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GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

BY CHARLES DICKENS.
CHAPTER VIII.

MR. PUMBLECHOOK'S premises in the High-
street of the market town, were of a peppercorny
and farinaceous character, as the premises
of a corn-chandler and seedsman should be. It
appeared to me that he must be a very happy
man indeed, to have so many little drawers in
his shop; and I wondered when I peeped into
one or two on the lower tiers, and saw the
tied-up brown paper packets inside, whether the
flower-seeds and bulbs ever wanted of a fine
day to break out of those jails, and bloom.

It was in the early morning after my arrival
that I entertained this speculation. On the
previous night, I had been sent straight to bed in
an attic with a sloping roof, which was so low
in the corner where the bedstead was, that I
calculated the tiles as being within a foot of my
eyebrows. In the same early morning, I
discovered a singular affinity between seeds and
corduroys. Mr. Pumblechook wore corduroys,
and so did his shopman; and somehow, there
was a general air and flavour about the
corduroys, so much in the nature of seeds, and a
general air and flavour about the seeds, so much
in the nature of corduroys, that I hardly knew
which was which. The same opportunity served
me for noticing that Mr. Pumblechook appeared
to conduct his business by looking across the
street at the saddler, who appeared to transact
his business by keeping his eye on the coachmaker,
who appeared to get on in life by putting
his hands in his pockets and contemplating the
baker, who in his turn folded his arms and stared
at the grocer, who stood at his door and yawned
at the chemist. The watchmaker, always poring
over a little desk with a magnifying glass at his
eye, and always inspected by a group in
smock-frocks poring over him through the glass of his
shop-window, seemed to be about the only
person in the High-street whose trade engaged
his attention.

Mr. Pumblechook and I breakfasted at eight
o'clock in the parlour behind the shop, while
the shopman took his mug of tea and hunch
of bread-and-butter on a sack of peas in the
front premises. I considered Mr. Pumblechook
wretched company. Besides being
possessed by my sister's idea that a mortifying and
penitential character ought to be imparted to my
dietbesides giving me as much crumb as
possible in combination with as little butter, and
putting such a quantity of warm water into my
milk that it would have been more candid to
have left the milk out altogetherhis conversation
consisted of nothing but arithmetic. On my
politely bidding him Good morning, he said,
pompously, " Seven times nine, boy!" And how
should I be able to answer, dodged in that way,
in a strange place, on an empty stomach! I was
hungry, but before I had swallowed a morsel,
he began a running sum that lasted all through
the breakfast. "Seven?" "And four?" "And
eight?" "And six?" "And two?" " And ten?"
And so on. And after each figure was disposed
of, it was as much as I could do to get a bite
or a sup, before the next came; while he sat
at his ease guessing nothing, and eating bacon
and hot roll, in (if I may be allowed the expression)
a gorging and gormandising manner.

For such reasons, I was very glad when ten
o'clock came and we started for Miss Havisham's;
though I was not at all at my ease regarding
the manner in which I should acquit myself
under that lady's roof. 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. Some of the
windows had been walled up; of those that
remained, all the lower were rustily barred.
There was a court-yard in front, and that was
barred; so, we had to wait, after ringing the
bell, until some one should come to open it.
While we waited at the gate, I peeped in (even
then Mr. Pumblechook said, " And fourteen?"
but I pretended not to hear him), and saw that
at the side of the house there was a large
brewery; no brewing was going on in it, and
none seemed to have gone on for a long long
time.

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.

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