I just got back from tea with one of my dearest friends. I usually go to see her at her home because she doesn’t get out much. She is so avant garde, in everything she does – he outfits, her décor, her menus – why I just never know what to expect when I go over to Satis House and am always so surprised that it is exactly the way I remembered it – like nothing changed at all.
Miss Havisham and I have known each other for ages. Apparently she has been alive since the dawn of man so that is not really saying too much. But I am among her closest friends, I know because she always tells me that. That is just about all she tells me about herself but she says it all the time; I mean she doesn’t stop saying, some days. Usually she likes to talk about her daughter Estella and her new protégé Pip, which I just giggle every time I hear his name. She’ll say “Pip came round yesterday?” and I will say “Oh, did Pip?” and a titter will escape. And then she will say, “Yes, I believed he skipped here, Pip did.” And I will say “I hope Pip wasn’t pooped when he arrived” and she will say “Well he was, until I gave Pip a pop.” And by then we are laughing so hard we have tears in our eyes. Miss Havisham has a most unique laugh; it is a low, guttural kind of guffaw at first and then builds to a high-pitched scream in staccato. Her laughing just makes me laugh more which sends her into convulsions and we are so far gone the staff race in to see if Miss Havisham has lit herself on fire again. To her credit, she has only done that twice, I don’t know why they are so fussy.
Miss Havisham is always game for anything. One time, I was telling her my latest Emma Woodhouse is a big, dumb busybody story and Miss Havisham suggested I drop water from buckets out my upstairs window on her head. Well, obviously I can’t do this but Miss Havisham took me upstairs to practice. She had her lawyer walk back and forth on the drive as we pelted him with any liquid we could get our hands on. I had to call a halt to our frivolity when the bucket of cream ran out and Miss Havisham opened a vein in her excitement – she is so committed to her joy. I just wish Pip were there, he would have been easier to hit.
I had Miss Havisham to Thornfield once but it didn’t go quite as I had hoped. She immediately ascended my grand staircase only to descend it at a slow methodical pace that made her eyes spin in opposite directions. It was a neat trick but when she got to the bottom, she said my stairs lacked the proper bounce and seemed a bit disappointed in me. After the years of regaling her with tales of the first Mrs. Rochester, she simply demanded to meet her. I was thrilled with the possibilities of this encounter and asked what we should bring. Miss Havisham suggested we round up all the eggs and rotten vegetables we could find. Armed with a crate of food in various states of putridity, we went into the attic and I introduced Miss Havisham to Bertha. What I thought would be Bertha’s undoing became a meeting of the minds. They had a long, if indiscernible, chat about men and their ilk and made frittatas out of the raw eggs and moldy produce. I had to practically pull Miss Havisham by the arm to get out of there, which can be dodgy with Miss Havisham, I worry it might come off in my hand. I’m sorry but Bertha can’t sink her claws into everything I have; Mr. Rochester is enough.
I must cut this short, as I am terribly peckish. Although Miss Havisham always puts out the same lavish spread every time, it is literally the same lavish spread every time and my teeth can’t cut through the calcification. I dropped a roll on my toe one time and was in a cast for a month so I beg off before the offer of lunch comes up.