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use, it is not put further in
than is necessary. It is scarcely worth mentioning, only it's as well to do as
other people do. Also, the spoon is not generally used over-hand, but under.
This has two advantages. You get at your mouth better (which after all is the
object), and you save a good deal of the attitude of opening oysters, on the
part of the right elbow."
He offered these friendly
suggestions in such a lively way that we both laughed, and I scarcely blushed.
"Now," he pursued, " concerning
Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, you must know, was a spoiled child. Her mother
died when she was a baby, and her father denied her nothing. Her father was a
country gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't know
why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is indisputable that while
you can not possibly be genteel and bake, you may be as genteel as never was and
brew. You see it every day."
"Yet a gentleman may not keep a
public-house ; may he ?" said I.
" Not on any account," returned
Herbert; "but a public-house may keep a gentleman. Well ! Mr. Havisham was very
rich and very proud. So was his daughter."
" Miss Havisham was an only child
?" I hazarded.
" Stop a moment, I am coming to
that. No, she was not an only child ; she had a half-brother. Her father
privately married again—his cook, I rather think."
" I thought he was proud," said
"My good Handel, so he was. He
married his second wife privately, because he was proud, and in course of time
she died. When she was dead, I apprehend he first told his daughter what he had
done, and then the son became a part of the family, residing in the house you
are acquainted with. As the son grew a young man he turned out riotous,
extravagant, undutiful—altogether had. At last his father disinherited him ; but
he softened when he was dying, and left him well off; though not nearly so well
off as Miss Havisham. Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning that
society as a body does not expect one to be so strictly conscientious in
emptying one's glass as to turn it bottom up-ward with the rim on one's nose."
I had been doing this, in an
excess of attention to his recital. I thanked him and apologized. He said, "Not
at all," and resumed.
"Miss Havisham was now an
heiress, and you may suppose was looked after as a great match. Her half-brother
had now ample means again, but what with debts and what with new madness wasted
them most fearfully again. There were stronger differences between him and her
than there had been between him and his father, and it is suspected that he
cherished a deep and mortal grudge against her, as having influenced the
father's anger. Now I come to the cruel part of the story—merely breaking off,
my dear Handel, to remark that a dinner-napkin will not go into a tumbler."
Why I was trying to pack mine
into my tumbler I am wholly unable to say. I only know that I found myself, with
a perseverance worthy of a much better cause, making the most strenuous
exertions to compress it within those limits. Again I thanked him and
apologized, and again he said, in the cheerfulest manner, " Not at all, I am
sure !" and resumed.
" There appeared upon the
scene—say at the races, or the public balls, or any where else you like—a
certain man, who made love to Miss Havisham. I never saw him, for this happened
five-and-twenty years ago, before you and I were, Handel, but I have heard my
father mention that he was a showy-man, and the kind of man for the purpose. But
that he was not to be, without ignorance or prejudice, mistaken for a gentleman,
my father most strongly asseverates ; because it is a principle of his that no
man who was not a true gentleman at heart ever was, since the world began, a
true gentleman in manner. He says no varnish can hide the grain of the wood ;
and the more varnish you put on the more the grain will express itself. Well !
This man pursued Miss Havisham closely, and professed to be devoted to her. I
believe she had not shown much susceptibility up to that time; but all she
possessed certainly came out then, and she passionately loved him. There is no
doubt that she perfectly idolized him. He practiced on her affection in that
systematic way, that he got great sums of money from her, and he induced her to
buy her brother out of a share in the brewery (which had been weakly left him by
his father) at an immense price, on the plea that when he was her husband he
must hold and manage it all. Your guardian was not at that time in Miss
Havisham's councils, and she was too haughty and too much in love to be advised
by any one. Her relations were poor and scheming, with the exception of my
father ; he was poor enough, but not time-serving or jealous. The only
independent one among them, he warned her that she was doing too much for this
man, and was placing herself too unreservedly in his power. She took the first
opportunity of angrily ordering my father out of the house, in his presence, and
my father has never seen her since."
