Part 4 out of 4
This was most uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, there was
only one thing to be done, so I knocked at the door, and was told from
within to enter. I entered 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 quite unknown to me then. But prominent in it was a
draped table with a gilded looking-glass, and that I made out to be a fine
In an arm chair sat the strangest lady I have ever seen or shall ever see.
She was dressed in rich white--in satin and lace and silks--all of white.
Even her shoes were white, and she had a long white veil dependent from
her hair, and bridal flowers in her hair,--and the hair, too, was white.
Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and hands and others lay sparkling
on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the one she wore, and
half-packed trunks, were scattered about. She had but one shoe on and the
other was on the table near by--her veil was but half arranged; her watch
and chain were not put on; and there were lace, trinkets, handkerchief,
gloves, some flowers, and a Prayer-book in a heap before the
looking-glass. Then she spoke, "Who is it?"
"Mr. Pumblechook's boy, ma'am. Come--to play."
"Come nearer; let me look at you. Come close."
When I stood before her, avoiding her eyes, I took in all the details of
the room and saw that her watch and clock had both stopped.
"Look at me," said Miss Havisham. "You are not afraid of a woman who has
not seen the sun since you were born?"
I regret to say 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 on her left
"What do I touch?"
She said the word eagerly, and with a weird smile that had a kind of boast
"I am tired," said Miss Havisham. "I have a sick fancy that I want to see
some play. I want diversion, and I have done with men and women. 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 "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 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, and presently she said:
"Are you sullen and obstinate?"
"No, ma'am," I said. "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 new here, and so strange and so
fine, and--melancholy." I stopped, fearing I might have said too much, and
we took another look at each other. Before she spoke again, she looked at
herself in the glass, then she turned, and flashing a look at me, said,
"Call Estella. You can do that. Call Estella. At the door."
To stand in the dark in the mysterious passage of an unknown house,
bawling "Estella" to a scornful young lady neither visible nor responsive,
and feeling it a dreadful liberty to roar out her name, was almost as bad
as playing to order. But she answered at last, and her light came
trembling along the dark passage, like a star. Miss Havisham beckoned her
to come close to her, took up a jewel, and tried its effect against the
pretty brown hair. "Your own, one day, my dear," she said, "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!" then she asked, with
greatest disdain, "What do you play, boy?"
"Nothing but 'beggar my neighbour,' miss."
"Beggar him," said Miss Havisham to Estella. So we sat down to cards, and
Miss Havisham sat, corpse-like, watching as we played.
"He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy," said Estella, with disdain, before
the first game was out. "And what coarse hands he has, and what thick
I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before, but now I began
to notice them. Her contempt for me was so strong that 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
clumsy, stupid, labouring boy.
"You say nothing of her," remarked Miss Havisham to me. "She says many
hard things of you, yet 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--"and very pretty--and
"I think I should like to go home."
"You shall go soon," said Miss Havisham aloud. "Play the game out!" I
played the game to an end, and Estella beggared me.
"When shall I have you here again?" said Miss Havisham. "I know nothing of
the days of the week or of the weeks of the year. Come again after six
days. You hear?"
"Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat, and let him roam
about and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip."
I followed Estella down as I had followed her up, and at last I stood
again in the glare of daylight which quite confounded me, for I felt as if
I had been in the candle-light of the strange room many hours.
"You are to wait here, you boy, you," said Estella, and disappeared in the
house. While she was gone I looked at my coarse hands and my common boots,
and they troubled me greatly.
I determined to ask Joe why he had taught me to call the picture-cards
Jacks. I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I
should have been so too. Estella came back with some bread and meat and a
little mug of beer which she set down as insolently as if I were a dog in
disgrace. I was so humiliated and hurt that tears sprang to my eyes. When
she saw them she looked at me with a quick delight. This gave me the power
to keep them back and to look at her; then she gave a contemptuous toss of
her head, and left me to my meal. At first, so bitter were my feelings
that, after she was gone, I hid behind one of the gates to the brewery and
cried. As I cried I kicked the wall and took a hard twist at my hair.
