Charles Dickens

And a certain action of her

fingers as she spoke arrested my attention.

"What's the matter?" said Mr. Jaggers.

"Nothing. Only the subject we were speaking of," said I, "was

rather painful to me."

The action of her fingers was like the action of knitting. She

stood looking at her master, not understanding whether she was free

to go, or whether he had more to say to her and would call her back

if she did go. Her look was very intent. Surely, I had seen exactly

such eyes and such hands, on a memorable occasion very lately!

He dismissed her, and she glided out of the room. But she remained

before me, as plainly as if she were still there. I looked at those

hands, I looked at those eyes, I looked at that flowing hair; and I

compared them with other hands, other eyes, other hair, that I knew

of, and with what those might be after twenty years of a brutal

husband and a stormy life. I looked again at those hands and eyes

of the housekeeper, and thought of the inexplicable feeling that

had come over me when I last walked - not alone - in the ruined

garden, and through the deserted brewery. I thought how the same

feeling had come back when I saw a face looking at me, and a hand

waving to me, from a stage-coach window; and how it had come back

again and had flashed about me like Lightning, when I had passed in

a carriage - not alone - through a sudden glare of light in a dark

street. I thought how one link of association had helped that

identification in the theatre, and how such a link, wanting before,

had been riveted for me now, when I had passed by a chance swift

from Estella's name to the fingers with their knitting action, and

the attentive eyes. And I felt absolutely certain that this woman

was Estella's mother.

Mr. Jaggers had seen me with Estella, and was not likely to have

missed the sentiments I had been at no pains to conceal. He nodded

when I said the subject was painful to me, clapped me on the back,

put round the wine again, and went on with his dinner.

Only twice more, did the housekeeper reappear, and then her stay in

the room was very short, and Mr. Jaggers was sharp with her. But her

hands were Estella's hands, and her eyes were Estella's eyes, and

if she had reappeared a hundred times I could have been neither

more sure nor less sure that my conviction was the truth.

It was a dull evening, for Wemmick drew his wine when it came

round, quite as a matter of business - just as he might have drawn

his salary when that came round - and with his eyes on his chief,

sat in a state of perpetual readiness for cross-examination. As to

the quantity of wine, his post-office was as indifferent and ready

as any other post-office for its quantity of letters. From my point

of view, he was the wrong twin all the time, and only externally

like the Wemmick of Walworth.

We took our leave early, and left together. Even when we were

groping among Mr. Jaggers's stock of boots for our hats, I felt that

the right twin was on his way back; and we had not gone half a

dozen yards down Gerrard-street in the Walworth direction before I

found that I was walking arm-in-arm with the right twin, and that

the wrong twin had evaporated into the evening air.

"Well!" said Wemmick, "that's over! He's a wonderful man, without

his living likeness; but I feel that I have to screw myself up when

I dine with him - and I dine more comfortably unscrewed."

I felt that this was a good statement of the case, and told him so.

"Wouldn't say it to anybody but yourself," he answered. "I know

that what is said between you and me, goes no further."

I asked him if he had ever seen Miss Havisham's adopted daughter,

Mrs. Bentley Drummle? He said no. To avoid being too abrupt, I then

spoke of the Aged, and of Miss Skiffins. He looked rather sly when

I mentioned Miss Skiffins, and stopped in the street to blow his

nose, with a roll of the head and a flourish not quite free from

latent boastfulness.