Charles Dickens, Great Expectations: Ch. 33

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It was impossible for me to avoid seeing that she cared to attract me; that she made herself winning, and would have won me even if the task had needed pains. Yet this made me none the happier, for even if she had not taken that tone of our being disposed of by others, I should have felt that she held my heart in her hand because she wilfully chose to do it, and not because it would have wrung any tenderness in her to crush it and throw it away.

When we passed through Hammersmith, I showed her where Mr. Matthew Pocket lived, and said it was no great way from Richmond, and that I hoped I should see her sometimes.

"O yes, you are to see me; you are to come when you think proper; you are to be mentioned to the family; indeed you are already mentioned."

I inquired was it a large household she was going to be a member of?

"No; there are only two; mother and daughter. The mother is a lady of some station, though not averse to increasing her income."

"I wonder Miss Havisham could part with you again so soon."

"It is a part of Miss Havisham's plans for me, Pip," said Estella, with a sigh, as if she were tired; "I am to write to her constantly and see her regularly and report how I go on,—I and the jewels,—for they are nearly all mine now."

It was the first time she had ever called me by my name. Of course she did so purposely, and knew that I should treasure it up.

We came to Richmond all too soon, and our destination there was a house by the green,h—a staid old house, where hoops and powder and patches, embroidered coats, rolled stockings, ruffles and swords,h had had their court days many a time. Some ancient trees before the house were still cut into fashions as formal and unnaturalh as the hoops and wigs and stiff skirts; but their own allotted places in the great procession of the dead were not far off, and they would soon drop into them and go the silent way of the rest.

A bell with an old voice—which I dare say in its time had often said to the house, Here is the green farthingale,w Here is the diamond-hilted sword, Here are the shoes with red heels and the blue solitaireh—sounded gravely in the moonlight, and two cherry-colored maids came fluttering out to receive Estella. The doorway soon absorbed her boxes, and she gave me her hand and a smile, and said good night, and was absorbed likewise.w And still I stood looking at the house, thinking how happy I should be if I lived there with her, and knowing that I never was happy with her, but always miserable.

I got into the carriage to be taken back to Hammersmith, and I got in with a bad heart-ache, and I got out with a worse heart-ache. At our own door, I found little Jane Pocket coming home from a little party escorted by her little lover; and I envied her little lover, in spite of his being subject to Flopson.

Mr. Pocket was out lecturing; for, he was a most delightful lecturer on domestic economy,h and his treatises on the management of children and servants were considered the very best text-books on those themes. But Mrs. Pocket was at home, and was in a little difficulty, on account of the baby's having been accommodated with a needle-case to keep him quiet during the unaccountable absence (with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles were missing than it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a patient of such tender years either to apply externally or to take as a tonic.

Mr. Pocket being justly celebrated for giving most excellent practical advice, and for having a clear and sound perception of things and a highly judicious mind, I had some notion in my heart-ache of begging him to accept my confidence. But happening to look up at Mrs. Pocket as she sat reading her book of dignities after prescribing Bed as a sovereign remedy for baby, I thought—Well—No, I wouldn't.

X [h] a house by the green,


Richmond had been for three centuries an elegant borough, owing to Richmond Palace. The homes in the palace's vicinity were owned by courtiers and state officials. Richmond Green was and still is  a spacious field bordered by tasteful, affluent homes.

X [h] where hoops and powder and patches, embroider…


Items connected with 17th- and early 18th-c. dress and fashion. The hoops to hold out the dress, the powder for hair and faces, the patches of small bits of black silk or some preparation that highlighted the face as a beauty mark or, alternatively, concealed a pock mark or evidence of a sexually transmitted disease. 

X [h] were still cut into fashions as formal and un…

Daily Life

It was fashionable among some landscape gardeners in the later 18th c. to torture trees into various "unnatural" shapes. Jane Austen comments derisively on the practice.   

X [w] green farthingale,


"A frame-work of hoops, usually of whalebone, worked into some kind of cloth [here green], formerly used for extending the skirts of women's dresses; a hooped petticoat" (OED)

X [h] Here are the shoes with red heels and the blu…


The blue solitaire is confusing, for a solitaire refers generally to a large, precious stone. This, on a shoe, would be odd. Alternatively a solitaire refers to "A loose neck-tie of black silk or broad ribbon worn by men in the 18th century" (OED). The syntax—the repeated "Here is"—suggests the red shoe and blue stone comprise one thing—but the neck-tie is far more credible. 

X [w] was absorbed likewise.

Literally, with the closing of the door, absorbed into the night.

X [h] domestic economy,

Not simply the financial arrangements of a household but its entire management. The word "economy" derives from the Greek word for home.