However, I came out from behind the gate, the bread and meat were
acceptable and the beer was warm and tingling, and I was soon in spirits
to look about me. I had surveyed the rank old garden when Estella came
back with the keys to let me out. She gave me a triumphant look as she
opened the gate. I was passing out without looking at her, when she
touched me with a taunting cry,----
"Why don't you cry?"
"Because I don't want to."
"You do," she said; "you have been crying and you are near crying now!" As
she spoke she laughed, pushed me out, and locked the gate upon me, and I
set off on the four-mile walk home, pondering as I went along, on what I
had seen and heard.
Of course, when I reached home they were very curious to know all about
Miss Havisham's, and asked many questions that I was not in a mood to
answer. The worst of it was that Uncle Pumblechook, devoured by curiosity,
came gaping over too at tea-time to have the details divulged to him. I
was not in a good humour anyway that night, so the sight of my tormentors
made me vicious in my reticence.
After asking a number of questions with no satisfaction, Uncle Pumblechook
"Now, boy," he said, "what was Miss Havisham a-doing of when you went in
"She was sitting," I answered, "in a black velvet coach."
My hearers stared at one another--as they well might--and repeated, "In a
black velvet coach?"
"Yes," said I, "and Miss Estella, that's her niece, I think, handed her in
cake and wine at the coach window on a gold plate. And we all had cake and
wine on gold plates. And I got up behind the coach to eat mine because she
told me to."
"Was anybody else there?" asked Mr. Pumblechook.
"Four dogs," said I.
"Large or small?"
"Immense," said I. "And they fought for veal cutlets out of a silver
My hearers stared at one another again in utter amazement. I was perfectly
frantic and would have told them anything.
"Where was this coach, in the name of gracious?" asked my sister.
"In Miss Havisham's room." They stared again. "But there weren't any
horses to it." I added this saving clause in the moment of rejecting four
richly caparisoned coursers, which I had had wild thoughts of harnessing.
"Can this be possible, uncle?" asked Mrs. Joe. "What can the boy mean?"
"I'll tell you, mum," said Mr. Pumblechook. "My opinion is it is a
sedan-chair. Well, boy, and what did you play at?"
"We played with flags," I said.
"Flags!" echoed my sister.
"Yes," said I. "Estella waved a blue flag, and I waved a red one, and Miss
Havisham waved one sprinkled all over with little gold stars, out at the
coach window. And then we all waved our swords and hurrahed."
"Swords!" repeated my sister. "Where did you get swords from?"
"Out of the cupboard," said I. "And I saw pistols in it--and jam--and
pills. And there was only candlelight in the room."
If they had asked me any more questions I should undoubtedly have betrayed
myself for I was just on the point of mentioning that there was a balloon
in the yard and should have hazarded the statement, but that my invention
was divided between that phenomenon and a bear in the brewery.
My hearers were so much occupied, however, in discussing the marvels I had
already presented to them, that I escaped. The subject still held them
when Joe came in, and my experiences were at once related to him. Now,
when I saw his big blue eyes open in helpless amazement, I became
penitent, but only in regard to him. And so, after Mr. Pumblechook had
driven off, and my sister was busy, I stole into the forge and confessed
"You remember all that about Miss Havisham's?" I said.
"Remember!" said Joe. "I believe you! Wonderful!"
"It's a terrible thing, Joe. It ain't true."
"What are you a-telling of, Pip?" cried Joe. "You don't mean to say it!"
"Yes, I do;--it's lies, Joe."
"But not all of it? Why, sure you don't mean to say, Pip, that there was
no black welvet co-ch?" For I stood there shaking my head. "But at least
there was dogs, Pip? Come, Pip, if there warn't no weal cutlets, at least
there was dogs? A puppy, come."
"No, Joe," I said. "There was nothing of the kind."
As I fixed my eyes hopelessly on him, he looked at me in dismay. "Pip, old
chap," he said, "this won't do, I say. Where do you expect to go to? What
"I don't know what possessed me," I replied, hanging my head, "but I wish
you hadn't taught me to call knaves at cards Jacks, and I wish my boots
weren't so thick, nor my hands so coarse."
Then I told Joe that I felt very miserable, but I hadn't liked to tell
Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook about the beautiful young lady at Miss
Havisham's who was so proud, and that she had said I was common, and that
I wished I was not common, and that the lies had come out of it somehow,
though I didn't know how.
