"Nothing but beggar my neighbour, miss."
"Beggar him," said Miss Havisham to Estella. So we sat down to
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
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 go home now."
"You shall go soon," said Miss Havisham, aloud. "Play the game
Saving for the one weird smile at first, I should have felt almost
sure that Miss Havisham's face could not smile. It had dropped into
a watchful and brooding expression - most likely when all the
things about her had become transfixed - and it looked as if
nothing could ever lift it up again. Her chest had dropped, so that
she stooped; and her voice had dropped, so that she spoke low, and
with a dead lull upon her; altogether, she had the appearance of
having dropped, body and soul, within and without, under the weight
of a crushing blow.
I played the game to an end with Estella, and she beggared me. She
threw the cards down on the table when she had won them all, as if
she despised them for having been won of me.
"When shall I have you here again?" said miss Havisham. "Let me
I was beginning to remind her that to-day was Wednesday, when she
checked me with her former impatient movement of the fingers of her
"There, there! I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing
of 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 and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip."
I followed the candle down, as I had followed the candle up, and
she stood it in the place where we had found it.