I hardly knew which was which. The sam_pportunity served me for noticing that Mr. Pumblechook appeared to conduc_is business by looking across the street at the saddler, who appeared t_ransact his business by keeping his eye on the coachmaker, who appeared t_et on in life by putting his hands in his pockets and contemplating th_aker, who in his turn folded his arms and stared at the grocer, who stood a_is door and yawned at the chemist. The watchmaker, always poring over _ittle desk with a magnifying-glass at his eye, and always inspected by _roup of smock-frocks poring over him through the glass of his shop-window, seemed to be about the only person in the High Street whose trade engaged hi_ttention.
  • Mr. Pumblechook and I breakfasted at eight o’clock in the parlor behind th_hop, while the shopman took his mug of tea and hunch of bread and butter on _ack of peas in the front premises. I considered Mr. Pumblechook wretche_ompany. Besides being possessed by my sister’s idea that a mortifying an_enitential character ought to be imparted to my diet,—besides giving me a_uch crumb as possible in combination with as little butter, and putting suc_ quantity of warm water into my milk that it would have been more candid t_ave left the milk out altogether,—his conversation consisted of nothing bu_rithmetic. On my politely bidding him Good morning, he said, pompously, “Seven times nine, boy?” And how should I be able to answer, dodged in tha_ay, in a strange place, on an empty stomach! I was hungry, but before I ha_wallowed a morsel, he began a running sum that lasted all through th_reakfast. “Seven?” “And four?” “And eight?” “And six?” “And two?” “And ten?” And so on. And after each figure was disposed of, it was as much as I could d_o get a bite or a sup, before the next came; while he sat at his eas_uessing nothing, and eating bacon and hot roll, in (if I may be allowed th_xpression) a gorging and gormandizing manner.
  • For such reasons, I was very glad when ten o’clock came and we started fo_iss Havisham’s; though I was not at all at my ease regarding the manner i_hich I should acquit myself under that lady’s roof. Within a quarter of a_our we came to Miss Havisham’s house, which was of old brick, and dismal, an_ad a great many iron bars to it. Some of the windows had been walled up; o_hose that remained, all the lower were rustily barred. There was a courtyar_n front, and that was barred; so we had to wait, after ringing the bell, until some one should come to open it. While we waited at the gate, I peepe_n (even then Mr. Pumblechook said, “And fourteen?” but I pretended not t_ear him), and saw that at the side of the house there was a large brewery. N_rewing was going on in it, and none seemed to have gone on for a long lon_ime.
  • A window was raised, and a clear voice demanded “What name?” To which m_onductor replied, “Pumblechook.” The voice returned, “Quite right,” and th_indow was shut again, and a young lady came across the court-yard, with key_n her hand.
  • “This,” said Mr. Pumblechook, “is Pip.”
  • “This is Pip, is it?” returned the young lady, who was very pretty and seeme_ery 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. Bu_e eyed me severely,—as if I had done anything to him!—and departed with th_ords reproachfully delivered: “Boy! Let your behavior here be a credit unt_hem which brought you up by hand!” I was not free from apprehension that h_ould come back to propound through the gate, “And sixteen?” But he didn’t.
  • My young conductress locked the gate, and we went across the courtyard. It wa_aved and clean, but grass was growing in every crevice. The brewery building_ad a little lane of communication with it, and the wooden gates of that lan_tood open, and all the brewery beyond stood open, away to the high enclosin_all; and all was empty and disused. The cold wind seemed to blow colder ther_han outside the gate; and it made a shrill noise in howling in and out at th_pen sides of the brewery, like the noise of wind in the rigging of a ship a_ea.
  • She saw me looking at it, and she said, “You could drink without hurt all th_trong 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’_ou think so?”
  • “It looks like it, miss.”
  • “Not that anybody means to try,” she added, “for that’s all done with, and th_lace will stand as idle as it is till it falls. As to strong beer, there’_nough 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, o_ll 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 wa_iven, that whoever had this house could want nothing else. They must hav_een 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 fro_omplimentary, she was of about my own age. She seemed much older than I, o_ourse, being a girl, and beautiful and self-possessed; and she was a_cornful 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 chain_cross it outside,—and the first thing I noticed was, that the passages wer_ll dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up, and w_ent through more passages and up a staircase, and still it was all dark, an_nly 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.” An_cornfully walked away, and—what was worse—took the candle with her.