"Well," said Joe after a good deal of thought, "there's one thing you may
be sure of, Pip, namely, that lies is lies. Howsoever they come, they
didn't ought to come, and they come from the father of lies and work round
to the same. Don't you tell no more of 'em, Pip. They ain't the way to get
out of being common, old chap. And as to being common, I don't make it out
at all clear. You're sure an uncommon scholar."
This I denied in the face of Joe's most forcible arguments, and at the end
of our talk, I said, "You are not angry with me, Joe?"
"No, old chap, but if you can't get to being uncommon through going
straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked. So don't tell
no more on 'em, Pip. Don't never do it no more."
When I got up to my little room and said my prayers, I thought over Joe's
advice and knew that it was right, and yet my mind was in such a disturbed
and unthankful state, that for a long time I lay awake, not thinking over
my sins, but still mourning that Joe and Mrs. Joe and I were all common.
That was a memorable day for me, and it wrought great changes in me. I
began to see things and people from a new point of view, and from that day
dates the beginning of my great expectations.
One night, a little later, I was at the village Public House with Joe, who
was smoking his pipe with friends. In the room there was a stranger, who,
when he heard me addressed as Pip, turned and looked at me. He kept
looking hard at me, and nodding at me, and I returned his nods as politely
as possible. Presently, after seeing that Joe was not looking, he nodded
again and then rubbed his leg--in a very odd way, it struck me--and later,
he stirred his rum and water pointedly at me, and he tasted it pointedly
at me. And he did both, not with the spoon but with a file. He did this so
that nobody but I saw the file, and then he wiped it and put it in his
pocket I knew it to be Joe's file, and I knew that he was my convict the
minute I saw the instrument. I sat gazing at him, spell-bound, but he took
very little more notice of me; only when Joe and I started to go, he
"Stop half a minute, Mr. Gargery," he said; "I think I've got a bright
shilling somewhere in my pocket; if I have, the boy shall have it." He
took it out, folded it in some crumpled paper and gave it to me. "Yours,"
said he. "Mind--your own!" I thanked him, staring at him beyond the bounds
of good manners, and holding tight to Joe, and then we went towards home,
I in a manner stupefied, and thinking only of this turning up of my old
misdeed and old acquaintance.
We found my sister was not in a very bad temper, and Joe was encouraged to
tell her about the shilling. I took it out of the paper to show her. "But
what's this?" she said, catching up the paper. It was nothing less than
two one-pound notes! Joe caught up his hat and ran with them to the Public
House to restore them to their owner, only to find that he had gone. Then
my sister sealed them up in a piece of paper, and put them on the top of a
press in the state parlour, and there they remained.
On the appointed day I returned to Miss Havisham, and as before, was
admitted by Estella. As we went up stairs we met a gentleman groping his
way down. He was bald, with a large head and bushy black eyebrows. His
eyes were deep set and disagreeably keen. He was nothing to me, but I
observed him well as he passed.
Estella led me this time into another part of the house, and into a gloomy
room where there were some other people, saying,----
"You are to go and stand there, boy, till you are wanted."
"There" being the window, I crossed to it and stood looking out, at a
deserted house and old garden, in a very uncomfortable state of mind.
There were three ladies and one gentleman in the room, who all stopped
talking and looked at me. Later I found out that they were particular
friends of Miss Havisham. The ringing of a distant bell caused Estella to
say, "Now, boy!" and to conduct me to Miss Havisham's room, leaving me
near the door, where I stood until Miss Havisham cast her eyes upon me.
"Are you ready to play?" she asked.
I answered, in some confusion, "I don't think I am, ma'am, except at
cards; I could do that if I was wanted."
She looked searchingly at me and then asked, "If you are unwilling to
play, boy, are you willing to work?"
As I answered this in the affirmative, she presently laid a hand on my
shoulder. In the other she had a stick on which she leaned, and she looked
like the witch of the place. She looked all round the room in a glaring
manner, and then said, "Come, come, come! walk me, walk me!"
