Betimes in the morning I was up and out. It was too early yet to go to Mis_avisham’s, so I loitered into the country on Miss Havisham’s side o_own,—which was not Joe’s side; I could go there to-morrow,—thinking about m_atroness, and painting brilliant pictures of her plans for me.
She had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not fai_o be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to restor_he desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clock_-going and the cold hearths a-blazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy th_ermin,—in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance, an_arry the Princess. I had stopped to look at the house as I passed; and it_eared red brick walls, blocked windows, and strong green ivy clasping eve_he stacks of chimneys with its twigs and tendons, as if with sinewy old arms, had made up a rich attractive mystery, of which I was the hero. Estella wa_he inspiration of it, and the heart of it, of course. But, though she ha_aken such strong possession of me, though my fancy and my hope were so se_pon her, though her influence on my boyish life and character had been all- powerful, I did not, even that romantic morning, invest her with an_ttributes save those she possessed. I mention this in this place, of a fixe_urpose, because it is the clew by which I am to be followed into my poo_abyrinth. According to my experience, the conventional notion of a love_annot be always true. The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estell_ith the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible.
Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that _oved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; _oved her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence i_estraining me than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.
I so shaped out my walk as to arrive at the gate at my old time. When I ha_ung at the bell with an unsteady hand, I turned my back upon the gate, whil_ tried to get my breath and keep the beating of my heart moderately quiet. _eard the side-door open, and steps come across the courtyard; but I pretende_ot to hear, even when the gate swung on its rusty hinges.
Being at last touched on the shoulder, I started and turned. I started muc_ore naturally then, to find myself confronted by a man in a sober gray dress.
The last man I should have expected to see in that place of porter at Mis_avisham’s door.
“Ah, young master, there’s more changes than yours. But come in, come in. It’_pposed to my orders to hold the gate open.”
I entered and he swung it, and locked it, and took the key out. “Yes!” sai_e, facing round, after doggedly preceding me a few steps towards the house.
“Here I am!”
“How did you come here?”
“I come her,” he retorted, “on my legs. I had my box brought alongside me in _arrow.”
“Are you here for good?”
“I ain’t here for harm, young master, I suppose?”
I was not so sure of that. I had leisure to entertain the retort in my mind, while he slowly lifted his heavy glance from the pavement, up my legs an_rms, to my face.
“Then you have left the forge?” I said.
“Do this look like a forge?” replied Orlick, sending his glance all round hi_ith an air of injury. “Now, do it look like it?”
I asked him how long he had left Gargery’s forge?
“One day is so like another here,” he replied, “that I don’t know withou_asting it up. However, I come here some time since you left.”
“I could have told you that, Orlick.”
“Ah!” said he, dryly. “But then you’ve got to be a scholar.”
By this time we had come to the house, where I found his room to be one jus_ithin the side-door, with a little window in it looking on the courtyard. I_ts small proportions, it was not unlike the kind of place usually assigned t_ gate-porter in Paris. Certain keys were hanging on the wall, to which he no_dded the gate key; and his patchwork-covered bed was in a little inne_ivision or recess. The whole had a slovenly, confined, and sleepy look, lik_ cage for a human dormouse; while he, looming dark and heavy in the shadow o_ corner by the window, looked like the human dormouse for whom it was fitte_p,—as indeed he was.
“I never saw this room before,” I remarked; “but there used to be no Porte_ere.”
“No,” said he; “not till it got about that there was no protection on th_remises, and it come to be considered dangerous, with convicts and Tag an_ag and Bobtail going up and down. And then I was recommended to the place a_ man who could give another man as good as he brought, and I took it. It’_asier than bellowsing and hammering.—That’s loaded, that is.”
My eye had been caught by a gun with a brass-bound stock over the chimney- piece, and his eye had followed mine.
“Well,” said I, not desirous of more conversation, “shall I go up to Mis_avisham?”
“Burn me, if I know!” he retorted, first stretching himself and then shakin_imself; “my orders ends here, young master. I give this here bell a rap wit_his here hammer, and you go on along the passage till you meet somebody.”
“I am expected, I believe?”
“Burn me twice over, if I can say!” said he.
Upon that, I turned down the long passage which I had first trodden in m_hick boots, and he made his bell sound. At the end of the passage, while th_ell was still reverberating, I found Sarah Pocket, who appeared to have no_ecome constitutionally green and yellow by reason of me.
“Oh!” said she. “You, is it, Mr. Pip?”
“It is, Miss Pocket. I am glad to tell you that Mr. Pocket and family are al_ell.”
“Are they any wiser?” said Sarah, with a dismal shake of the head; “they ha_etter be wiser, than well. Ah, Matthew, Matthew! You know your way, sir?”
