Not satisfied with a dry
cleaning, she took to a pail and scrubbing-brush, and cleaned us
out of house and home, so that we stood shivering in the back-yard.
It was ten o'clock at night before we ventured to creep in again,
and then she asked Joe why he hadn't married a Negress Slave at
once? Joe offered no answer, poor fellow, but stood feeling his
whisker and looking dejectedly at me, as if he thought it really
might have been a better speculation.
It was a trial to my feelings, on the next day but one, to see Joe
arraying himself in his Sunday clothes to accompany me to Miss
Havisham's. However, as he thought his court-suit necessary to the
occasion, it was not for me tell him that he looked far better in
his working dress; the rather, because I knew he made himself so
dreadfully uncomfortable, entirely on my account, and that it was
for me he pulled up his shirt-collar so very high behind, that it
made the hair on the crown of his head stand up like a tuft of
At breakfast time my sister declared her intention of going to town
with us, and being left at Uncle Pumblechook's and called for "when
we had done with our fine ladies" - a way of putting the case, from
which Joe appeared inclined to augur the worst. The forge was shut
up for the day, and Joe inscribed in chalk upon the door (as it was
his custom to do on the very rare occasions when he was not at
work) the monosyllable HOUT, accompanied by a sketch of an arrow
supposed to be flying in the direction he had taken.
We walked to town, my sister leading the way in a very large beaver
bonnet, and carrying a basket like the Great Seal of England in
plaited straw, a pair of pattens, a spare shawl, and an umbrella,
though it was a fine bright day. I am not quite clear whether these
articles were carried penitentially or ostentatiously; but, I
rather think they were displayed as articles of property - much as
Cleopatra or any other sovereign lady on the Rampage might exhibit
her wealth in a pageant or procession.
When we came to Pumblechook's, my sister bounced in and left us. As
it was almost noon, Joe and I held straight on to Miss Havisham's
house. Estella opened the gate as usual, and, the moment she
appeared, Joe took his hat off and stood weighing it by the brim in
both his hands: as if he had some urgent reason in his mind for
being particular to half a quarter of an ounce.
Estella took no notice of either of us, but led us the way that I
knew so well. I followed next to her, and Joe came last. When I
looked back at Joe in the long passage, he was still weighing his
hat with the greatest care, and was coming after us in long strides
on the tips of his toes.
Estella told me we were both to go in, so I took Joe by the
coat-cuff and conducted him into Miss Havisham's presence. She was
seated at her dressing-table, and looked round at us immediately.
"Oh!" said she to Joe. "You are the husband of the sister of this
I could hardly have imagined dear old Joe looking so unlike himself
or so like some extraordinary bird; standing, as he did,
speechless, with his tuft of feathers ruffled, and his mouth open,
as if he wanted a worm.
"You are the husband," repeated Miss Havisham, "of the sister of
It was very aggravating; but, throughout the interview Joe
persisted in addressing Me instead of Miss Havisham.
"Which I meantersay, Pip," Joe now observed in a manner that was at
once expressive of forcible argumentation, strict confidence, and
great politeness, "as I hup and married your sister, and I were at
the time what you might call (if you was anyways inclined) a single
"Well!" said Miss Havisham. "And you have reared the boy, with the
intention of taking him for your apprentice; is that so, Mr.
"You know, Pip," replied Joe, "as you and me were ever friends, and
it were looked for'ard to betwixt us, as being calc'lated to lead