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me cry?" said I. "No," said she, and shook her head and looked about her. I
verily believe that her not remembering and not minding in the least, made me
cry again, inwardly - and that is the sharpest crying of all.
"You must know," said Estella, condescending to me as a brilliant and
beautiful woman might, "that I have no heart - if that has anything to do with
I got through some jargon to the effect that I took the liberty of doubting
that. That I knew better. That there could be no such beauty without it.
"Oh! I have a heart to be stabbed in or shot in, I have no doubt," said
Estella, "and, of course, if it ceased to beat I should cease to be. But you
know what I mean. I have no softness there, no - sympathy - sentiment -
What was it that was borne in upon my mind when she stood still and looked
attentively at me? Anything that I had seen in Miss Havisham? No. In some of
her looks and gestures there was that tinge of resemblance to Miss Havisham
which may often be noticed to have been acquired by children, from grown person
with whom they have been much associated and secluded, and which, when childhood
is passed, will produce a remarkable occasional likeness of expression between
faces that are otherwise quite different. And yet I could not trace this to
Miss Havisham. I looked again, and though she was still looking at me, the
suggestion was gone.
What was it?
"I am serious," said Estella, not so much with a frown (for her brow was
smooth) as with a darkening of her face; "if we are to be thrown much together,
you had better believe it at once. No!" imperiously stopping me as I opened my
lips. "I have not bestowed my tenderness anywhere. I have never had any such
In another moment we were in the brewery so long disused, and she pointed
to the high gallery where I had seen her going out on that same first day, and
told me she remembered to have been up there, and to have seen me standing
scared below. As my eyes followed her white hand, again the same dim suggestion
that I could not possibly grasp, crossed me. My involuntary start occasioned
her to lay her hand upon my arm. Instantly the ghost passed once more, and was
What was it?
"What is the matter?" asked Estella. "Are you scared again?"
"I should be, if I believed what you said just now," I replied, to turn it
"Then you don't? Very well. It is said, at any rate. Miss Havisham will
soon be expecting you at your old post, though I think that might be laid aside
now, with other old belongings. Let us make one more round of the garden, and
then go in. Come! You shall not shed tears for my cruelty to-day; you shall be
my Page, and give me your shoulder."
Her handsome dress had trailed upon the ground. She held it in one hand
now, and with the other lightly touched my shoulder as we walked. We walked
round the ruined garden twice or thrice more, and it was all in bloom for me.
If the green and yellow growth of weed in the chinks of the old wall had been
the most precious flowers that ever blew, it could not have been more cherished
in my remembrance.
There was no discrepancy of years between us, to remove her far from me; we
were of nearly the same age, though of course the age told for more in her case
than in mine; but the air of inaccessibility which her beauty and her manner
gave her, tormented me in the midst of my delight, and at the height of the
assurance I felt that our patroness had chosen us for one another. Wretched
At last we went back into the house, and there I heard, with surprise, that
my guardian had come down to see Miss Havisham on business, and would come back
to dinner. The old wintry branches of chandeliers in the room where the
mouldering table was spread, had been lighted while we were out, and Miss
Havisham was in her chair and waiting for me.
It was like pushing the chair itself back into the past, when we began the
old slow circuit round about the ashes of the bridal feast. But, in the
funereal room, with that figure of the grave fallen back in the chair fixing its
eyes upon her, Estella looked more bright and beautiful than before, and I was
under stronger enchantment.
The time so melted away, that our early dinner-hour drew close at hand, and
Estella left us to prepare herself. We had stopped near the centre of the long
table, and Miss Havisham, with one of her withered arms stretched out of the
chair, rested that clenched hand upon the yellow cloth. As Estella looked back
over her shoulder before going out at the door, Miss Havisham kissed that hand
to her, with a ravenous intensity that was of its kind quite dreadful.
Then, Estella being gone and we two left alone, she turned to me, and said
in a whisper:
"Is she beautiful, graceful, well-grown? Do you admire her?"
"Everybody must who sees her, Miss Havisham."
She drew an arm round my neck, and drew my head close down to hers as she
sat in the chair. "Love her, love her, love her! How does she use you?"
Before I could answer (if I could have answered so difficult a question at
all), she repeated, "Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love
her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces - and as
it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper - love her, love her, love her!"
Never had I seen such passionate eagerness as was joined to her utterance
of these words. I could feel the muscles of the thin arm round my neck, swell
with the vehemence that possessed her.
"Hear me, Pip! I adopted her to be loved. I bred her and educated her, to
be loved. I developed her into what she is, that she might be loved. Love
She said the word often enough, and there could be no doubt that she meant
to say it; but if the often repeated word had been hate instead of love -
despair - revenge - dire death - it could not have sounded from her lips more
like a curse.
"I'll tell you," said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, "what
real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter
submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world,
giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter - as I did!"
When she came to that, and to a wild cry that followed that, I caught her
round the waist. For she rose up in the chair, in her shroud of a dress, and
struck at the air as if she would as soon have struck herself against the wall
and fallen dead.
All this passed in a few seconds. As I drew her down into her chair, I was
conscious of a scent that I knew, and turning, saw my guardian in the room.