I thought of her having said, "
Matthew will come and see me at last when I am laid dead upon that table ;" and
I asked Herbert whether his father was so inveterate against her ?
"It's not that," said he, "but
she charged him before her intended husband with being disappointed in the hope
of fawning upon her for his own advancement, and, if he were to go to her now,
it would look true—even to him—and even to her after all. To return to the man,
and make an end of him. The marriage day was fixed, the wedding dresses were
bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding
guests were invited. The day
came, but not the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter—"
"Which she received," I struck
in, "when she was dressing for her marriage ? At twenty minutes to nine?"
"At the hour and minute," said
Herbert, nodding, " at which she afterward stopped all the clocks. What was in
it, further than that it most heartlessly broke the marriage off, I can't tell
you, because I don't know. When she re-covered from a bad illness that she had,
she laid the whole place waste, as you have seen it, and she has never since
looked upon the light of day."
" Is that all the story ?" I
asked, after considering it.
" All I know of it ; and indeed I
only know so much through piecing it out for myself; for my father always avoids
it, and, even when Miss Havisham invited me to go there, told me no more of it
than it was absolutely requisite I should understand. But I have forgotten one
thing. It has been supposed that the man to whom she gave her misplaced
confidence acted throughout in concert with her half-brother ; that it was a
conspiracy between them ; and that they shared the profits."
"I wonder he didn't marry her and
get all the property," said I.
" He may have been married
already, and her cruel mortification may have been a part of her half brother's
scheme," said Herbert. "Mind! I don't know that."
"What became of the two men?" I
asked, after again considering the subject.
" They fell into deeper shame and
degradation —if there can be deeper—and ruin."
"Are they alive now?"
" I don't know."
"You said just now that Estella
was not related to Miss Havisham, but adopted. When adopted ?"
Herbert shrugged his shoulders. "
There has always been an Estella since I have heard of a Miss Havisham. I know
no more. And now, Handel," said he, finally throwing off the story, as it were,
" there is a perfectly open under-standing between us. All that I know about
Miss Havisham you know."
"And all that I know," I
retorted, "you know."
" I fully believe it. So there
can be no competition or perplexity between you and me. And as to the condition
on which you hold your advancement in life—namely, that you are not to inquire
or discuss to whom you owe it—you may be very sure that it will never be
encroached upon, or even approached by me, or by any one belonging to me."
In truth, he said this with so
much delicacy, that I felt the subject done with, even though I should be under
his father's roof for years and years to come. Yet he said it with so much
meaning, too, that I felt he as perfectly under-stood Miss Havisham to be my
benefactress as I understood the fact myself.
It had not occurred to me before
that he had led up to the theme for the purpose of clearing it out of our way ;
but we were so much the lighter and easier for having broached it, that I now
perceived this to be the case. We were very gay and sociable, and I asked him,
in the course of conversation, what he was? He replied, "A capitalist—an Insurer
of Ships." I suppose he saw me glancing about the room in search of some tokens
of Shipping, or capital, for he added, " In the City."
I had grand ideas of the wealth
and importance of Insurers of Ships in the City, and I began to think with awe
of having laid a young Insurer on his back, blackened his enterprising eye, and
cut his responsible head open. But, again, there came upon me, for my relief,
that odd impression that Herbert Pocket would never be very successful or rich.
"I shall not rest satisfied with
merely employing my capital in insuring ships. I shall buy up some good Life
Assurance shares, and cut into the Direction. I shall also do a little in the
mining way. None of these things will interfere with my chartering a few
thousand tons on my own account. I think I shall trade," said he, leaning back
in his chair, "to the East Indies, for silks, shawls, spices, dyes, drugs, and
precious woods. It's an interesting trade."
" And the profits are large ?"
said I. "Tremendous !" said he.
I wavered again, and began to
think here were greater expectations than my own. " I think I shall trade,
also," said he, putting his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, " to the West
Indies, for sugar, tobacco, and rum. Also to Ceylon, specially for elephants'
"You will want a good many
ships," said I. "A perfect fleet," said he.