From this I made out that my work was to walk Miss Havisham round and
round the room. Accordingly I started at once and she leaned on my
shoulder. She was not strong, and soon she said, "Slower!" Still she went
at a fitful, impatient speed, and the hand on my shoulder twitched. After
a while she bade me call Estella, and on we started again round the room.
If she had been alone I should have been sufficiently embarrassed, but as
she brought with her the visitors, I didn't know what to do. I would have
stopped, but Miss Havisham twitched my shoulder, and we posted on,--I
feeling shamefaced embarrassment. The visitors remained for some time, and
after they left Miss Havisham directed us to play cards as before, and as
before, Estella treated me with cold scorn. After half a dozen games, a
day was set for my return, and I was taken into the yard to be fed in the
former dog-like manner. Prowling about, I scrambled over the wall into the
deserted garden that I had seen from the window. I supposed the house
belonging to it was empty, and to my surprise I was confronted by the
vision of a pale young gentleman with red eyelids and light hair, in a
window, who speedily came down and stood beside me.
"Halloa!" said he; "young fellow, who let you in?"
"Who gave you leave to prowl about? Come and fight," said the pale young
What could I do but follow him? His manner was so final and I was so
astonished that I followed where he led, as if under a spell. "Stop a
minute, though," he said, "I ought to give you a reason for fighting too.
There it is!" In a most irritating manner he slapped his hands against one
another, flung one of his legs up behind him, pulled my hair, dipped his
head and butted it into my stomach. This bull-like proceeding, besides
that it was unquestionably to be regarded in the light of a liberty, was
particularly disagreeable just after bread and meat. I therefore hit out
at him and was going to hit out again, when he said, "Aha! Would you?" and
began dancing backwards and forwards in a manner quite unparalleled within
my limited experience.
"Laws of the game!" said he. Here he skipped from his left leg on to his
right. "Regular rules!" Here he skipped from his right leg on to his left.
"Come to the ground and go through the preliminaries!" Here he dodged
backwards and forwards, and did all sorts of things, while I looked
helplessly at him. I was secretly afraid of him, but I felt convinced that
his light head of hair could have had no business in the pit of my
stomach. Therefore I followed him without a word, to a retired nook of the
garden. On his asking me if I was satisfied with the ground, and on my
replying "Yes," he fetched a bottle of water and a sponge dipped in
vinegar, and then fell to pulling off, not only his jacket and waistcoat,
but his shirt too, in a manner at once light-hearted, business-like, and
My heart failed me when I saw him squaring at me with every demonstration
of mechanical nicety, and eyeing my anatomy as if he were minutely
choosing his bone. I never have been so surprised in my life as I was when
I let out the first blow and saw him lying on his back, with a bloody nose
and his face exceedingly foreshortened. But he was on his feet directly,
and after sponging himself began squaring again. The second greatest
surprise I have ever had in my life was seeing him on his back again,
looking up at me out of a black eye. His spirit inspired me with great
respect. He was always knocked down, but he would be up again in a moment,
sponging himself or drinking out of the water bottle, and then came at me
with an air and a show that made me believe he really was going to do for
me at last. He got heavily bruised, for I am sorry to record that the more
I hit him, the harder I hit him, but he came up again, and again, and
again, until at last he got a bad fall with the back of his head against
the wall. Even after that he got up and turned round and round confusedly
a few times, not knowing where I was, but finally went on his knees to his
sponge and threw it up, panting out, "That means you have won!"
He seemed so brave and innocent, that although I had not proposed the
contest, I felt but a gloomy satisfaction in my victory. Indeed, I go so
far as to hope that I regarded myself as a species of savage young wolf or
other wild beast. However, I got dressed, and I said, "Can I help you?"
and he said, "No, thankee," and I said, "Good afternoon," and he said,
"Same to you!"
When I got into the courtyard I found Estella waiting with the keys to let
me out. What with the visitors, and what with the cards, and what with the
fight, my stay had lasted so long that when I neared home the light on the
spit of sand off the point on the marshes was gleaming against a black
night-sky, and Joe's furnace was flinging a path of fire across the road.
