"I have gone off into that state, hours and hours, on account of
Matthew's strange and inexplicable conduct, and nobody has thanked
"Really I must say I should think not!" interposed the grave lady.
"You see, my dear," added Miss Sarah Pocket (a blandly vicious
personage), "the question to put to yourself is, who did you expect
to thank you, my love?"
"Without expecting any thanks, or anything of the sort," resumed
Camilla, "I have remained in that state, hours and hours, and
Raymond is a witness of the extent to which I have choked, and what
the total inefficacy of ginger has been, and I have been heard at
the pianoforte-tuner's across the street, where the poor mistaken
children have even supposed it to be pigeons cooing at a
distance-and now to be told--." Here Camilla put her hand to her
throat, and began to be quite chemical as to the formation of new
When this same Matthew was mentioned, Miss Havisham stopped me and
herself, and stood looking at the speaker. This change had a great
influence in bringing Camilla's chemistry to a sudden end.
"Matthew will come and see me at last," said Miss Havisham,
sternly, when I am laid on that table. That will be his place -
there," striking the table with her stick, "at my head! And yours
will be there! And your husband's there! And Sarah Pocket's there!
And Georgiana's there! Now you all know where to take your stations
when you come to feast upon me. And now go!"
At the mention of each name, she had struck the table with her
stick in a new place. She now said, "Walk me, walk me!" and we went
"I suppose there's nothing to be done," exclaimed Camilla, "but
comply and depart. It's something to have seen the object of one's
love and duty, for even so short a time. I shall think of it with a
melancholy satisfaction when I wake up in the night. I wish Matthew
could have that comfort, but he sets it at defiance. I am
determined not to make a display of my feelings, but it's very hard
to be told one wants to feast on one's relations - as if one was a
Giant - and to be told to go. The bare idea!"
Mr. Camilla interposing, as Mrs. Camilla laid her hand upon her
heaving bosom, that lady assumed an unnatural fortitude of manner
which I supposed to be expressive of an intention to drop and choke
when out of view, and kissing her hand to Miss Havisham, was
escorted forth. Sarah Pocket and Georgiana contended who should
remain last; but, Sarah was too knowing to be outdone, and ambled
round Georgiana with that artful slipperiness, that the latter was
obliged to take precedence. Sarah Pocket then made her separate
effect of departing with "Bless you, Miss Havisham dear!" and with
a smile of forgiving pity on her walnut-shell countenance for the
weaknesses of the rest.
While Estella was away lighting them down, Miss Havisham still
walked with her hand on my shoulder, but more and more slowly. At
last she stopped before the fire, and said, after muttering and
looking at it some seconds:
"This is my birthday, Pip."
I was going to wish her many happy returns, when she lifted her
"I don't suffer it to be spoken of. I don't suffer those who were
here just now, or any one, to speak of it. They come here on the
day, but they dare not refer to it."
Of course I made no further effort to refer to it.
"On this day of the year, long before you were born, this heap of
decay," stabbing with her crutched stick at the pile of cobwebs on
the table but not touching it, "was brought here. It and I have
worn away together. The mice have gnawed at it, and sharper teeth
than teeth of mice have gnawed at me."
She held the head of her stick against her heart as she stood
looking at the table; she in her once white dress, all yellow and
withered; the once white cloth all yellow and withered; everything
around, in a state to crumble under a touch.