Any word of that sort."
"How did you bear your disappointment?" I asked.
"Pooh!" said he, "I didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar."
"I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and
haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up
by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex."
"What relation is she to Miss Havisham?"
"None," said he. "Only adopted."
"Why should she wreak revenge on all the male sex? What revenge?"
"Lord, Mr. Pip!" said he. "Don't you know?"
"No," said I.
"Dear me! It's quite a story, and shall be saved till dinner-time.
And now let me take the liberty of asking you a question. How did
you come there, that day?"
I told him, and he was attentive until I had finished, and then
burst out laughing again, and asked me if I was sore afterwards? I
didn't ask him if he was, for my conviction on that point was
"Mr. Jaggers is your guardian, I understand?" he went on.
"You know he is Miss Havisham's man of business and solicitor, and
has her confidence when nobody else has?"
This was bringing me (I felt) towards dangerous ground. I answered
with a constraint I made no attempt to disguise, that I had seen Mr.
Jaggers in Miss Havisham's house on the very day of our combat, but
never at any other time, and that I believed he had no recollection
of having ever seen me there.
"He was so obliging as to suggest my father for your tutor, and he
called on my father to propose it. Of course he knew about my
father from his connexion with Miss Havisham. My father is Miss
Havisham's cousin; not that that implies familiar intercourse
between them, for he is a bad courtier and will not propitiate
Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very
taking. I had never seen any one then, and I have never seen any
one since, who more strongly expressed to me, in every look and
tone, a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There
was something wonderfully hopeful about his general air, and
something that at the same time whispered to me he would never be
very successful or rich. I don't know how this was. I became imbued
with the notion on that first occasion before we sat down to
dinner, but I cannot define by what means.
He was still a pale young gentleman, and had a certain conquered
languor about him in the midst of his spirits and briskness, that
did not seem indicative of natural strength. He had not a handsome
face, but it was better than handsome: being extremely amiable and
cheerful. His figure was a little ungainly, as in the days when my
knuckles had taken such liberties with it, but it looked as if it
would always be light and young. Whether Mr. Trabb's local work
would have sat more gracefully on him than on me, may be a
question; but I am conscious that he carried off his rather old
clothes, much better than I carried off my new suit.
As he was so communicative, I felt that reserve on my part would be
a bad return unsuited to our years. I therefore told him my small
story, and laid stress on my being forbidden to inquire who my
benefactor was. I further mentioned that as I had been brought up a
blacksmith in a country place, and knew very little of the ways of
politeness, I would take it as a great kindness in him if he would
give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong.
"With pleasure," said he, "though I venture to prophesy that you'll
want very few hints. I dare say we shall be often together, and I
should like to banish any needless restraint between us. Will you
do me the favour to begin at once to call me by my Christian name,
I thanked him, and said I would. I informed him in exchange that my
Christian name was Philip.
"I don't take to Philip," said he, smiling, "for it sounds like a
moral boy out of the spelling-book, who was so lazy that he fell
into a pond, or so fat that he couldn't see out of his eyes, or so
avaricious that he locked up his cake till the mice ate it, or so
determined to go a bird's-nesting that he got himself eaten by
bears who lived handy in the neighbourhood.