Joe fell into the deepest disgrace with both, for
offering the bright suggestion that I might only be presented with
one of the dogs who had fought for the veal-cutlets. "If a fool's
head can't express better opinions than that," said my sister, "and
you have got any work to do, you had better go and do it." So he
After Mr. Pumblechook had driven off, and when my sister was washing
up, I stole into the forge to Joe, and remained by him until he had
done for the night. Then I said, "Before the fire goes out, Joe, I
should like to tell you something."
"Should you, Pip?" said Joe, drawing his shoeing-stool near the
forge. "Then tell us. What is it, Pip?"
"Joe," said I, taking hold of his rolled-up shirt sleeve, and
twisting it between my finger and thumb, "you remember all that
about Miss Havisham's?"
"Remember?" said Joe. "I believe you! Wonderful!"
"It's a terrible thing, Joe; it ain't true."
"What are you telling of, Pip?" cried Joe, falling back in the
greatest amazement. "You don't mean to say it's--"
"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 welwet coach?" For, I stood shaking my head. "But at
least there was dogs, Pip? Come, Pip," said Joe, persuasively, "if
there warn't no weal-cutlets, at least there was dogs?"
"A dog?" said Joe. "A puppy? Come?"
"No, Joe, there was nothing at all of the kind."
As I fixed my eyes hopelessly on Joe, Joe contemplated me in
dismay. "Pip, old chap! This won't do, old fellow! I say! Where do
you expect to go to?"
"It's terrible, Joe; an't it?"
"Terrible?" cried Joe. "Awful! What possessed you?"
"I don't know what possessed me, Joe," I replied, letting his shirt
sleeve go, and sitting down in the ashes at his feet, 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
And then I told Joe that I felt very miserable, and that I hadn't
been able to explain myself to Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook who were so
rude to me, and that there had been a beautiful young lady at Miss
Havisham's who was dreadfully proud, and that she had said I was
common, and that I knew I was common, and that I wished I was not
common, and that the lies had come of it somehow, though I didn't
This was a case of metaphysics, at least as difficult for Joe to
deal with, as for me. But Joe took the case altogether out of the
region of metaphysics, and by that means vanquished it.
"There's one thing you may be sure of, Pip," said Joe, after some
rumination, "namely, that lies is lies. Howsever 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. That
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 are oncommon in some
things. You're oncommon small. Likewise you're a oncommon scholar."
"No, I am ignorant and backward, Joe."
"Why, see what a letter you wrote last night! Wrote in print even!
I've seen letters - Ah! and from gentlefolks! - that I'll swear
weren't wrote in print," said Joe.
"I have learnt next to nothing, Joe. You think much of me. It's
"Well, Pip," said Joe, "be it so or be it son't, you must be a
common scholar afore you can be a oncommon one, I should hope! The
king upon his throne, with his crown upon his 'ed, can't sit and
write his acts of Parliament in print, without having begun, when
he were a unpromoted Prince, with the alphabet - Ah!" added Joe,
with a shake of the head that was full of meaning, "and begun at A
too, and worked his way to Z. And I know what that is to do, though
I can't say I've exactly done it."
There was some hope in this piece of wisdom, and it rather