Charles Dickens

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.

Chapter 13

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

this boy?"

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

to larks.