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Chapter 10

  • 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.
  • “Orlick!”
  • “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,—
  • “Well?”
  • “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.”
  • “Well?”
  • 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?”
  • “Yes.”
  • 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.
  • Wretched boy!
  • 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.
  • “How often?”
  • “Ah! How many times? Ten thousand times?”
  • “Oh! Certainly not so many.”
  • “Twice?”
  • “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.