In her furred travelling-dress, Estella seemed more delicately beautiful tha_he had ever seemed yet, even in my eyes. Her manner was more winning than sh_ad cared to let it be to me before, and I thought I saw Miss Havisham’_nfluence in the change.
We stood in the Inn Yard while she pointed out her luggage to me, and when i_as all collected I remembered—having forgotten everything but herself in th_eanwhile—that I knew nothing of her destination.
“I am going to Richmond,” she told me. “Our lesson is, that there are tw_ichmonds, one in Surrey and one in Yorkshire, and that mine is the Surre_ichmond. The distance is ten miles. I am to have a carriage, and you are t_ake me. This is my purse, and you are to pay my charges out of it. O, yo_ust take the purse! We have no choice, you and I, but to obey ou_nstructions. We are not free to follow our own devices, you and I.”
As she looked at me in giving me the purse, I hoped there was an inner meanin_n her words. She said them slightingly, but not with displeasure.
“A carriage will have to be sent for, Estella. Will you rest here a little?”
“Yes, I am to rest here a little, and I am to drink some tea, and you are t_ake care of me the while.”
She drew her arm through mine, as if it must be done, and I requested a waite_ho had been staring at the coach like a man who had never seen such a thin_n his life, to show us a private sitting-room. Upon that, he pulled out _apkin, as if it were a magic clew without which he couldn’t find the way u_tairs, and led us to the black hole of the establishment, fitted up with _iminishing mirror (quite a superfluous article, considering the hole’_roportions), an anchovy sauce-cruet, and somebody’s pattens. On my objectin_o this retreat, he took us into another room with a dinner-table for thirty, and in the grate a scorched leaf of a copy-book under a bushel of coal-dust.
Having looked at this extinct conflagration and shaken his head, he took m_rder; which, proving to be merely, “Some tea for the lady,” sent him out o_he room in a very low state of mind.
I was, and I am, sensible that the air of this chamber, in its stron_ombination of stable with soup-stock, might have led one to infer that th_oaching department was not doing well, and that the enterprising proprieto_as boiling down the horses for the refreshment department. Yet the room wa_ll in all to me, Estella being in it. I thought that with her I could hav_een happy there for life. (I was not at all happy there at the time, observe, and I knew it well.)
“Where are you going to, at Richmond?” I asked Estella.
“I am going to live,” said she, “at a great expense, with a lady there, wh_as the power—or says she has—of taking me about, and introducing me, an_howing people to me and showing me to people.”
“I suppose you will be glad of variety and admiration?”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
She answered so carelessly, that I said, “You speak of yourself as if you wer_ome one else.”
“Where did you learn how I speak of others? Come, come,” said Estella, smilin_elightfully, “you must not expect me to go to school to you; I must talk i_y own way. How do you thrive with Mr. Pocket?”
“I live quite pleasantly there; at least—” It appeared to me that I was losin_ chance.
“At least?” repeated Estella.
“As pleasantly as I could anywhere, away from you.”
“You silly boy,” said Estella, quite composedly, “how can you talk suc_onsense? Your friend Mr. Matthew, I believe, is superior to the rest of hi_amily?”
“Very superior indeed. He is nobody’s enemy—”
—“Don’t add but his own,” interposed Estella, “for I hate that class of man.
But he really is disinterested, and above small jealousy and spite, I hav_eard?”
“I am sure I have every reason to say so.”
“You have not every reason to say so of the rest of his people,” said Estella, nodding at me with an expression of face that was at once grave and rallying, “for they beset Miss Havisham with reports and insinuations to you_isadvantage. They watch you, misrepresent you, write letters about you (anonymous sometimes), and you are the torment and the occupation of thei_ives. You can scarcely realize to yourself the hatred those people feel fo_ou.”
“They do me no harm, I hope?”
Instead of answering, Estella burst out laughing. This was very singular t_e, and I looked at her in considerable perplexity. When she left off—and sh_ad not laughed languidly, but with real enjoyment—I said, in my diffident wa_ith her,—
“I hope I may suppose that you would not be amused if they did me any harm.”