Tolerably, for I had gone up the staircase in the dark, many a time. _scended it now, in lighter boots than of yore, and tapped in my old way a_he door of Miss Havisham’s room. “Pip’s rap,” I heard her say, immediately; “come in, Pip.”
She was in her chair near the old table, in the old dress, with her two hand_rossed on her stick, her chin resting on them, and her eyes on the fire.
Sitting near her, with the white shoe, that had never been worn, in her hand, and her head bent as she looked at it, was an elegant lady whom I had neve_een.
“Come in, Pip,” Miss Havisham continued to mutter, without looking round o_p; “come in, Pip, how do you do, Pip? so you kiss my hand as if I were _ueen, eh?—Well?”
She looked up at me suddenly, only moving her eyes, and repeated in a griml_layful manner,—
“I heard, Miss Havisham,” said I, rather at a loss, “that you were so kind a_o wish me to come and see you, and I came directly.”
The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly a_e, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella’s eyes. But she was so muc_hanged, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all thing_inning admiration, had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to hav_ade none. I fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back int_he coarse and common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity tha_ame upon me, and the inaccessibility that came about her!
She gave me her hand. I stammered something about the pleasure I felt i_eeing her again, and about my having looked forward to it, for a long, lon_ime.
“Do you find her much changed, Pip?” asked Miss Havisham, with her greed_ook, and striking her stick upon a chair that stood between them, as a sig_o me to sit down there.
“When I came in, Miss Havisham, I thought there was nothing of Estella in th_ace or figure; but now it all settles down so curiously into the old—”
“What? You are not going to say into the old Estella?” Miss Havisha_nterrupted. “She was proud and insulting, and you wanted to go away from her.
Don’t you remember?”
I said confusedly that that was long ago, and that I knew no better then, an_he like. Estella smiled with perfect composure, and said she had no doubt o_y having been quite right, and of her having been very disagreeable.
“Is he changed?” Miss Havisham asked her.
“Very much,” said Estella, looking at me.
“Less coarse and common?” said Miss Havisham, playing with Estella’s hair.
Estella laughed, and looked at the shoe in her hand, and laughed again, an_ooked at me, and put the shoe down. She treated me as a boy still, but sh_ured me on.
We sat in the dreamy room among the old strange influences which had s_rought upon me, and I learnt that she had but just come home from France, an_hat she was going to London. Proud and wilful as of old, she had brough_hose qualities into such subjection to her beauty that it was impossible an_ut of nature— or I thought so—to separate them from her beauty. Truly it wa_mpossible to dissociate her presence from all those wretched hankerings afte_oney and gentility that had disturbed my boyhood, —from all those ill- regulated aspirations that had first made me ashamed of home and Joe,—from al_hose visions that had raised her face in the glowing fire, struck it out o_he iron on the anvil, extracted it from the darkness of night to look in a_he wooden window of the forge, and flit away. In a word, it was impossibl_or me to separate her, in the past or in the present, from the innermost lif_f my life.
It was settled that I should stay there all the rest of the day, and return t_he hotel at night, and to London to-morrow. When we had conversed for _hile, Miss Havisham sent us two out to walk in the neglected garden: on ou_oming in by and by, she said, I should wheel her about a little, as in time_f yore.
So, Estella and I went out into the garden by the gate through which I ha_trayed to my encounter with the pale young gentleman, now Herbert; I, trembling in spirit and worshipping the very hem of her dress; she, quit_omposed and most decidedly not worshipping the hem of mine. As we drew nea_o the place of encounter, she stopped and said,—
“I must have been a singular little creature to hide and see that fight tha_ay; but I did, and I enjoyed it very much.”
“You rewarded me very much.”
“Did I?” she replied, in an incidental and forgetful way. “I remember _ntertained a great objection to your adversary, because I took it ill that h_hould be brought here to pester me with his company.”
“He and I are great friends now.”
“Are you? I think I recollect though, that you read with his father?”
I made the admission with reluctance, for it seemed to have a boyish look, an_he already treated me more than enough like a boy.
“Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed you_ompanions,” said Estella.
“Naturally,” said I.
“And necessarily,” she added, in a haughty tone; “what was fit company for yo_nce, would be quite unfit company for you now.”
In my conscience, I doubt very much whether I had any lingering intention lef_f going to see Joe; but if I had, this observation put it to flight.
“You had no idea of your impending good fortune, in those times?” sai_stella, with a slight wave of her hand, signifying in the fighting times.
“Not the least.”
The air of completeness and superiority with which she walked at my side, an_he air of youthfulness and submission with which I walked at hers, made _ontrast that I strongly felt. It would have rankled in me more than it did, if I had not regarded myself as eliciting it by being so set apart for her an_ssigned to her.
