Your poor sister is much the same as when you left. We
talk of you in the kitchen every night, and wonder what you are
saying and doing. If now considered in the light of a liberty,
excuse it for the love of poor old days. No more, dear Mr. Pip, from
"Your ever obliged, and affectionate servant,
"P.S. He wishes me most particular to write what larks. He says you
will understand. I hope and do not doubt it will be agreeable to
see him even though a gentleman, for you had ever a good heart, and
he is a worthy worthy man. I have read him all excepting only the
last little sentence, and he wishes me most particular to write
again what larks."
I received this letter by the post on Monday morning, and therefore
its appointment was for next day. Let me confess exactly, with what
feelings I looked forward to Joe's coming.
Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no;
with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense
of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I
certainly would have paid money. My greatest reassurance was, that
he was coming to Barnard's Inn, not to Hammersmith, and
consequently would not fall in Bentley Drummle's way. I had little
objection to his being seen by Herbert or his father, for both of
whom I had a respect; but I had the sharpest sensitiveness as to
his being seen by Drummle, whom I held in contempt. So, throughout
life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for
the sake of the people whom we most despise.
I had begun to be always decorating the chambers in some quite
unnecessary and inappropriate way or other, and very expensive
those wrestles with Barnard proved to be. By this time, the rooms
were vastly different from what I had found them, and I enjoyed the
honour of occupying a few prominent pages in the books of a
neighbouring upholsterer. I had got on so fast of late, that I had
even started a boy in boots - top boots - in bondage and slavery to
whom I might have been said to pass my days. For, after I had made
the monster (out of the refuse of my washerwoman's family) and had
clothed him with a blue coat, canary waistcoat, white cravat,
creamy breeches, and the boots already mentioned, I had to find him
a little to do and a great deal to eat; and with both of those
horrible requirements he haunted my existence.
This avenging phantom was ordered to be on duty at eight on Tuesday
morning in the hall (it was two feet square, as charged for
floorcloth), and Herbert suggested certain things for breakfast
that he thought Joe would like. While I felt sincerely obliged to
him for being so interested and considerate, I had an odd
half-provoked sense of suspicion upon me, that if Joe had been
coming to see him, he wouldn't have been quite so brisk about it.
However, I came into town on the Monday night to be ready for Joe,
and I got up early in the morning, and caused the sittingroom and
breakfast-table to assume their most splendid appearance.
Unfortunately the morning was drizzly, and an angel could not have
concealed the fact that Barnard was shedding sooty tears outside the
window, like some weak giant of a Sweep.
As the time approached I should have liked to run away, but the
Avenger pursuant to orders was in the hall, and presently I heard
Joe on the staircase. I knew it was Joe, by his clumsy manner of
coming up-stairs - his state boots being always too big for him -
and by the time it took him to read the names on the other floors
in the course of his ascent. When at last he stopped outside our
door, I could hear his finger tracing over the painted letters of
my name, and I afterwards distinctly heard him breathing in at the
keyhole. Finally he gave a faint single rap, and Pepper - such was
the compromising name of the avenging boy - announced "Mr. Gargery!"
I thought he never would have done wiping his feet, and that I must
have gone out to lift him off the mat, but at last he came in.