Charles Dickens

I never had one hour's happiness in her society, and yet my

mind all round the four-and-twenty hours was harping on the

happiness of having her with me unto death.

Throughout this part of our intercourse - and it lasted, as will

presently be seen, for what I then thought a long time - she

habitually reverted to that tone which expressed that our

association was forced upon us. There were other times when she

would come to a sudden check in this tone and in all her many

tones, and would seem to pity me.

"Pip, Pip," she said one evening, coming to such a check, when we

sat apart at a darkening window of the house in Richmond; "will you

never take warning?"

"Of what?"

"Of me."

"Warning not to be attracted by you, do you mean, Estella?"

"Do I mean! If you don't know what I mean, you are blind."

I should have replied that Love was commonly reputed blind, but for

the reason that I always was restrained - and this was not the

least of my miseries - by a feeling that it was ungenerous to press

myself upon her, when she knew that she could not choose but obey

Miss Havisham. My dread always was, that this knowledge on her part

laid me under a heavy disadvantage with her pride, and made me the

subject of a rebellious struggle in her bosom.

"At any rate," said I, "I have no warning given me just now, for

you wrote to me to come to you, this time."

"That's true," said Estella, with a cold careless smile that always

chilled me.

After looking at the twilight without, for a little while, she went

on to say:

"The time has come round when Miss Havisham wishes to have me for a

day at Satis. You are to take me there, and bring me back, if you

will. She would rather I did not travel alone, and objects to

receiving my maid, for she has a sensitive horror of being talked

of by such people. Can you take me?"

"Can I take you, Estella!"

"You can then? The day after to-morrow, if you please. You are to

pay all charges out of my purse, You hear the condition of your


"And must obey," said I.

This was all the preparation I received for that visit, or for

others like it: Miss Havisham never wrote to me, nor had I ever so

much as seen her handwriting. We went down on the next day but one,

and we found her in the room where I had first beheld her, and it

is needless to add that there was no change in Satis House.

She was even more dreadfully fond of Estella than she had been when

I last saw them together; I repeat the word advisedly, for there

was something positively dreadful in the energy of her looks and

embraces. She hung upon Estella's beauty, hung upon her words, hung

upon her gestures, and sat mumbling her own trembling fingers while

she looked at her, as though she were devouring the beautiful

creature she had reared.

From Estella she looked at me, with a searching glance that seemed

to pry into my heart and probe its wounds. "How does she use you,

Pip; how does she use you?" she asked me again, with her witch-like

eagerness, even in Estella's hearing. But, when we sat by her

flickering fire at night, she was most weird; for then, keeping

Estella's hand drawn through her arm and clutched in her own hand,

she extorted from her, by dint of referring back to what Estella

had told her in her regular letters, the names and conditions of

the men whom she had fascinated; and as Miss Havisham dwelt upon

this roll, with the intensity of a mind mortally hurt and diseased,

she sat with her other hand on her crutch stick, and her chin on

that, and her wan bright eyes glaring at me, a very spectre.

I saw in this, wretched though it made me, and bitter the sense of

dependence and even of degradation that it awakened - I saw in

this, that Estella was set to wreak Miss Havisham's revenge on men,

and that she was not to be given to me until she had gratified it

for a term. I saw in this, a reason for her being beforehand

assigned to me.