Quite overpowered by the
magnificence of these transactions, I asked him where the ships he insured
mostly traded to at present?
"I haven't begun insuring yet,"
he replied. "I am looking about me."
Somehow, that pursuit seemed more
in keeping with Barnard's Inn. I said (in a tone of conviction), "Ah-h!"
" Yes. I am in a counting-house,
and looking about me."
"Is a counting-house profitable
?" I asked. "To—do you mean to the young fellow who's in it ?" he asked, in
"Yes; to you."
" Why, n-no : not to me." He said
this with the air of one carefully reckoning up and striking a balance. " Not
directly profitable. That is, it doesn't pay me any thing, and I have to—keep
This certainly had not a
profitable appearance, and I shook my head as if I would imply that it would be
difficult to lay by much accumulative capital from such a source of income.
"But the thing is," said Herbert
Pocket, " that you look about. you. That's the grand thing.
You are in a counting-house, you
know, and you look about you."
It struck me as a singular
implication that you couldn't be out of a counting-house, you know, and look
about you ; but I silently deferred to his experience.
"'Then the time comes," said
Herbert, " when you see your opening. And you go in and you swoop upon it, and
you make your capital, and then there you are ! When you have once made your
capital, you have nothing to do but em-ploy it !"
This was very like his way of
conducting that encounter in the garden ; very like. His manner of bearing his
poverty, too, exactly corresponded to his manner of bearing that defeat. It
seemed to me that he took all blows and buffets now with just the same air as he
had taken mine then. It was evident that he had nothing around him but the
simplest necessaries, for every thing that I remarked upon turned out to have
been sent in on my account from the coffee-house or somewhere else.
Yet, having already made his
fortune in his own mind, he was so unassuming with it that I felt quite grateful
to him for not being puffed up. It was a pleasant addition to his naturally
pleas-ant ways, and we got on famously. In the evening we went out for a walk in
the streets, and went half-price to the Theatre ; and next day we went to church
at Westminster Abbey, and in the afternoon we walked in the Parks; and I
wondered who shod all the horses there, and wished Joe did.
On a moderate computation, it was
many months, that Sunday, since I had left Joe and Biddy. The space interposed
between myself and them partook of that expansion, and our marshes were any
distance off. That I could have been at our old church in my old church-going
clothes, on the very last Sunday that ever was, seemed a combination of
impossibilities, geographical and social, solar and lunar. Yet in the London
streets so crowded with people and so brilliantly lighted in the dusk of
evening, there were depressing hints of reproaches for that I had put the poor
old kitchen at home so far away; and in the dead of night, the footsteps of some
incapable impostor of a porter mooning about Barnard's Inn, under pretense of
watching it, fell hollow on my heart.
On the Monday morning at a
quarter before nine, Herbert went to the counting-house to re-port himself—to
look about him, too, I suppose —and I bore him company. He was to come away in
an hour or two to attend me to Hammer-smith, and I was to wait about for him. It
appeared to me that the eggs from which young Insurers were hatched were
incubated in dust and heat, like the eggs of ostriches, judging from the places
to which those incipient giants re-paired on a Monday morning. Nor did the
counting-house where Herbert assisted show in my eyes as at all a good
Observatory ; being a back second floor up a yard, of a grimy presence in all
particulars, and with a look into another back second floor rather than a look
I waited about until it was noon,
and I went upon 'Change, and I saw fluey men sitting there under the bills about
shipping, whom I took to be great merchants, though I couldn't under-stand why
they should all be out of spirits. When Herbert came, we went and had lunch at a
celebrated house which I then quite venerated, but now believe to have been the
most abject superstition in Europe, and where I could not help noticing, even
then, that there was much more gravy on the table-cloths and knives and waiters'
clothes than in the steaks. This collation disposed of at a moderate price
(considering the grease, which was not charged for), we went back to Barnard's
Inn and got my little portmanteau, and then took coach for Hammersmith. We
arrived there at two or three o'clock in the after-noon, and had very little way
to walk to Mr. Pocket's house. Lifting the latch of a gate, we passed direct
into a little garden overlooking the river, where Mr. Pocket's children were
playing about. And unless I deceive myself on a point where my interests or
prepossessions are certainly not concerned, I saw at once that Mr. and Mrs.
