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?"
"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
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.