  • This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, the only thing t_e done being to knock at the door, I knocked, and was told from within t_nter. I entered, therefore, and found myself in a pretty large room, wel_ighted with wax candles. No glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it. It wa_ dressing-room, as I supposed from the furniture, though much of it was o_orms and uses then quite unknown to me. But prominent in it was a drape_able with a gilded looking-glass, and that I made out at first sight to be _ine lady’s dressing-table.
  • Whether I should have made out this object so soon if there had been no fin_ady sitting at it, I cannot say. In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting o_he table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I hav_ver 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 brigh_ewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels la_parkling on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, an_alf-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,—he_eil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not put on, and some lac_or her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers, and a Prayer-Book all confusedly heaped about the looking- glass.
  • It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things, though I sa_ore of them in the first moments than might be supposed. But I saw tha_verything 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 withi_he bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had n_rightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dres_ad been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figur_pon which it now hung loose had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had bee_aken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not wha_mpossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our ol_arsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress that had bee_ug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seeme_o have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if _ould.
  • “Who is it?” said the lady at the table.
  • “Pip, ma’am.”
  • “Pip?”
  • “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 th_urrounding objects in detail, and saw that her watch had stopped at twent_inutes to nine, and that a clock in the room had stopped at twenty minutes t_ine.
  • “Look at me,” said Miss Havisham. “You are not afraid of a woman who has neve_een the sun since you were born?”
  • I regret to state that I was not afraid of telling the enormous li_omprehended in the answer “No.”
  • “Do you know what I touch here?” she said, laying her hands, one upon th_ther, on her left side.
  • “Yes, ma’am.” (It made me think of the young man.)
  • “What do I touch?”
  • “Your heart.”
  • “Broken!”
  • She uttered the word with an eager look, and with strong emphasis, and with _eird smile that had a kind of boast in it. Afterwards she kept her hand_here 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 me_nd women. Play.”
  • I think it will be conceded by my most disputatious reader, that she coul_ardly have directed an unfortunate boy to do anything in the wide world mor_ifficult to be done under the circumstances.
  • “I sometimes have sick fancies,” she went on, “and I have a sick fancy that _ant to see some play. There, there!” with an impatient movement of th_ingers of her right hand; “play, play, play!”
  • For a moment, with the fear of my sister’s working me before my eyes, I had _esperate idea of starting round the room in the assumed character of Mr.
  • Pumblechook’s chaise-cart. But I felt myself so unequal to the performanc_hat I gave it up, and stood looking at Miss Havisham in what I suppose sh_ook for a dogged manner, inasmuch as she said, when we had taken a good loo_t each other,—
  • “Are you sullen and obstinate?”
  • “No, ma’am, I am very sorry for you, and very sorry I can’t play just now. I_ou complain of me I shall get into trouble with my sister, so I would do i_f I could; but it’s so new here, and so strange, and so fine,—an_elancholy—.” 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 dres_he wore, and at the dressing-table, and finally at herself in the looking- glass.
  • “So new to him,” she muttered, “so old to me; so strange to him, so familia_o me; so melancholy to both of us! Call Estella.”
  • As she was still looking at the reflection of herself, I thought she was stil_alking to herself, and kept quiet.
  • “Call Estella,” she repeated, flashing a look at me. “You can do that. Cal_stella. At the door.”
  • To stand in the dark in a mysterious passage of an unknown house, bawlin_stella to a scornful young lady neither visible nor responsive, and feelin_t a dreadful liberty so to roar out her name, was almost as bad as playing t_rder. But she answered at last, and her light came along the dark passag_ike 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 brow_air. “Your own, one day, my dear, and you will use it well. Let me see yo_lay cards with this boy.”
  • “With this boy? Why, he is a common laboring 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 disdain.
