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anotheras they well mightand both
repeated, “In a black velvet coach?”

“Yes,” said I. “And Miss Estellathat’s
her niece, I thinkhanded her in cake and wine
at the coach-window, on a gold plate. And we
all had cake and wine on gold plates. And I
got up behind the coach to eat mine, because
she told me to.”

“Was anybody else there?” asked Mr.

“Four dogs,” said I.

“Large or small?”

“Immense,” said I. “And they fought for
veal cutlets out of a silver basket.”

Mr. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe stared at one
another again, in utter amazement. I was
perfectly frantica reckless witness under the
tortureand would have told them anything.

“Where was this coach, in the name of
gracious?” asked my sister.

“In Miss Havisham’s room.” They stared
again. “But there weren’t any horses to it.”
I added this saving clause, in the moment of
rejecting four richly caparisoned coursers which
I had had wild thoughts of harnessing.

“Can this be possible, uncle?” asked Mrs.
Joe. “What can the boy mean?”

“I’ll tell you, Mum,” said Mr. Pumblechook.
“My opinion is, it’s a sedan-chair. She’s flighty,
you knowvery flightyquite flighty enough
to pass her days in a sedan-chair.”

“Did you ever see her in it, uncle?” asked
Mrs. Joe.

“How could I?” he returned, forced to the
admission, “when I never see her in my life?
Never clapped eyes upon her!”

“Goodness, uncle! And yet you have
spoken to her?”

“Why, don’t you know,” said Mr. Pumblechook,
testily, “that when I have been there, I
have been took up to the outside of her door,
and the door has stood ajar, and she has spoke
to me that way. Don’t say you don’t know
that, Mum. Howsever, the boy went there to
play. What did you play at, boy?”

“We played with flags,” I said. (I beg to
observe that I think of myself with amazement,
when I recal the lies I told on this occasion.)

“Flags!” echoed my sister.

“Yes,” said I. “Estella waved a blue flag,
and I waved a red one, and Miss Havisham
waved one sprinkled all over with little gold
stars, out at the coach-window. And then we
all waved our swords and hurrahed.”

“Swords!” repeated my sister. "Where
did you get swords from?”

“Out of a cupboard,” said I. “And I saw
pistols in itand jamand pills. And there
was no daylight in the room, but it was all
lighted up with candles.”

“That’s true, Mum,” said Mr. Pumblechook,
with a grave nod. “That’s the state of the
case, for that much I’ve seen myself.” And
then they both stared at me, and I with an
obtrusive show of artlessness on my countenance,
stared at them, and plaited the right leg of my
trousers with my right hand.

If they had asked me any more questions I
should undoubtedly have betrayed myself, for I
was even then on the point of mentioning that
there was a balloon in the yard, and should have
hazarded the statement but for my invention
being divided between that phenomenon and a
bear in the brewery. They were so much occupied,
however, in discussing the marvels I had already
presented for their consideration, that I escaped.
The subject still held them when Joe came in
from his work to have a cup of tea. To whom my
sister, more for the relief of her own mind than
for the gratification of his, related my pretended

Now, when I saw Joe open his blue eyes and
roll them all round the kitchen in helpless
amazement, I was overtaken by penitence; but
only as regarded himnot in the least as
regarded the other two. Towards Joe, and Joe
only, I considered myself a young monster, while
they sat debating what results would come to
me from Miss Havisham’s acquaintance and
favour. They had no doubt that Miss Havisham
would “do somethingfor me; their doubts
related to the form that something would take.
My sister stood out for “property.” Mr.
Pumblechook was in favour of a handsome premium
for binding me apprentice to some genteel trade
say, the corn and seed trade for instance.
Joe fell into the deepest disgrace with both, for
offering the bright suggestion that I might only
be presented with one of the dogs who had
fought for the veal-cutlets. “If a fool’s head
can’t express better opinions than that,” said
my sister, “and you have got any work to do,
you had better go and do it.” So he went.

After Mr. Pumblechook had driven off, and
when my sister was washing up, I stole into the
forge to Joe, and remained by him until he had
done for the night. Then I said, “Before the
fire goes quite out, Joe, I should like to tell you

“Should you, Pip?” said Joe, drawing his
shoeing-stool near the forge. “Then tell us.
What is it, Pip?”

“Joe,” said I, taking hold of his rolled-up
shirt sleeve, and twisting it between my finger
and thumb, “you remember all that about Miss

“Remember?” said Joe. “I believe you!

“It’s a terrible thing, Joe; it ain’t true.”

“What are you telling of, Pip?” cried Joe,
falling back in the greatest amazement. “You
don’t mean to say it’s——”

“Yes I do; it’s lies, Joe.”

“But not all of it? Why sure you don’t
mean to say, Pip, that there was no black
welwet co——ch?” For, I stood shaking my
head. “But at least there was dogs, Pip.
Come, Pip,” said Joe, persuasively, “if there
warn’t no weal-cutlets, at least there was dogs?”

“No, Joe.”

“A dog?” said Joe. "A puppy? Come?”

“No, Joe, there was nothing at all of the

As I fixed my eyes hopelessly on Joe, Joe