When the day came for my return to the scene of my fight with the pale
young gentleman, I became very much afraid as I recalled him on his back
in various stages of misery, and the more I thought about it, the more
certain I felt that his blood would be on my head and that the law would
avenge it, and I felt that I never could go back. However, go to Miss
Havisham's I must, and go I did. And behold, nothing came of the late
struggle! The pale young gentleman was nowhere to be seen, and only in the
corner where the combat had taken place could I detect any evidences of
his existence. There were traces of his gore in that spot, and I covered
them with garden-mould from the eye of men, and breathed more quietly
That same day I began on a regular occupation of pushing Miss Havisham in
a light garden chair (when she was tired of walking with her hand on my
shoulder) round through the rooms. Over and over and over again we made
these journeys, sometimes lasting for three hours at a stretch, and from
that time I returned to her every alternate day at noon for that purpose,
and kept returning through a period of eight or ten months. As we began to
be more used to one another, Miss Havisham talked more to me, and asked me
many questions about myself. I told her I believed I was to be apprenticed
to Joe, and enlarged on knowing nothing, and wanting to know everything,
hoping that she might offer me some help. But she did not, on the contrary
she seemed to prefer my being ignorant. Nor did she give me any money, nor
anything but my daily dinner. Estella always let me in and out. Sometimes
she would coldly tolerate me, sometimes condescend to me, sometimes be
quite familiar with me, and at other times she would tell me that she
hated me; and all the time my admiration for her grew apace.
There was a song Joe used to hum at the forge, of which the burden was
"Old Clem." The song imitated the beating upon iron. Thus you were to
hammer;--Boys round--Old Clem! With a thump and a sound--Old Clem! Beat it
out, beat it out--Old Clem! With a clink for the stout--Old Clem! Blow the
fire, blow the fire--Old Clem! Roaring dryer, soaring higher--Old Clem!
One day I was crooning this ditty as I pushed Miss Havisham about. It
happened to catch her fancy and she took it up in a low brooding voice.
After that it became customary with us to sing it as we moved about, and
often Estella joined in, though the whole strain was so subdued that it
made less noise in the grim old house than the lightest breath of wind.
How could my character fail to be influenced by such surroundings? Is it
to be wondered at if my thoughts were dazed, as my eyes were, when I came
out into the natural light from the misty yellow rooms?
We went on this way for a long time, but one day Miss Havisham stopped
short as she and I were walking and said, with displeasure: "You are
growing tall, Pip!"
In answer I suggested that this might be a thing over which I had no
control, and she said no more at that time, but on the following day she
"Tell me the name again of the blacksmith of yours to whom you were to be
"Joe Gargery, ma'am,"
"You had better be apprenticed at once. Would Gargery come here with you,
and bring your indentures, do you think?"
I signified that I thought he would consider it an honour to be asked.
"Then let him come!"
"At any particular time, Miss Havisham?"
"There, there, I know nothing about time. Let him come soon, and come
alone with you!"
In consequence, two days later, Joe, arrayed in his Sunday clothes, set
out with me to visit Miss Havisham, and as he thought his court dress
necessary to the occasion, it was not for me to tell him that he looked
far better in his working dress. We arrived at Miss Havisham's, and as
usual Estella opened the door, and led the way to Miss Havisham's room.
She immediately addressed Joe, asking him questions about himself and
about having me for apprentice and finally she asked to see my indentures,
which Joe produced; I am afraid I was ashamed of the dear good fellow--I
know I was when I saw Estella's eyes were laughing mischievously.
Miss Havisham then took a little bag from the table and handed it to me.
"Pip has earned a premium here," she said, "and here it is. There are five
and twenty guineas in the bag. Give it to your Master, Pip."
I handed it to Joe, who said a few embarrassed words of gratitude to Miss
"Good-bye, Pip," she said. "Let them out, Estella."
"Am I to come again, Miss Havisham?" I asked.
"No--Gargery is your master now. Gargery! One word!" Joe stepped back and
she added, "The boy has been a good boy here, and that is his reward. Of
course, as an honest man, you will expect no other."
