We came to Richmond all too soon, and our destination there, was a
house by the Green; a staid old house, where hoops and powder and
patches, embroidered coats rolled stockings ruffles and swords, had
had their court days many a time. Some ancient trees before the
house were still cut into fashions as formal and unnatural as the
hoops and wigs and stiff skirts; but their own allotted places in
the great procession of the dead were not far off, and they would
soon drop into them and go the silent way of the rest.
A bell with an old voice - which I dare say in its time had often
said to the house, Here is the green farthingale, Here is the
diamondhilted sword, Here are the shoes with red heels and the blue
solitaire, - sounded gravely in the moonlight, and two
cherrycoloured maids came fluttering out to receive Estella. The
doorway soon absorbed her boxes, and she gave me her hand and a
smile, and said good night, and was absorbed likewise. And still I
stood looking at the house, thinking how happy I should be if I
lived there with her, and knowing that I never was happy with her,
but always miserable.
I got into the carriage to be taken back to Hammersmith, and I got
in with a bad heart-ache, and I got out with a worse heart-ache. At
our own door, I found little Jane Pocket coming home from a little
party escorted by her little lover; and I envied her little lover,
in spite of his being subject to Flopson.
Mr. Pocket was out lecturing; for, he was a most delightful lecturer
on domestic economy, and his treatises on the management of
children and servants were considered the very best text-books on
those themes. But, Mrs. Pocket was at home, and was in a little
difficulty, on account of the baby's having been accommodated with
a needle-case to keep him quiet during the unaccountable absence
(with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles
were missing, than it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a
patient of such tender years either to apply externally or to take
as a tonic.
Mr. Pocket being justly celebrated for giving most excellent
practical advice, and for having a clear and sound perception of
things and a highly judicious mind, I had some notion in my
heartache of begging him to accept my confidence. But, happening to
look up at Mrs. Pocket as she sat reading her book of dignities
after prescribing Bed as a sovereign remedy for baby, I thought -
Well - No, I wouldn't.
As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly
begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their
influence on my own character, I disguised from my recognition as
much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good. I
lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behaviour to
Joe. My conscience was not by any means comfortable about Biddy.
When I woke up in the night - like Camilla - I used to think, with
a weariness on my spirits, that I should have been happier and
better if I had never seen Miss Havisham's face, and had risen to
manhood content to be partners with Joe in the honest old forge.
Many a time of an evening, when I sat alone looking at the fire, I
thought, after all, there was no fire like the forge fire and the
kitchen fire at home.
Yet Estella was so inseparable from all my restlessness and
disquiet of mind, that I really fell into confusion as to the
limits of my own part in its production. That is to say, supposing
I had had no expectations, and yet had had Estella to think of, I
could not make out to my satisfaction that I should have done much
better. Now, concerning the influence of my position on others, I
was in no such difficulty, and so I perceived - though dimly enough
perhaps - that it was not beneficial to anybody, and, above all,
that it was not beneficial to Herbert. My lavish habits led his
easy nature into expenses that he could not afford, corrupted the
simplicity of his life, and disturbed his peace with anxieties and