“No, no you may be sure of that,” said Estella. “You may be certain that _augh because they fail. O, those people with Miss Havisham, and the torture_hey undergo!” She laughed again, and even now when she had told me why, he_aughter was very singular to me, for I could not doubt its being genuine, an_et it seemed too much for the occasion. I thought there must really b_omething more here than I knew; she saw the thought in my mind, and answere_t.
“It is not easy for even you.” said Estella, “to know what satisfaction i_ives me to see those people thwarted, or what an enjoyable sense of th_idiculous I have when they are made ridiculous. For you were not brought u_n that strange house from a mere baby. I was. You had not your little wit_harpened by their intriguing against you, suppressed and defenceless, unde_he mask of sympathy and pity and what not that is soft and soothing. I had.
You did not gradually open your round childish eyes wider and wider to th_iscovery of that impostor of a woman who calculates her stores of peace o_ind for when she wakes up in the night. I did.”
It was no laughing matter with Estella now, nor was she summoning thes_emembrances from any shallow place. I would not have been the cause of tha_ook of hers for all my expectations in a heap.
“Two things I can tell you,” said Estella. “First, notwithstanding the prover_hat constant dropping will wear away a stone, you may set your mind at res_hat these people never will—never would, in hundred years—impair your groun_ith Miss Havisham, in any particular, great or small. Second, I am beholde_o you as the cause of their being so busy and so mean in vain, and there i_y hand upon it.”
As she gave it to me playfully,—for her darker mood had been but Momentary,—_eld it and put it to my lips. “You ridiculous boy,” said Estella, “will yo_ever take warning? Or do you kiss my hand in the same spirit in which I onc_et you kiss my cheek?”
“What spirit was that?” said I.
“I must think a moment. A spirit of contempt for the fawners and plotters.”
“If I say yes, may I kiss the cheek again?”
“You should have asked before you touched the hand. But, yes, if you like.”
I leaned down, and her calm face was like a statue’s. “Now,” said Estella, gliding away the instant I touched her cheek, “you are to take care that _ave some tea, and you are to take me to Richmond.”
Her reverting to this tone as if our association were forced upon us, and w_ere mere puppets, gave me pain; but everything in our intercourse did give m_ain. Whatever her tone with me happened to be, I could put no trust in it, and build no hope on it; and yet I went on against trust and against hope. Wh_epeat it a thousand times? So it always was.
I rang for the tea, and the waiter, reappearing with his magic clew, brough_n by degrees some fifty adjuncts to that refreshment, but of tea not _limpse. A teaboard, cups and saucers, plates, knives and forks (includin_arvers), spoons (various), saltcellars, a meek little muffin confined wit_he utmost precaution under a strong iron cover, Moses in the bulrushe_ypified by a soft bit of butter in a quantity of parsley, a pale loaf with _owdered head, two proof impressions of the bars of the kitchen fireplace o_riangular bits of bread, and ultimately a fat family urn; which the waite_taggered in with, expressing in his countenance burden and suffering. After _rolonged absence at this stage of the entertainment, he at length came bac_ith a casket of precious appearance containing twigs. These I steeped in ho_ater, and so from the whole of these appliances extracted one cup of I don’_now what for Estella.
The bill paid, and the waiter remembered, and the ostler not forgotten, an_he chambermaid taken into consideration,—in a word, the whole house bribe_nto a state of contempt and animosity, and Estella’s purse much lightened,—w_ot into our post-coach and drove away. Turning into Cheapside and rattling u_ewgate Street, we were soon under the walls of which I was so ashamed.
“What place is that?” Estella asked me.
I made a foolish pretence of not at first recognizing it, and then told her.
As she looked at it, and drew in her head again, murmuring, “Wretches!” _ould not have confessed to my visit for any consideration.
“Mr. Jaggers,” said I, by way of putting it neatly on somebody else, “has th_eputation of being more in the secrets of that dismal place than any man i_ondon.”
“He is more in the secrets of every place, I think,” said Estella, in a lo_oice.
“You have been accustomed to see him often, I suppose?”
“I have been accustomed to see him at uncertain intervals, ever since I ca_emember. But I know him no better now, than I did before I could spea_lainly. What is your own experience of him? Do you advance with him?”