The garden was too overgrown and rank for walking in with ease, and after w_ad made the round of it twice or thrice, we came out again into the brewer_ard. I showed her to a nicety where I had seen her walking on the casks, tha_irst old day, and she said, with a cold and careless look in that direction, “Did I?” I reminded her where she had come out of the house and given me m_eat and drink, and she said, “I don’t remember.” “Not remember that you mad_e cry?” said I. “No,” said she, and shook her head and looked about her. _erily believe that her not remembering and not minding in the least, made m_ry again, inwardly,—and that is the sharpest crying of all.
“You must know,” said Estella, condescending to me as a brilliant an_eautiful woman might, “that I have no heart,—if that has anything to do wit_y memory.”
I got through some jargon to the effect that I took the liberty of doubtin_hat. 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,” sai_stella, “and of course if it ceased to beat I should cease to be. But yo_now what I mean. I have no softness there, no— sympathy-sentiment—nonsense.”
What was it that was borne in upon my mind when she stood still and looke_ttentively at me? Anything that I had seen in Miss Havisham? No. In some o_er looks and gestures there was that tinge of resemblance to Miss Havisha_hich may often be noticed to have been acquired by children, from grow_erson with whom they have been much associated and secluded, and which, whe_hildhood is passed, will produce a remarkable occasional likeness o_xpression between faces that are otherwise quite different. And yet I coul_ot trace this to Miss Havisham. I looked again, and though she was stil_ooking at me, the suggestion was gone.
What was it?
“I am serious,” said Estella, not so much with a frown (for her brow wa_mooth) as with a darkening of her face; “if we are to be thrown muc_ogether, you had better believe it at once. No!” imperiously stopping me as _pened my lips. “I have not bestowed my tenderness anywhere. I have never ha_ny such thing.”
In another moment we were in the brewery, so long disused, and she pointed t_he high gallery where I had seen her going out on that same first day, an_old me she remembered to have been up there, and to have seen me standin_cared below. As my eyes followed her white hand, again the same di_uggestion that I could not possibly grasp crossed me. My involuntary star_ccasioned her to lay her hand upon my arm. Instantly the ghost passed onc_ore and was gone.
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 i_ff.
“Then you don’t? Very well. It is said, at any rate. Miss Havisham will soo_e expecting you at your old post, though I think that might be laid asid_ow, with other old belongings. Let us make one more round of the garden, an_hen go in. Come! You shall not shed tears for my cruelty to-day; you shall b_y 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 roun_he ruined garden twice or thrice more, and it was all in bloom for me. If th_reen and yellow growth of weed in the chinks of the old wall had been th_ost precious flowers that ever blew, it could not have been more cherished i_y remembrance.
There was no discrepancy of years between us to remove her far from me; w_ere of nearly the same age, though of course the age told for more in he_ase than in mine; but the air of inaccessibility which her beauty and he_anner gave her, tormented me in the midst of my delight, and at the height o_he assurance I felt that our patroness had chosen us for one another.
At last we went back into the house, and there I heard, with surprise, that m_uardian had come down to see Miss Havisham on business, and would come bac_o dinner. The old wintry branches of chandeliers in the room where th_ouldering table was spread had been lighted while we were out, and Mis_avisham was in her chair and waiting for me.
It was like pushing the chair itself back into the past, when we began the ol_low circuit round about the ashes of the bridal feast. But, in the funerea_oom, with that figure of the grave fallen back in the chair fixing its eye_pon her, Estella looked more bright and beautiful than before, and I wa_nder stronger enchantment.
The time so melted away, that our early dinner-hour drew close at hand, an_stella left us to prepare herself. We had stopped near the centre of the lon_able, and Miss Havisham, with one of her withered arms stretched out of th_hair, rested that clenched hand upon the yellow cloth. As Estella looked bac_ver her shoulder before going out at the door, Miss Havisham kissed that han_o 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 i_ 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 sa_n 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 a_ll) she repeated, “Love her, love her, love her! If she favors you, love her.
If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces,—and as it get_lder 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 o_hese words. I could feel the muscles of the thin arm round my neck swell wit_he vehemence that possessed her.
“Hear me, Pip! I adopted her, to be loved. I bred her and educated her, to b_oved. I developed her into what she is, that she might be loved. Love her!”
She said the word often enough, and there could be no doubt that she meant t_ay it; but if the often repeated word had been hate instead o_ove—despair—revenge—dire death—it could not have sounded from her lips mor_ike a curse.
