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- Great Expectations - 130/210 -


If that staid old house near the Green at Richmond should ever come

to be haunted when I am dead, it will be haunted, surely, by my

ghost. O the many, many nights and days through which the unquiet

spirit within me haunted that house when Estella lived there! Let

my body be where it would, my spirit was always wandering,

wandering, wandering, about that house.

The lady with whom Estella was placed, Mrs. Brandley by name, was a

widow, with one daughter several years older than Estella. The

mother looked young, and the daughter looked old; the mother's

complexion was pink, and the daughter's was yellow; the mother set

up for frivolity, and the daughter for theology. They were in what

is called a good position, and visited, and were visited by,

numbers of people. Little, if any, community of feeling subsisted

between them and Estella, but the understanding was established

that they were necessary to her, and that she was necessary to

them. Mrs. Brandley had been a friend of Miss Havisham's before the

time of her seclusion.

In Mrs. Brandley's house and out of Mrs. Brandley's house, I suffered

every kind and degree of torture that Estella could cause me. The

nature of my relations with her, which placed me on terms of

familiarity without placing me on terms of favour, conduced to my

distraction. She made use of me to tease other admirers, and she

turned the very familiarity between herself and me, to the account

of putting a constant slight on my devotion to her. If I had been

her secretary, steward, half-brother, poor relation - if I had been

a younger brother of her appointed husband - I could not have

seemed to myself, further from my hopes when I was nearest to her.

The privilege of calling her by her name and hearing her call me by

mine, became under the circumstances an aggravation of my trials;

and while I think it likely that it almost maddened her other

lovers, I know too certainly that it almost maddened me.

She had admirers without end. No doubt my jealousy made an admirer

of every one who went near her; but there were more than enough of

them without that.

I saw her often at Richmond, I heard of her often in town, and I

used often to take her and the Brandleys on the water; there were

picnics, fete days, plays, operas, concerts, parties, all sorts of

pleasures, through which I pursued her - and they were all miseries

to me. I never had one hour's happiness in her society, and yet my

mind all round the four-and-twenty hours was harping on the

happiness of having her with me unto death.

Throughout this part of our intercourse - and it lasted, as will

presently be seen, for what I then thought a long time - she

habitually reverted to that tone which expressed that our

association was forced upon us. There were other times when she

would come to a sudden check in this tone and in all her many

tones, and would seem to pity me.

"Pip, Pip," she said one evening, coming to such a check, when we

sat apart at a darkening window of the house in Richmond; "will you

never take warning?"

"Of what?"

"Of me."

"Warning not to be attracted by you, do you mean, Estella?"

"Do I mean! If you don't know what I mean, you are blind."

I should have replied that Love was commonly reputed blind, but for

the reason that I always was restrained - and this was not the

least of my miseries - by a feeling that it was ungenerous to press

myself upon her, when she knew that she could not choose but obey

Miss Havisham. My dread always was, that this knowledge on her part

laid me under a heavy disadvantage with her pride, and made me the

subject of a rebellious struggle in her bosom.

"At any rate," said I, "I have no warning given me just now, for

you wrote to me to come to you, this time."

"That's true," said Estella, with a cold careless smile that always

chilled me.

After looking at the twilight without, for a little while, she went

on to say:

"The time has come round when Miss Havisham wishes to have me for a

day at Satis. You are to take me there, and bring me back, if you

will. She would rather I did not travel alone, and objects to

receiving my maid, for she has a sensitive horror of being talked

of by such people. Can you take me?"

"Can I take you, Estella!"

"You can then? The day after to-morrow, if you please. You are to

pay all charges out of my purse, You hear the condition of your

going?"

"And must obey," said I.

This was all the preparation I received for that visit, or for

others like it: Miss Havisham never wrote to me, nor had I ever so

much as seen her handwriting. We went down on the next day but one,


Great Expectations - 130/210

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