“Once habituated to his distrustful manner,” said I, “I have done very well.”
“Are you intimate?”
“I have dined with him at his private house.”
“I fancy,” said Estella, shrinking “that must be a curious place.”
“It is a curious place.”
I should have been chary of discussing my guardian too freely even with her; but I should have gone on with the subject so far as to describe the dinner i_errard Street, if we had not then come into a sudden glare of gas. It seemed, while it lasted, to be all alight and alive with that inexplicable feeling _ad had before; and when we were out of it, I was as much dazed for a fe_oments as if I had been in lightning.
So we fell into other talk, and it was principally about the way by which w_ere travelling, and about what parts of London lay on this side of it, an_hat on that. The great city was almost new to her, she told me, for she ha_ever left Miss Havisham’s neighborhood until she had gone to France, and sh_ad merely passed through London then in going and returning. I asked her i_y guardian had any charge of her while she remained here? To that sh_mphatically said “God forbid!” and no more.
It was impossible for me to avoid seeing that she cared to attract me; tha_he made herself winning, and would have won me even if the task had neede_ains. Yet this made me none the happier, for even if she had not taken tha_one of our being disposed of by others, I should have felt that she held m_eart in her hand because she wilfully chose to do it, and not because i_ould have wrung any tenderness in her to crush it and throw it away.
When we passed through Hammersmith, I showed her where Mr. Matthew Pocke_ived, and said it was no great way from Richmond, and that I hoped I shoul_ee her sometimes.
“O yes, you are to see me; you are to come when you think proper; you are t_e mentioned to the family; indeed you are already mentioned.”
I inquired was it a large household she was going to be a member of?
“No; there are only two; mother and daughter. The mother is a lady of som_tation, though not averse to increasing her income.”
“I wonder Miss Havisham could part with you again so soon.”
“It is a part of Miss Havisham’s plans for me, Pip,” said Estella, with _igh, as if she were tired; “I am to write to her constantly and see he_egularly and report how I go on,—I and the jewels,— for they are nearly al_ine now.”
It was the first time she had ever called me by my name. Of course she did s_urposely, and knew that I should treasure it up.
We came to Richmond all too soon, and our destination there was a house by th_reen,—a staid old house, where hoops and powder and patches, embroidere_oats, rolled stockings, ruffles and swords, had had their court days many _ime. Some ancient trees before the house were still cut into fashions a_ormal and unnatural as the hoops and wigs and stiff skirts; but their ow_llotted places in the great procession of the dead were not far off, and the_ould soon drop into them and go the silent way of the rest.
A bell with an old voice—which I dare say in its time had often said to th_ouse, Here is the green farthingale, Here is the diamond-hilted sword, Her_re the shoes with red heels and the blue solitaire—sounded gravely in th_oonlight, and two cherry-colored maids came fluttering out to receiv_stella. The doorway soon absorbed her boxes, and she gave me her hand and _mile, and said good night, and was absorbed likewise. And still I stoo_ooking at the house, thinking how happy I should be if I lived there wit_er, and knowing that I never was happy with her, but always miserable.
I got into the carriage to be taken back to Hammersmith, and I got in with _ad heart-ache, and I got out with a worse heart-ache. At our own door, _ound little Jane Pocket coming home from a little party escorted by he_ittle lover; and I envied her little lover, in spite of his being subject t_lopson.
Mr. Pocket was out lecturing; for, he was a most delightful lecturer o_omestic economy, and his treatises on the management of children and servant_ere considered the very best text-books on those themes. But Mrs. Pocket wa_t home, and was in a little difficulty, on account of the baby’s having bee_ccommodated with a needle-case to keep him quiet during the unaccountabl_bsence (with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles wer_issing than it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a patient of suc_ender years either to apply externally or to take as a tonic.
Mr. Pocket being justly celebrated for giving most excellent practical advice, and for having a clear and sound perception of things and a highly judiciou_ind, I had some notion in my heart-ache of begging him to accept m_onfidence. But happening to look up at Mrs. Pocket as she sat reading he_ook of dignities after prescribing Bed as a sovereign remedy for baby, _hought— Well—No, I wouldn’t.