"If

that makes a judge of rogues, you ought to be a good'un."

("Let her alone, will you?" said Joe.)

"What did you say?" cried my sister, beginning to scream. "What did

you say? What did that fellow Orlick say to me, Pip? What did he

call me, with my husband standing by? O! O! O!" Each of these

exclamations was a shriek; and I must remark of my sister, what is

equally true of all the violent women I have ever seen, that

passion was no excuse for her, because it is undeniable that

instead of lapsing into passion, she consciously and deliberately

took extraordinary pains to force herself into it, and became

blindly furious by regular stages; "what was the name he gave me

before the base man who swore to defend me? O! Hold me! O!"

"Ah-h-h!" growled the journeyman, between his teeth, "I'd hold you,

if you was my wife. I'd hold you under the pump, and choke it out

of you."

("I tell you, let her alone," said Joe.)

"Oh! To hear him!" cried my sister, with a clap of her hands and a

scream together - which was her next stage. "To hear the names he's

giving me! That Orlick! In my own house! Me, a married woman! With

my husband standing by! O! O!" Here my sister, after a fit of

clappings and screamings, beat her hands upon her bosom and upon

her knees, and threw her cap off, and pulled her hair down - which

were the last stages on her road to frenzy. Being by this time a

perfect Fury and a complete success, she made a dash at the door,

which I had fortunately locked.

What could the wretched Joe do now, after his disregarded

parenthetical interruptions, but stand up to his journeyman, and

ask him what he meant by interfering betwixt himself and Mrs. Joe;

and further whether he was man enough to come on? Old Orlick felt

that the situation admitted of nothing less than coming on, and was

on his defence straightway; so, without so much as pulling off

their singed and burnt aprons, they went at one another, like two

giants. But, if any man in that neighbourhood could stand up long

against Joe, I never saw the man. Orlick, as if he had been of no

more account than the pale young gentleman, was very soon among the

coal-dust, and in no hurry to come out of it. Then, Joe unlocked

the door and picked up my sister, who had dropped insensible at the

window (but who had seen the fight first, I think), and who was

carried into the house and laid down, and who was recommended to

revive, and would do nothing but struggle and clench her hands in

Joe's hair. Then, came that singular calm and silence which succeed

all uproars; and then, with the vague sensation which I have always

connected with such a lull - namely, that it was Sunday, and

somebody was dead - I went up-stairs to dress myself.

When I came down again, I found Joe and Orlick sweeping up, without

any other traces of discomposure than a slit in one of Orlick's

nostrils, which was neither expressive nor ornamental. A pot of

beer had appeared from the Jolly Bargemen, and they were sharing it

by turns in a peaceable manner. The lull had a sedative and

philosophical influence on Joe, who followed me out into the road

to say, as a parting observation that might do me good, "On the

Rampage, Pip, and off the Rampage, Pip - such is Life!"

With what absurd emotions (for, we think the feelings that are very

serious in a man quite comical in a boy) I found myself again going

to Miss Havisham's, matters little here. Nor, how I passed and

repassed the gate many times before I could make up my mind to

ring. Nor, how I debated whether I should go away without ringing;

nor, how I should undoubtedly have gone, if my time had been my

own, to come back.

Miss Sarah Pocket came to the gate. No Estella.

"How, then? You here again?" said Miss Pocket. "What do you want?"

When I said that I only came to see how Miss Havisham was, Sarah

evidently deliberated whether or no she should send me about my

business.

Charles Dickens
Classic Literature Library
Classic Authors

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