Charles Dickens

Between him and me, secret

articles were signed of which Herbert was the subject, and I paid

him half of my five hundred pounds down, and engaged for sundry

other payments: some, to fall due at certain dates out of my

income: some, contingent on my coming into my property. Miss

Skiffins's brother conducted the negotiation. Wemmick pervaded it

throughout, but never appeared in it.

The whole business was so cleverly managed, that Herbert had not

the least suspicion of my hand being in it. I never shall forget

the radiant face with which he came home one afternoon, and told

me, as a mighty piece of news, of his having fallen in with one

Clarriker (the young merchant's name), and of Clarriker's having

shown an extraordinary inclination towards him, and of his belief

that the opening had come at last. Day by day as his hopes grew

stronger and his face brighter, he must have thought me a more and

more affectionate friend, for I had the greatest difficulty in

restraining my tears of triumph when I saw him so happy. At length,

the thing being done, and he having that day entered Clarriker's

House, and he having talked to me for a whole evening in a flush of

pleasure and success, I did really cry in good earnest when I went

to bed, to think that my expectations had done some good to


A great event in my life, the turning point of my life, now opens

on my view. But, before I proceed to narrate it, and before I pass

on to all the changes it involved, I must give one chapter to

Estella. It is not much to give to the theme that so long filled

my heart.

Chapter 38

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.