Then we went down, and in a moment we were outside of the gate, and it was
locked and Estella was gone. When we stood in the daylight alone, Joe
backed up against a wall, breathless with amazement, and repeated at
intervals, "Astonishing! Pip, I do assure you this is as-ton-ishing!" Then
we walked away, back to Mr. Pumblechook's, where we found my sister, and
told her the great news of my earnings, and she was as much pleased as was
possible for her to be.
It is a miserable thing to feel ashamed of home, I assure you. To me home
had never been a very pleasant place on account of sister's temper, but
Joe had sanctified it, and I believed in it. I had believed in the Best
Parlour, as a most elegant place, I had believed in the Front Door as a
mysterious portal of the Temple of State, I had believed in the kitchen as
a chaste though not magnificent apartment; I had believed in the forge, as
the glowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single year all
this was changed. Now it was all coarse and common to me, and I would not
have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it for the world. Once it had
seemed to me that as Joe's apprentice I should be distinguished and happy.
Now I regret to say that I was as dejected and miserable as was possible
to be, and in my ungracious breast there was a shame of all that
Toward the end of my first year as Joe's apprentice I suggested that I go
and call on Miss Havisham. He thought well of it, and so I went.
Everything was unchanged, except that a strange young woman came to the
door, and I found that Estella was abroad being educated, and Miss
Havisham was alone.
"Well," said she. "I hope you want nothing; you'll get nothing!"
"No, indeed," I replied, "I only want you to know that I am doing very
well and am always much obliged to you." We had little other conversation,
and soon she dismissed me, and as the gate closed on me, I felt more than
ever dissatisfied with my home, and my trade, and with everything!
When I reached home, some one hastened out to tell me that the house had
been entered during my absence, and that my sister had been attacked and
badly injured. Nothing had been taken from the house, but my sister had
been struck a terrible blow, and lay very ill in bed for months, and when
at last she could come down stairs again her mind was never quite clear,
and she was unable to speak. So it was necessary to have Biddy come and
take up the house-keeping, and meanwhile I kept up the routine of my
apprenticeship-life, varied only by the arrival of my several birthdays,
on each of which I paid another visit to Miss Havisham.
On a Saturday night, in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joe, he
and I sat by a fire at the inn--the Three Jolly Bargemen, with a group of
men. One of them was a strange gentleman who entered into the discussion
on hand with zest, and then, rising, stood before the fire. "From
information I have received," said he, looking round, "I have reason to
believe there is a blacksmith among you, by name Joseph Gargery. Which is
"Here is the man," said Joe.
The gentleman beckoned him out of his place, and said: "You have an
apprentice called Pip. Is he here?"
To this I responded in the affirmative. The stranger did not recognise me,
but I recognised him as the gentleman I had met on the stairs on my second
visit to Miss Havisham. I had known him from the moment I had first been
confronted with his bushy eyebrows and black eyes.
"I wish to have a private conference with you both," he said. "Perhaps we
had better go to your house to have it."
So, in a wondering silence, we walked away with him towards home, and when
we got there Joe let us in by the front door, and our conference was held
in the state parlour.
The stranger proceeded to tell us that he was a lawyer, Jaggers by name,
and that he was the bearer of an offer to Joe, which was, that he should
cancel my indentures, at my request, and for my good. He went on to say
that his communication was to the effect that I had Great Expectations.
Joe and I gasped and looked at one another as Mr. Jaggers continued:
"I am instructed to tell Pip that he will come into a handsome property,
and that it is the desire of the present owner of that property that he be
at once removed from here, and be brought up as befits a young gentleman
of Great Expectations."
My dream was out! My wild fancy was realised; Miss Havisham was going to
make my fortune on a grand scale.
I listened breathlessly while Mr. Jaggers added that my benefactor wished
me to keep always the name of Pip, and also that the name of the
benefactor was to remain a secret until such time as the person chose to
reveal it. After stating these conditions, Mr. Jaggers paused, and asked
if I had any objections to complying with them, to which I stammered that
I had not, and Mr. Jaggers continued that he had been made my guardian,
that he would provide me with a sum of money ample for my education and
maintenance, and that he should advise my residing in London, and having
as tutor one Matthew Pocket, whom I had heard mentioned by Miss Havisham.
"First," continued Mr. Jaggers, "you should have some new clothes. You
will want some money. I will leave you twenty guineas, and will expect you
in London on this day week."