“I’ll tell you,” said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, “what rea_ove is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utte_ubmission, 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 he_ound the waist. For she rose up in the chair, in her shroud of a dress, an_truck at the air as if she would as soon have struck herself against the wal_nd fallen dead.
All this passed in a few seconds. As I drew her down into her chair, I wa_onscious 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-handkerchie_f rich silk and of imposing proportions, which was of great value to him i_is profession. I have seen him so terrify a client or a witness b_eremoniously unfolding this pocket-handkerchief as if he were immediatel_oing to blow his nose, and then pausing, as if he knew he should not hav_ime 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 hi_n the room he had this expressive pocket-handkerchief in both hands, and wa_ooking at us. On meeting my eye, he said plainly, by a momentary and silen_ause in that attitude, “Indeed? Singular!” and then put the handkerchief t_ts right use with wonderful effect.
Miss Havisham had seen him as soon as I, and was (like everybody else) afrai_f him. She made a strong attempt to compose herself, and stammered that h_as 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, Pip?”
I told him when I had arrived, and how Miss Havisham had wished me to come an_ee Estella. To which he replied, “Ah! Very fine young lady!” Then he pushe_iss Havisham in her chair before him, with one of his large hands, and pu_he 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 h_ame 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 w_ere still on our way to those detached apartments across the paved yard a_he 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 neve_llowed herself to be seen doing either, since she lived this present life o_ers. She wanders about in the night, and then lays hands on such food as sh_akes.”
“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 yello_riend. We dined very well, and were waited on by a maid-servant whom I ha_ever seen in all my comings and goings, but who, for anything I know, ha_een in that mysterious house the whole time. After dinner a bottle of choic_ld port was placed before my guardian (he was evidently well acquainted wit_he vintage), and the two ladies left us.
Anything to equal the determined reticence of Mr. Jaggers under that roof _ever saw elsewhere, even in him. He kept his very looks to himself, an_carcely directed his eyes to Estella’s face once during dinner. When sh_poke to him, he listened, and in due course answered, but never looked a_er, that I could see. On the other hand, she often looked at him, wit_nterest and curiosity, if not distrust, but his face never, showed the leas_onsciousness. Throughout dinner he took a dry delight in making Sarah Pocke_reener and yellower, by often referring in conversation with me to m_xpectations; but here, again, he showed no consciousness, and even made i_ppear that he extorted—and even did extort, though I don’t know how—thos_eferences out of my innocent self.
And when he and I were left alone together, he sat with an air upon him o_eneral lying by in consequence of information he possessed, that really wa_oo much for me. He cross-examined his very wine when he had nothing else i_and. He held it between himself and the candle, tasted the port, rolled it i_is 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 a_ervous as if I had known the wine to be telling him something to m_isadvantage. 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 hi_lass in his hand, and rolling his wine about in his mouth, as if requestin_e 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 th_anger of being goaded to madness, and perhaps tearing off her cap,—which wa_ very hideous one, in the nature of a muslin mop,—and strewing the groun_ith her hair,—which assuredly had never grown on her head. She did not appea_hen we afterwards went up to Miss Havisham’s room, and we four played a_hist. In the interval, Miss Havisham, in a fantastic way, had put some of th_ost beautiful jewels from her dressing-table into Estella’s hair, and abou_er bosom and arms; and I saw even my guardian look at her from under hi_hick eyebrows, and raise them a little, when her loveliness was before him, with those rich flushes of glitter and color in it.
Of the manner and extent to which he took our trumps into custody, and cam_ut with mean little cards at the ends of hands, before which the glory of ou_ings and Queens was utterly abased, I say nothing; nor, of the feeling that _ad, respecting his looking upon us personally in the light of three ver_bvious and poor riddles that he had found out long ago. What I suffered from, was the incompatibility between his cold presence and my feelings toward_stella. 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 kne_ could never bear to see him wash his hands of her; it was, that m_dmiration should be within a foot or two of him,—it was, that my feeling_hould 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 cam_o London I should be forewarned of her coming and should meet her at th_oach; 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, Mis_avisham’s words, “Love her, love her, love her!” sounded in my ears. _dapted them for my own repetition, and said to my pillow, “I love her, I lov_er, I love her!” hundreds of times. Then, a burst of gratitude came upon me, that she should be destined for me, once the blacksmith’s boy. Then I though_f she were, as I feared, by no means rapturously grateful for that destin_et, when would she begin to be interested in me? When should I awaken th_eart within her that was mute and sleeping now?
Ah me! I thought those were high and great emotions. But I never thought ther_as anything low and small in my keeping away from Joe, because I knew sh_ould be contemptuous of him. It was but a day gone, and Joe had brought th_ears into my eyes; they had soon dried, God forgive me! soon dried.