Charles Dickens

I took the next opportunity: which was when she was

waiting for Mrs. Brandley to take her home, and was sitting apart

among some flowers, ready to go. I was with her, for I almost

always accompanied them to and from such places.

"Are you tired, Estella?"

"Rather, Pip."

"You should be."

"Say rather, I should not be; for I have my letter to Satis House

to write, before I go to sleep."

"Recounting to-night's triumph?" said I. "Surely a very poor one,


"What do you mean? I didn't know there had been any."

"Estella," said I, "do look at that fellow in the corner yonder,

who is looking over here at us."

"Why should I look at him?" returned Estella, with her eyes on me

instead. "What is there in that fellow in the corner yonder - to

use your words - that I need look at?"

"Indeed, that is the very question I want to ask you," said I. "For

he has been hovering about you all night."

"Moths, and all sorts of ugly creatures," replied Estella, with a

glance towards him, "hover about a lighted candle. Can the candle

help it?"

"No," I returned; "but cannot the Estella help it?"

"Well!" said she, laughing, after a moment, "perhaps. Yes. Anything

you like."

"But, Estella, do hear me speak. It makes me wretched that you

should encourage a man so generally despised as Drummle. You know

he is despised."

"Well?" said she.

"You know he is as ungainly within, as without. A deficient,

illtempered, lowering, stupid fellow."

"Well?" said she.

"You know he has nothing to recommend him but money, and a

ridiculous roll of addle-headed predecessors; now, don't you?"

"Well?" said she again; and each time she said it, she opened her

lovely eyes the wider.

To overcome the difficulty of getting past that monosyllable, I

took it from her, and said, repeating it with emphasis, "Well! Then,

that is why it makes me wretched."

Now, if I could have believed that she favoured Drummle with any

idea of making me - me - wretched, I should have been in better

heart about it; but in that habitual way of hers, she put me so

entirely out of the question, that I could believe nothing of the


"Pip," said Estella, casting her glance over the room, "don't be

foolish about its effect on you. It may have its effect on others,

and may be meant to have. It's not worth discussing."

"Yes it is," said I, "because I cannot bear that people should say,

'she throws away her graces and attractions on a mere boor, the

lowest in the crowd.'"

"I can bear it," said Estella.

"Oh! don't be so proud, Estella, and so inflexible."

"Calls me proud and inflexible in this breath!" said Estella,

opening her hands. "And in his last breath reproached me for

stooping to a boor!"

"There is no doubt you do," said I, something hurriedly, "for I

have seen you give him looks and smiles this very night, such as

you never give to - me."

"Do you want me then," said Estella, turning suddenly with a fixed

and serious, if not angry, look, "to deceive and entrap you?"

"Do you deceive and entrap him, Estella?"

"Yes, and many others - all of them but you. Here is Mrs. Brandley.

I'll say no more."

And now that I have given the one chapter to the theme that so

filled my heart, and so often made it ache and ache again, I pass

on, unhindered, to the event that had impended over me longer yet;

the event that had begun to be prepared for, before I knew that the

world held Estella, and in the days when her baby intelligence was

receiving its first distortions from Miss Havisham's wasting hands.

In the Eastern story, the heavy slab that was to fall on the bed of

state in the flush of conquest was slowly wrought out of the

quarry, the tunnel for the rope to hold it in its place was slowly

carried through the leagues of rock, the slab was slowly raised and

fitted in the roof, the rope was rove to it and slowly taken

through the miles of hollow to the great iron ring.