"Well put! Prettily pointed!
Good indeed! Now Joseph, you know the case."
"No, Joseph," said my sister, still in a reproachful manner, while
Joe apologetically drew the back of his hand across and across his
nose, "you do not yet - though you may not think it - know the
case. You may consider that you do, but you do not, Joseph. For you
do not know that Uncle Pumblechook, being sensible that for
anything we can tell, this boy's fortune may be made by his going
to Miss Havisham's, has offered to take him into town to-night in
his own chaise-cart, and to keep him to-night, and to take him with
his own hands to Miss Havisham's to-morrow morning. And Lor-a-mussy
me!" cried my sister, casting off her bonnet in sudden desperation,
"here I stand talking to mere Mooncalfs, with Uncle Pumblechook
waiting, and the mare catching cold at the door, and the boy grimed
with crock and dirt from the hair of his head to the sole of his
With that, she pounced upon me, like an eagle on a lamb, and my
face was squeezed into wooden bowls in sinks, and my head was put
under taps of water-butts, and I was soaped, and kneaded, and
towelled, and thumped, and harrowed, and rasped, until I really was
quite beside myself. (I may here remark that I suppose myself to be
better acquainted than any living authority, with the ridgy effect
of a wedding-ring, passing unsympathetically over the human
When my ablutions were completed, I was put into clean linen of the
stiffest character, like a young penitent into sackcloth, and was
trussed up in my tightest and fearfullest suit. I was then
delivered over to Mr. Pumblechook, who formally received me as if he
were the Sheriff, and who let off upon me the speech that I knew he
had been dying to make all along: "Boy, be for ever grateful to all
friends, but especially unto them which brought you up by hand!"
"God bless you, Pip, old chap!"
I had never parted from him before, and what with my feelings and
what with soap-suds, I could at first see no stars from the
chaise-cart. But they twinkled out one by one, without throwing any
light on the questions why on earth I was going to play at Miss
Havisham's, and what on earth I was expected to play at.
Mr. Pumblechook's premises in the High-street of the market town,
were of a peppercorny and farinaceous character, as the premises of
a corn-chandler and seedsman 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 into one 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 of
those jails, and bloom.
It was in the early morning after my arrival that I entertained
this speculation. On the previous night, I had been sent straight
to bed in an attic with a sloping roof, which was so low in the
corner where the bedstead was, that I calculated the tiles as being
within a foot of my eyebrows. In the same early morning, I
discovered a singular affinity between seeds and corduroys. Mr.
Pumblechook wore corduroys, and so did his shopman; and somehow,
there was a general air and flavour about the corduroys, so much in
the nature of seeds, and a general air and flavour about the seeds,
so much in the nature of corduroys, that I hardly knew which was
which. The same opportunity served me for noticing that Mr.
Pumblechook appeared to conduct his business by looking across the
street at the saddler, who appeared to transact his business by
keeping his eye on the coach-maker, who appeared to get on in life
by putting his hands in his pockets and contemplating the baker,
who in his turn folded his arms and stared at the grocer, who stood
at his door and yawned at the chemist. The watch-maker, always
poring over a little desk with a magnifying glass at his eye, and
always inspected by a group 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 his attention.