He produced a purse and counted out the money, then eyeing Joe, he said,
"Well, Joe Gargery, you look dumbfounded?"
"I am!" said Joe, with decision.
"Well," said Mr. Jaggers, "what if I were to make you a present as
"For what?" said Joe.
"For the loss of the boy's services."
Joe laid a hand on my shoulder with the touch of a woman, saying:
"Pip is that hearty welcome to go free with his services, to honour and
fortune, as no words can tell him! But if you think as money can make
compensation to me for the loss of the little child what come to the
forge,--and ever the best of friends---"
O dear, good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave, and so unthankful to--I
see you again to-day, and in a very different light. I feel the loving
tremble of your hand upon my arm as solemnly to-day as if it had been the
rustle of an angel's wing. But, at the time, I was lost in the mazes of my
good fortune, and thought of nothing else, and as Joe remained firm on the
money question, Mr. Jaggers rose to go, giving me a few last instructions
for reaching London.
Then he left and we vacated the state parlour at once for the kitchen,
where my sister and Biddy were sitting. I told the news of my great
expectations and received congratulations, which had in them a touch of
sadness which I rather resented.
That night Joe stayed out on the doorstep, smoking a pipe much later than
usual, which seemed to hint to me that he wanted comforting, for some
reason, but in my arrogant happiness, I could not understand his feelings.
During the next week I was very busy making my preparations to leave. With
some assistance I selected a suit, and went also to the hatter's and
boot-maker's and hosier's, and also engaged my place on the Saturday
morning coach. Then I went to make my farewells to Uncle Pumblechook, whom
I found awaiting me with pride and impatience, for the news had reached
him. He shook hands with me at least a hundred times, and blessed me, and
stood waving his hand at me until I passed out of sight. It was now
Friday, and I dressed up in my new clothes to make a farewell visit to
Miss Havisham. I felt awkward and self-conscious, and rang the bell
constrainedly on account of the still long fingers of my new gloves. Miss
Havisham received me as usual, and I explained to her that I was to start
for London on the morrow, and that I had come into a fortune, for which I
was more grateful than I could express. She asked me a number of
questions, and then said:
"Well, you have a promising career before you. Be good, deserve it, and
abide by Mr. Jagger's instructions. Good-bye, Pip." She stretched out her
hand, and I knelt down and kissed it,--and so I left my fairy god-mother,
with both her hands on her crutch-stick, standing in the middle of the
I little dreamed then that it was not to her that I owed my Great
Expectations, but to my older acquaintance, the convict, for whom I had
robbed my sister's larder long ago. But of this I little dreamed, and knew
nothing until years later.
And now the six days had gone, and to-morrow looked me in the face. As my
departure drew near I became more appreciative of the society of my
family. On this last evening I dressed myself in my new clothes for their
delight, and sat in my splendour until bedtime. We had a hot supper on the
occasion, and pretended to be in high spirits, although none of us were.
All night my broken sleep was filled with fantastic visions, and I arose
early and sat by my window, taking a last look at the familiar view. Then
came an early, hurried breakfast, and then I kissed my sister and Biddy,
and threw my arms around Joe's neck, took up my little portmanteau, and
walked out. Presently I heard a scuffle behind me, and there was Joe,
throwing an old shoe after me. I waved my hat, and dear old Joe waved his
arm over his head, crying huskily, "Hooroar!"
I walked away rapidly then, thinking it was not so hard to go, after all.
But then came a thought of the peaceful village where I had been so
care-free and innocent, and beyond was the great unknown world,--and in a
moment, I broke into tears, sobbing:
"Good-bye, oh my dear, dear friend!" I was better after that, more sorry,
more aware of my ingratitude to Joe, more gentle.
So subdued was I by my tears that when I was on the coach, I deliberated,
with an aching heart, whether I should not get down when we changed
horses, and walk back for one more evening at home and a better parting,
but while I was still deliberating, we went on, and changed again, and
then it was too late and too far for me to go back, and I must go on. And
the mists had all solemnly risen about me now, and the world lay spread
before me, and I must go on. And so my boyhood came to an end, and the
first stage of my Great Expectations was over.