Pocket's children were not growing up or being brought up, but were tumbling up.
Mrs. Pocket was sitting on a
garden chair under a tree, reading, with her legs upon an-other garden chair ;
and Mrs. Pocket's two nursemaids were looking about them while the children
played. " Mamma," said Herbert, " this is young Mr. Pip." Upon which Mrs. Pocket
received me with an appearance of amiable dignity, and I thought her a sweet
" Master Mick and Miss Jane,"
cried one of the nurses to two of the children, " if yon go a bouncing up
against them bushes you'll fall over into the river and be drownded, and what'll
your pa say then !"
At the same time this nurse
picked up Mrs. Pocket's handkerchief, and said, "If that don't make six times
you've dropped it, Mum !" Upon which Mrs. Pocket laughed, and said, "Thank you,
Flopson ;" and settling herself in one chair only, resumed her book. Her
countenance immediately assumed a knitted and intent expression, as if she had
been reading for a week ; but before she could have read half a dozen lines she
fixed her eyes upon me, and said, " I hope your mamma is quite well ?" This
unexpected inquiry put me into such a difficulty that I began saying in the
absurdest way that if there had been any such person I had no doubt she would
have been quite well, and would have been very much obliged, and would have sent
her compliments, when the nurse came to my rescue.
"Well!" she cried, picking up the
pocket-handkerchief, " if that don't make seven times ! What ARE you a doing of
this afternoon, Mum ?" Mrs. Pocket received her property at first with a look of
unutterable surprise, as if she had never seen it before, and then with a laugh
nition, and said, "Thank you,
Flopson," and forgot me, and went on reading.
I found, now I had leisure to
count them, that there were no fewer than six little Pockets present in various
stages of tumbling up. I had scarcely arrived at the total when a seventh was
heard, as in the region of air, wailing dolefully.
" If there ain't Baby !" said
Flopson, appearing to think it most surprising. "Make haste up, Millers !"
Millers, who was the other nurse,
retired into the house, and by degrees the child's wailing was hushed and
stopped, as if it were a young ventriloquist with something in its mouth. Mrs.
Pocket read all the time, and I was curious to know what the book could be.
We were waiting, I supposed, for
Mr. Pocket to come out to us ; at any rate we waited there, and so I had an
opportunity of observing the remarkable family phenomenon that whenever any of
the children strayed near Mrs. Pocket in their play, they always tripped
themselves up and tumbled over her—always very much to her momentary
astonishment and their own more en-during lamentation. I was at a loss to
account for this surprising circumstance, and could not help giving my mind to
speculations about it, until by-and-by Millers came down with the baby, which
baby was handed to Flopson, which Flopson was handing to Mrs. Pocket, when she
too went fairly head-foremost over Mrs. Pocket, baby and all, and was caught by
Herbert and myself.
" Gracious me, Flopson !" said
Mrs. Pocket, "every body's tumbling !"
" Gracious you, indeed, Mum !"
returned Flopson, very red in the face; " what have you got there ?"
"1 got here, Flopson ?" asked
" Why, if it ain't your footstool
!" cried Flop-son. " And if you keep it under your skirts like that, who's to
help tumbling ! Here ! Take the baby, Mum, and give me your book."
Mrs. Pocket acted on the advice,
and danced the infant a little in her lap, while the other children played about
it prettily. This had lasted but a very short time, when Mrs. Pocket issued
summary orders that they were all to be taken into the house for a nap. Thus I
made the second discovery on that first occasion, that the nurture of the little
Pockets consisted of alternately tumbling up and lying down.