He always carried (I have not yet mentioned it, I think) a
pocket-handkerchief of rich silk and of imposing proportions, which was of great
value to him in his profession. I have seen him so terrify a client or a
witness by ceremoniously unfolding this pocket-handkerchief as if he were
immediately going to blow his nose, and then pausing, as if he knew he should
not have time to do it before such client or witness committed himself, that the
self-committal has followed directly, quite as a matter of course. When I saw
him in the room, he had this expressive pockethandkerchief in both hands, and
was looking at us. On meeting my eye, he said plainly, by a momentary and
silent pause in that attitude, "Indeed? Singular!" and then put the
handkerchief to its right use with wonderful effect.
Miss Havisham had seen him as soon as I, and was (like everybody else)
afraid of him. She made a strong attempt to compose herself, and stammered that
he was as punctual as ever.
"As punctual as ever," he repeated, coming up to us. "(How do you do, Pip?
Shall I give you a ride, Miss Havisham? Once round?) And so you are here,
I told him when I had arrived, and how Miss Havisham had wished me to come
and see Estella. To which he replied, "Ah! Very fine young lady!" Then he
pushed Miss Havisham in her chair before him, with one of his large hands, and
put the other in his trousers-pocket as if the pocket were full of secrets.
"Well, Pip! How often have you seen Miss Estella before?" said he, when he
came to a stop.
"Ah! How many times? Ten thousand times?"
"Oh! Certainly not so many."
"Jaggers," interposed Miss Havisham, much to my relief; "leave my Pip
alone, and go with him to your dinner."
He complied, and we groped our way down the dark stairs together. While we
were still on our way to those detached apartments across the paved yard at the
back, he asked me how often I had seen Miss Havisham eat and drink; offering me
a breadth of choice, as usual, between a hundred times and once.
I considered, and said, "Never."
"And never will, Pip," he retorted, with a frowning smile. "She has never
allowed herself to be seen doing either, since she lived this present life of
hers. She wanders about in the night, and then lays hands on such food as she
"Pray, sir," said I, "may I ask you a question?"
"You may," said he, "and I may decline to answer it. Put your question."
"Estella's name. Is it Havisham or - ?" I had nothing to add.
"Or what?" said he.
"Is it Havisham?"
"It is Havisham."
This brought us to the dinner-table, where she and Sarah Pocket awaited us.
Mr. Jaggers presided, Estella sat opposite to him, I faced my green and yellow
friend. We dined very well, and were waited on by a maid-servant whom I had
never seen in all my comings and goings, but who, for anything I know, had been
in that mysterious house the whole time. After dinner, a bottle of choice old
port was placed before my guardian (he was evidently well acquainted with the
vintage), and the two ladies left us.
Anything to equal the determined reticence of Mr. Jaggers under that roof,
I never saw elsewhere, even in him. He kept his very looks to himself, and
scarcely directed his eyes to Estella's face once during dinner. When she spoke
to him, he listened, and in due course answered, but never looked at her, that I
could see. On the other hand, she often looked at him, with interest and
curiosity, if not distrust, but his face never, showed the least consciousness.
Throughout dinner he took a dry delight in making Sarah Pocket greener and
yellower, by often referring in conversation with me to my expectations; but
here, again, he showed no consciousness, and even made it appear that he
extorted - and even did extort, though I don't know how - those references out
of my innocent self.
And when he and I were left alone together, he sat with an air upon him of
general lying by in consequence of information he possessed, that really was too
much for me. He cross-examined his very wine when he had nothing else in hand.
He held it between himself and the candle, tasted the port, rolled it in his
mouth, swallowed it, looked at his glass again, smelt the port, tried it, drank
it, filled again, and cross-examined the glass again, until I was as nervous as
if I had known the wine to be telling him something to my disadvantage. Three
or four times I feebly thought I would start conversation; but whenever he saw
me going to ask him anything, he looked at me with his glass in his hand, and
rolling his wine about in his mouth, as if requesting me to take notice that it
was of no use, for he couldn't answer.
I think Miss Pocket was conscious that the sight of me involved her in the
danger of being goaded to madness, and perhaps tearing off her cap - which was a
very hideous one, in the nature of a muslin mop - and strewing the ground with
her hair - which assuredly had never grown on her head. She did not appear when
we afterwards went up to Miss Havisham's room, and we four played at whist. In
the interval, Miss Havisham, in a fantastic way, had put some of the most
beautiful jewels from her dressing-table into Estella's hair, and about her
bosom and arms; and I saw even my guardian look at her from under his thick
eyebrows, and raise them a little, when her loveliness was before him, with
those rich flushes of glitter and colour in it.
Of the manner and extent to which he took our trumps into custody, and came
out with mean little cards at the ends of hands, before which the glory of our
Kings and Queens was utterly abased, I say nothing; nor, of the feeling that I
had, respecting his looking upon us personally in the light of three very
obvious and poor riddles that he had found out long ago. What I suffered from,
was the incompatibility between his cold presence and my feelings towards
Estella. It was not that I knew I could never bear to speak to him about her,
that I knew I could never bear to hear him creak his boots at her, that I knew I
could never bear to see him wash his hands of her; it was, that my admiration
should be within a foot or two of him - it was, that my feelings should be in
the same place with him - that, was the agonizing circumstance.
We played until nine o'clock, and then it was arranged that when Estella
came to London I should be forewarned of her coming and should meet her at the
coach; and then I took leave of her, and touched her and left her.
My guardian lay at the Boar in the next room to mine. Far into the night,
Miss Havisham's words, "Love her, love her, love her!" sounded in my ears. I