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GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
CHAPTER XI.

At the appointed time I returned to Miss
Havisham's, and my hesitating ring at the gate
brought out Estella. She locked it after
admitting me, as she had done before, and again
preceded me into the dark passage where her
candle stood. She took no notice of me until
she had the candle in her hand, when she looked
over her shoulder, superciliously saying, "You
are to come this way to-day," and took me to
quite another part of the house.

The passage was a long one and seemed to
pervade the whole square basement of the Manor
House. We traversed but one side of the
square, however, and at the end of it she stopped,
and put her candle down and opened a door.
Here, the daylight reappeared, and I found
myself in a small paved court-yard, the opposite
side of which was formed by a detached
dwelling-house, that looked as if it had once belonged
to the manager or head clerk of the extinct
brewery. There was a clock in the outer wall
of this house. Like the clock in Miss Havisham's
room and like Miss Havisham's watch, it
had stopped at twenty minutes to nine.

We went in at the door, which stood open,
and into a gloomy room with a low ceiling, on
the ground floor at the back. There was some
company in the room, and Estella said to me as
she joined it, "You are to go and stand there,
boy, till you are wanted."   "There,"being the
window, I crossed to it and stood "there,"
in a very uncomfortable state of mind, looking
out.

It opened to the ground, and looked into, a
most miserable corner of the neglected garden,
upon a rank ruin of cabbage-stalks, and one
box-tree that had been clipped round long ago,
like a pudding, and had a new growth at the
top of it, out of shape and of a different colour,
as if that part of the pudding had stuck to the
saucepan and got burnt. This was my homely
thought, as I contemplated the box-tree. There
had been some light snow over-night, and it lay
nowhere else to my knowledge; but, it had not
quite melted from the cold shadow of this bit
of garden, and the wind caught it up in little
eddies and threw it at the window, as if it pelted
me for coming there

I divined that my coming had stopped
conversation in the room, and that its other
occupants were looking at me. I could see nothing
of the room except the shining of the fire in
the window-glass, but I stiffened in all my joints
with the consciousness that I was under close
inspection.

There were three ladies in the room and one
gentleman. Before I had been standing at the
window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to
me that they were all toadies and humbugs, but
that each of them pretended not to know that
the others were toadies and humbugs: because
the admission that he or she did know it, would
have made him or her out to be a toady and
humbug.

They all had a listless and dreary air of waiting
somebody's pleasure, and the most talkative
of the ladies had to speak quite rigidly to
repress a yawn. This lady, whose name was
Camilla, very much reminded me of my sister,
with the difference that she was older and (as I
found when I caught sight of her) of a blunter
cast of features. Indeed, when I knew her
better I began to think it was a Mercy she had
any features at all, so very blank and high was
the dead wall of her face.

"Poor dear soul!" said this lady, with an
abruptness of manner quite my sister's.
"Nobody's enemy but his own!"

"It would be much more commendable to be
somebody else's enemy," said the gentleman;
"far more natural."

"Cousin John," observed another lady, "we
are to love our neighbour."

"Sarah Pocket," returned Cousin John, "if
a man is not his own neighbour, who is?"

Miss Pocket laughed, and Camilla laughed
and said (checking a yawn), "The idea!" But
I thought they seemed to think it rather a good
idea too. The other lady who had not spoken
yet, said gravely and emphatically, "Very true!"

"Poor soul!" Camilla presently went on (I
knew they had all been looking at me in the
mean time), "he is so very strange!  Would
any one believe that when Tom's wife died, he
actually could not be induced to see the importance
of the children's having the deepest of
trimmings to their mourning? 'Good Lord!'
says he, 'Camilla, what can it signify so long as
the poor bereaved little things are in black?'
So like Matthew! The idea!"

"Good points in him; good points in him,"

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