  • “Nothing but beggar my neighbor, 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 Havisha_ut down the jewel exactly on the spot from which she had taken it up. A_stella dealt the cards, I glanced at the dressing-table again, and saw tha_he shoe upon it, once white, now yellow, had never been worn. I glanced dow_t the foot from which the shoe was absent, and saw that the silk stocking o_t, once white, now yellow, had been trodden ragged. Without this arrest o_verything, this standing still of all the pale decayed objects, not even th_ithered bridal dress on the collapsed form 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 o_er bridal dress, looking like earthy paper. I knew nothing then of th_iscoveries that are occasionally made of bodies buried in ancient times, which fall to powder in the moment of being distinctly seen; but, I have ofte_hought since, that she must have looked as if the admission of the natura_ight of day would have struck her to dust.
  • “He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy!” said Estella with disdain, before ou_irst 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 t_onsider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, tha_t became infectious, and I caught it.
  • She won the game, and I dealt. I misdealt, as was only natural, when I kne_he was lying in wait for me to do wrong; and she denounced me for a stupid, clumsy laboring-boy.
  • “You say nothing of her,” remarked Miss Havisham to me, as she looked on. “Sh_ays many hard things of you, but you say nothing of her. What do you think o_er?”
  • “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.
  • “Anything else?”
  • “I think she is very pretty.”
  • “Anything else?”
  • “I think she is very insulting.” (She was looking at me then with a look o_upreme aversion.)
  • “Anything else?”
  • “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 g_ome now.”
  • “You shall go soon,” said Miss Havisham, aloud. “Play the game out.”
  • Saving for the one weird smile at first, I should have felt almost sure tha_iss Havisham’s face could not smile. It had dropped into a watchful an_rooding expression,—most likely when all the things about her had becom_ransfixed,—and it looked as if nothing could ever lift it up again. Her ches_ad dropped, so that she stooped; and her voice had dropped, so that she spok_ow, and with a dead lull upon her; altogether, she had the appearance o_aving dropped body and soul, within and without, under the weight of _rushing blow.
  • I played the game to an end with Estella, and she beggared me. She threw th_ards down on the table when she had won them all, as if she despised them fo_aving been won of me.
  • “When shall I have you here again?” said Miss Havisham. “Let me think.”
  • I was beginning to remind her that to-day was Wednesday, when she checked m_ith her former impatient movement of the fingers of her right hand.
  • “There, there! I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks o_he year. Come again after six days. You hear?”
  • “Yes, ma’am.”
  • “Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat, and let him roam an_ook about him while he eats. Go, Pip.”
  • I followed the candle down, as I had followed the candle up, and she stood i_n the place where we had found it. Until she opened the side entrance, I ha_ancied, without thinking about it, that it must necessarily be night-time.
  • The rush of the daylight quite confounded me, and made me feel as if I ha_een in the candlelight of the strange room many hours.
  • “You are to wait here, you boy,” said Estella; and disappeared and closed th_oor.
  • I took the opportunity of being alone in the courtyard to look at my coars_ands and my common boots. My opinion of those accessories was not favorable.
  • They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as vulga_ppendages. I determined to ask Joe why he had ever taught me to call thos_icture-cards Jacks, which ought to be called knaves. I wished Joe had bee_ather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too.
  • She came back, with some bread and meat and a little mug of beer. She put th_ug down on the stones of the yard, and gave me the bread and meat withou_ooking at me, as insolently as if I were a dog in disgrace. I was s_umiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry,—I cannot hit upon the righ_ame for the smart—God knows what its name was,—that tears started to my eyes.
  • The moment they sprang there, the girl looked at me with a quick delight i_aving been the cause of them. This gave me power to keep them back and t_ook at her: so, she gave a contemptuous toss—but with a sense, I thought, o_aving made too sure that I was so wounded— and left me.
  • But when she was gone, I looked about me for a place to hide my face in, an_ot behind one of the gates in the brewery-lane, and leaned my sleeve agains_he wall there, and leaned my forehead on it and cried. As I cried, I kicke_he wall, and took a hard twist at my hair; so bitter were my feelings, and s_harp was the smart without a name, that needed counteraction.
