Charles Dickens

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.