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For such reasons, I was very glad when ten o’clock came and we started for Miss Havisham’s. Within a quarter of an hour we came to Miss Havisham’s house, which was of old brick, and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it. While we waited at the gate, Mr. Pumblechook said, “And fourteen?” but I pretended not to hear him.

A window was raised, and a clear voice demanded “What name?” To which my conductor replied, “Pumblechook.” The voice returned, “Quite right,” and the window was shut again, and a young lady came across the courtyard, with keys in her hand.

“This,” said Mr. Pumblechook, “is Pip.”

“This is Pip, is it?” returned the young lady, who was very pretty and seemed very proud; “come in, Pip.”

Mr. Pumblechook was coming in also, when she stopped him with the gate.

“Oh!” she said. “Did you wish to see Miss Havisham?”

“If Miss Havisham wished to see me,” returned Mr. Pumblechook, discomfited.

“Ah!” said the girl; “but you see she didn’t.”

She said it so finally, that Mr. Pumblechook could not protest. I was afraid that he would come ask me through the gate, “And sixteen?” But he didn’t.

My young conductress locked the gate, and we went across the courtyard. It was paved and clean, but grass was growing in every crevice. The cold wind seemed to blow colder there than outside the gate.

She saw me looking at it, and she said, “Now, boy, you are at the Manor House.”

“Is that the name of this house, miss?”

“One of its names, boy.”

She called me “boy” very often, and with a carelessness that was far from complimentary, but she was of about my own age. She seemed much older than I, of course, being a girl, and beautiful and self-possessed.

We went into the house by a side door, the great front entrance had two chains across it outside – and the first thing I noticed was, that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there.

At last we came to the door of a room, and she said, “Go in.”

I answered, “After you, miss.”

To this she returned: “Don’t be ridiculous, boy; I am not going in.” And scornfully walked away, and – what was worse – took the candle with her.

This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, I knocked and entered, and found myself in a pretty large room, well lighted with wax candles. No glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it. It was a dressing-room, as I supposed from the furniture. But prominent in it was a draped table with a gilded looking-glass, and that I made out at first sight to be a fine lady’s dressing-table.

In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.

She was dressed in rich materials – satins, and lace, and silks – all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table.

“Who is it?” said the lady at the table.

“Pip, ma’am.”

“Pip?”

“Mr. Pumblechook’s boy, ma’am. Come – to play.”

“Come nearer; let me look at you. Come close.”

It saw that her watch had stopped at twenty minutes to nine, and that a clock in the room had stopped at twenty minutes to nine.

“Look at me,” said Miss Havisham. “You are not afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since you were born?”

“No.”

“Do you know what I touch here?” she said, laying her hands, one upon the other, on her left side.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“What do I touch?”

“Your heart.”

“Broken!”

She uttered the word with an eager look, and with strong emphasis, and with a weird smile.

“I am tired,” said Miss Havisham. “I want diversion. Play. I sometimes have sick fancies, and I have a sick fancy that I want to see some play. There, there!” with an impatient movement of the fingers of her right hand; “play, play, play!”

I stood looking at Miss Havisham.

“Are you sullen and obstinate?”

“No, ma’am, I am very sorry for you, and very sorry I can’t play just now. It’s so new here, and so strange, and so fine – and melancholy —.” I stopped, fearing I might say too much, or had already said it, and we took another look at each other.

Before she spoke again, she turned her eyes from me, and looked at the dress she wore, and at the dressing-table, and finally at herself in the looking-glass.

“So new to him,” she muttered, “so old to me; so strange to him, so familiar to me; so melancholy to both of us! Call Estella.[32]

As she was still looking at the reflection of herself, I thought she was still talking to herself, and kept quiet.

“Call Estella,” she repeated, flashing a look at me. “You can do that. Call Estella. At the door.”

To stand in the dark and to roar out Estella’s name, was almost as bad as playing to order.[33] But she answered at last, and her light came along the dark passage like a star.

Miss Havisham beckoned her to come close, and took up a jewel from the table “Your own, one day, my dear, and you will use it well. Let me see you play cards with this boy.”

“With this boy? Why, he is a common laboring boy![34]

Miss Havisham answered, “Well? You can break his heart.”

“What do you play, boy?” asked Estella of myself, with the greatest disdain.

“Nothing but beggar my neighbor,[35] miss.”

“Beggar him,[36]” said Miss Havisham to Estella. So we sat down to cards.

It was then I began to understand that everything in the room had stopped, like the watch and the clock, a long time ago. I noticed that Miss Havisham put down the jewel exactly on the spot from which she had taken it up. As Estella dealt the cards, I glanced at the dressing-table again, and saw that the shoe upon it, once white, now yellow. I glanced down at the foot from which the shoe was absent, and saw that the silk stocking on it, once white, now yellow, had been ragged. So the lady sat, corpse-like, as we played at cards.

“What coarse hands he has, this boy!” said Estella with disdain, before our first game was out. “And what thick boots!”

Her contempt for me was very strong. She won the game, and I dealt. She denounced me for a stupid, clumsy laboring-boy.

“You say nothing of her,” remarked Miss Havisham to me. “She says many hard things of you, but you say nothing of her. What do you think of her?”

“I don’t like to say,” I stammered.

“Tell me in my ear,” said Miss Havisham, bending down.

“I think she is very proud,” I replied, in a whisper.

“Anything else?”

“I think she is very pretty.”

“Anything else?”

“I think she is very insulting.”

“Anything else?”

“I think I should like to go home.”

“And never see her again, though she is so pretty?”

“I am not sure that I shouldn’t like to see her again, but I should like to go home now.”

“You shall go soon,” said Miss Havisham, aloud. “Play the game out.[37]

I played the game to an end with Estella, and she beggared me. She threw the cards down on the table.

“When shall I have you here again?” said Miss Havisham. “Let me think.”

I was beginning to remind her that today was Wednesday.

“I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks of the year. Come again after six days. You hear?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat. Go, Pip.”

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32

Estella – Эстелла

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33

playing to order – игра по заказу

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34

a common laboring boy – самый обыкновенный деревенский мальчишка

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35

Nothing but beggar my neighbor. – Ни во что другое, как кроме в «дурачка».

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36

Beggar him. – Оставь его в дураках.

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37

Play the game out. – Доиграй до конца.

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