Under these circumstances, when
Flopson and Millers had got the children into the house like a little flock of
sheep, and Mr. Pocket came out of it to make my acquaintance, I was not much
surprised to find that Mr. Pocket was a gentleman with a rather perplexed
expression of face, and with his hair disordered on his head, as if he didn't
quite see his way to putting any thing straight.
ON Saturday, February 16, in the
Senate, the Conference Committee on the Deficiency Bill reported that the
Chiriqui appropriation had been stricken out. Discussion ensued on the Dacotah
and Nevada Territorial Bills; then the Tariff was taken up.
Senator Seward moved to strike out all relating
to the warehousing system: agreed to by 25 to 18. In the House, the Senate
Bill to carry into effect the treaties with Granada and Costa Rica was carried.
During the evening session speeches on the crisis were made by Messrs. Smiles,
Burnham, and Waldron.
On Monday, 18th, in the Senate,
an effort was made by Senator
Seward to procure a reduction of the proposed
duty on books, but it was unsuccessful. The principal debate was on the
proposition of the Special Committee to lessen the duty on sugar, and place a
duty of four cents per pound on tea and a half cent on coffee, which was
adopted, 23 to 19. Previous to taking up the Tariff Bill, a resolution from the
Committee on Claims, to repeal the joint resolution in favor of William H.
Degroot, was adopted. This probably finally disposes of the famous Degroot
claim.----In the House, a bill was reported from the Committee on Commerce, and
referred to the Committee of the Whole, making an appropriation for a survey of
the Northern Pacific regions, with a view to ascertaining the practicability of
establishing telegraphic communication with Asia. A bill, supplemental to the
acts of 1795 and 1817, providing for calling out the militia for the defense of
the Union, was reported from the Military Committee by
Mr. Stanton, of Ohio. The
bill provoked considerable opposition, and an effort was made to procure its
rejection; but the House refused to reject it—110 to 67. Mr. Stanton pressed for
the previous question, but the expiration of the morning hour prevented its
being taken. The Report of the Committee of Thirty-three was considered, and an
anti-secession speech was made by Mr. Webster, of Maryland. The bill reported by
Mr. Sherman, from the Committee of Ways and Means, authorizing the issue of
bonds of the denomination of $50, in lieu of a portion of the loan already
authorized, was passed. The Senate bill, organizing the Territorial Government
of Colorado, was taken up under a suspension of the rules, and passed, after
some debate. The House held an evening session, at which, as usual on such
occasions, a number of speeches were made to empty benches.
On Tuesday, 19th, in the Senate,
the Tariff Bill was taken up, and occupied attention until the adjournment—the
special order being postponed. An amendment was adopted which places a duty of
five per cent. on all wool under eighteen cents per pound. A variety of other
amendments were acted upon, but none adopted excepting one to make the value of
Treasury notes to be issued at $50 each. —In the House, Mr. Fenton, of New York,
offered a preamble and resolution proposing to refer the National troubles to a
National Convention, and moved this substitution for the report of the Committee
of Thirty-three. They were laid over under the rule. The bill reported by Mr.
Stanton, authorizing the President to call out militia in certain contingencies,
was then taken up, and a long and excited debate took place upon it. Mr. Stanton
insisted that there was a misapprehension in regard to the bill, and proceeded
to explain its purposes, concluding with it move for the previous question. This
was opposed by a number of members, Northern and Southern, who desired more time
to examine its provisions, in order that they might vote understandingly. A
motion to lay the bill on the table was negatived, 105 to 68; but the expiration
of the morning hour finally stopped the debate, and the matter gave place to the
report of the Committee of Thirty-three. Subsequently the joint resolution from
the Senate, repealing the act f'or the relief of William H. Degroot, was taken
up and passed. The day session was finished with a debate on the Senate's
amendment to the Naval Appropriation Bill, which provides fat the building of
seven additional steam sloops of war. A night session was held for general
On Wednesday, 20th, in the
Senate, the House bill authorizing the Postmaster-General to discontinue the
mail-service in those States where it is liable to be interfered with was
debated. It was opposed by Southern members as a direct attempt to strike at the
seceding States, and as a declaration of insurrection on the part of those