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said Cousin John; "Heaven forbid I should
deny good points in him; but he never had, and
he never will have, any sense of the proprieties."

"You know I was obliged," said Camilla,
"I was obliged to be firm. I said, 'It WILL
NOT DO for the credit of the family.' I told him
that, without deep trimmings, the family was
disgraced. I cried about it from breakfast till
dinner. I injured my digestion. And at last
he flung out in his violent way, and said with a
D, ' Then do as you like.' Thank Goodness it
will always be a consolation to me to know
that I instantly went out in a pouring rain and
bought the things."

"He paid for them, did he not?" asked

"It's not the question, my dear child, who
paid for them," returned Camilla, "/ bought
them. And I shall often think of that with
peace, when I wake up in the night."

The ringing of a distant bell, combined with
the echoing of some cry or call along the passage
by which I had come, interrupted the conversation
and caused Estella to say to me, "Now,
boy!" On my turning round, they all looked
at me with the utmost contempt, and, as I went
out, I heard Sarah Pocket say, "Well I am
sure! What next!" and Camilla add, with
indignation, "Was there ever such a fancy! The

As we were going with our candle along the
dark passage, Estella stopped all of a sudden,
and facing round said in her taunting manner
with her face quite close to mine:


"Well, miss?" I answered, almost falling
over her and checking myself.

She stood looking at me, and, of course, I
stood looking at her.

"Am I pretty?"

"Yes; I think you are very pretty."

"Am I insulting?"

"Not so much so as you were last time,"
said I.

"Not so much so?"


She fired when she asked the last question,
and she slapped my face with such force as she
had, when I answered it.

"Now?" said she. " You little coarse monster,
what do you think of me now?"

"I shall not tell you."

"Because you are going to tell, up-stairs. Is
that it?"

"No," said I, "that's not it."

"Why don't you cry again, you little wretch?"

"Because I'll never cry for you again," said I.
Which was, I suppose, as false a declaration
as ever was made; for I was inwardly crying
for her then, and I know what I know of the
pain she cost me afterwards.

We went on our way up-stairs after this
episode; and, as we were going up, we met a
gentleman groping his way down.

"Who have we here?" asked the gentleman,
stopping and looking at me.

"A boy," said Estella.

He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark
complexion, with an exceedingly large head and
a correspondingly large hand. He took my
chin in his large hand and turned up my face to
have a look at me by the light of the candle.
He was prematurely bald on the top of his head,
and had bushy black eyebrows that wouldn't lie
down but stood up bristling. His eyes were
set very deep in his head, and were disagreeably
sharp and suspicious. He had a large watch-chain,
and strong black dots where his beard
and whiskers would have been if he had let
them. He was nothing to me, and I could have
had no foresight then, that he ever would be
anything to me, but it happened that I had this
opportunity of observing him well.

"Boy of the neighbourhood? Hey?" said he.

"Yes, sir," said I.

"How do you come here?"

"Miss Havisham sent for me, sir," I

"Well! Behave yourself. I have a pretty
large experience of boys, and you're a bad set of
fellows. Now mind!" said he, biting the side
of his great forefinger as he frowned at me, "you
behave yourself!"

With those words, he released mewhich I
was glad of, for his hand smelt of scented soap
and went his way down stairs. I wondered
whether he could be a doctor; but no, I
thought; he couldn't be a doctor, or he would
have a quieter and more persuasive manner.
There was not much time to consider the
subject, for we were soon in Miss Havisham's
room, where she and everything else were just
as I had left them. Estella left me standing
near the door, and I stood there until Miss
Havisham cast her eyes upon me from the

"So!" she said, without being startled or
surprised; "the days have worn away, have

"Yes, ma'am. To-day is—"

"There, there, there!" with the impatient
movement of her fingers. " I don't want to
know. Are you ready to play?"

I was obliged to answer in some confusion,
"I don't think I am, ma'am."

"Not at cards again?" she demanded, with a
searching look.

"Yes, ma'am; I could do that, if I was

"Since this house strikes you old and grave,
boy," said Miss Havisharn, impatiently, "and
you are unwilling to play, are you willing to

I could answer this inquiry with a better
heart than I had been able to find for the other
question, and I said I was quite willing.

"Then go into that opposite room," said she,
pointing at the door behind me with her withered
hand, "and wait there till I come."

I crossed the staircase landing, and entered
the room she indicated. From that room too,
the daylight was completely excluded, and it
had an airless smell that was oppressive. A
fire had been lately kindled in the damp old-