"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
Mr. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe stared at one another again, in utter
amazement. I was perfectly frantic - a reckless witness under the
torture - 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
"I'll tell you, Mum," said Mr. Pumblechook. "My opinion is, it's a
sedan-chair. She's flighty, you know - very flighty - quite flighty
enough to pass her days in a sedan-chair."
"Did you ever see her in it, uncle?" asked Mrs. Joe.
"How could I," he returned, forced to the admission, "when I never
see her in my life? Never clapped eyes upon her!"
"Goodness, uncle! And yet you have spoken to her?"
"Why, don't you know," said Mr. Pumblechook, testily, "that when I
have been there, I have been took up to the outside of her door,
and the door has stood ajar, and she has spoke to me that way.
Don't say you don't know that, Mum. Howsever, the boy went there to
play. What did you play at, boy?"
"We played with flags," I said. (I beg to observe that I think of
myself with amazement, when I recall the lies I told on this
"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
"Swords!" repeated my sister. "Where did you get swords from?"
"Out of a cupboard," said I. "And I saw pistols in it - and jam -
and pills. And there was no daylight in the room, but it was all
lighted up with candles."
"That's true, Mum," said Mr. Pumblechook, with a grave nod. "That's
the state of the case, for that much I've seen myself." And then
they both stared at me, and I, with an obtrusive show of
artlessness on my countenance, stared at them, and plaited the
right leg of my trousers with my right hand.
If they had asked me any more questions I should undoubtedly have
betrayed myself, for I was even then on the point of mentioning
that there was a balloon in the yard, and should have hazarded the
statement but for my invention being divided between that
phenomenon and a bear in the brewery. They were so much occupied,
however, in discussing the marvels I had already presented for
their consideration, that I escaped. The subject still held them
when Joe came in from his work to have a cup of tea. To whom my
sister, more for the relief of her own mind than for the
gratification of his, related my pretended experiences.
Now, when I saw Joe open his blue eyes and roll them all round the
kitchen in helpless amazement, I was overtaken by penitence; but
only as regarded him - not in the least as regarded the other two.
Towards Joe, and Joe only, I considered myself a young monster,
while they sat debating what results would come to me from Miss
Havisham's acquaintance and favour. They had no doubt that Miss
Havisham would "do something" for me; their doubts related to the
form that something would take. My sister stood out for "property."
Mr. Pumblechook was in favour of a handsome premium for binding me
apprentice to some genteel trade - say, the corn and seed trade,