  • My sister’s bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in whic_hildren have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing s_inely perceived and so finely felt as injustice. It may be only smal_njustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and it_orld is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according t_cale, as a big-boned Irish hunter. Within myself, I had sustained, from m_abyhood, a perpetual conflict with injustice. I had known, from the time whe_ could speak, that my sister, in her capricious and violent coercion, wa_njust to me. I had cherished a profound conviction that her bringing me up b_and gave her no right to bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishments, disgraces, fasts, and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nurse_his assurance; and to my communing so much with it, in a solitary an_nprotected way, I in great part refer the fact that I was morally timid an_ery sensitive.
  • I got rid of my injured feelings for the time by kicking them into the brewer_all, and twisting them out of my hair, and then I smoothed my face with m_leeve, and came from behind the gate. The bread and meat were acceptable, an_he beer was warming and tingling, and I was soon in spirits to look about me.
  • To be sure, it was a deserted place, down to the pigeon-house in the brewery- yard, which had been blown crooked on its pole by some high wind, and woul_ave made the pigeons think themselves at sea, if there had been any pigeon_here to be rocked by it. But there were no pigeons in the dove-cot, no horse_n the stable, no pigs in the sty, no malt in the storehouse, no smells o_rains and beer in the copper or the vat. All the uses and scents of th_rewery might have evaporated with its last reek of smoke. In a by-yard, ther_as a wilderness of empty casks, which had a certain sour remembrance o_etter days lingering about them; but it was too sour to be accepted as _ample of the beer that was gone,—and in this respect I remember thos_ecluses as being like most others.
  • Behind the furthest end of the brewery, was a rank garden with an old wall; not so high but that I could struggle up and hold on long enough to look ove_t, and see that the rank garden was the garden of the house, and that it wa_vergrown with tangled weeds, but that there was a track upon the green an_ellow paths, as if some one sometimes walked there, and that Estella wa_alking away from me even then. But she seemed to be everywhere. For when _ielded to the temptation presented by the casks, and began to walk on them, _aw her walking on them at the end of the yard of casks. She had her bac_owards me, and held her pretty brown hair spread out in her two hands, an_ever looked round, and passed out of my view directly. So, in the brewer_tself,—by which I mean the large paved lofty place in which they used to mak_he beer, and where the brewing utensils still were. When I first went int_t, and, rather oppressed by its gloom, stood near the door looking about me, I saw her pass among the extinguished fires, and ascend some light iro_tairs, and go out by a gallery high overhead, as if she were going out int_he sky.
  • It was in this place, and at this moment, that a strange thing happened to m_ancy. I thought it a strange thing then, and I thought it a stranger thin_ong afterwards. I turned my eyes—a little dimmed by looking up at the frost_ight—towards a great wooden beam in a low nook of the building near me on m_ight hand, and I saw a figure hanging there by the neck. A figure all i_ellow white, with but one shoe to the feet; and it hung so, that I could se_hat the faded trimmings of the dress were like earthy paper, and that th_ace was Miss Havisham’s, with a movement going over the whole countenance a_f she were trying to call to me. In the terror of seeing the figure, and i_he terror of being certain that it had not been there a moment before, I a_irst ran from it, and then ran towards it. And my terror was greatest of al_hen I found no figure there.
  • Nothing less than the frosty light of the cheerful sky, the sight of peopl_assing beyond the bars of the court-yard gate, and the reviving influence o_he rest of the bread and meat and beer, would have brought me round. Eve_ith those aids, I might not have come to myself as soon as I did, but that _aw Estella approaching with the keys, to let me out. She would have some fai_eason for looking down upon me, I thought, if she saw me frightened; and sh_ould have no fair reason.
  • She gave me a triumphant glance in passing me, as if she rejoiced that m_ands were so coarse and my boots were so thick, and she opened the gate, an_tood holding it. I was passing out without looking at her, when she touche_e with a taunting hand.
  • “Why don’t you cry?”
  • “Because I don’t want to.”
  • “You do,” said she. “You have been crying till you are half blind, and you ar_ear crying again now.”
  • She laughed contemptuously, pushed me out, and locked the gate upon me. I wen_traight to Mr. Pumblechook’s, and was immensely relieved to find him not a_ome. So, leaving word with the shopman on what day I was wanted at Mis_avisham’s again, I set off on the four-mile walk to our forge; pondering, a_ went along, on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was a commo_aboring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I ha_allen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was much mor_gnorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was i_ low-lived bad way.