Great Expectations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 554 pages of information about Great Expectations.

I considered, and said, “Never.”

“And never will, Pip,” he retorted, with a frowning smile.  “She has never allowed herself to be seen doing either, since she lived this present life of hers.  She wanders about in the night, and then lays hands on such food as she takes.”

“Pray, sir,” said I, “may I ask you a question?”

“You may,” said he, “and I may decline to answer it.  Put your question.”

“Estella’s name.  Is it Havisham or — ?” I had nothing to add.

“Or what?” said he.

“Is it Havisham?”

“It is Havisham.”

This brought us to the dinner-table, where she and Sarah Pocket awaited us.  Mr. Jaggers presided, Estella sat opposite to him, I faced my green and yellow friend.  We dined very well, and were waited on by a maid-servant whom I had never seen in all my comings and goings, but who, for anything I know, had been in that mysterious house the whole time.  After dinner, a bottle of choice old port was placed before my guardian (he was evidently well acquainted with the vintage), and the two ladies left us.

Anything to equal the determined reticence of Mr. Jaggers under that roof, I never saw elsewhere, even in him.  He kept his very looks to himself, and scarcely directed his eyes to Estella’s face once during dinner.  When she spoke to him, he listened, and in due course answered, but never looked at her, that I could see.  On the other hand, she often looked at him, with interest and curiosity, if not distrust, but his face never, showed the least consciousness.  Throughout dinner he took a dry delight in making Sarah Pocket greener and yellower, by often referring in conversation with me to my expectations; but here, again, he showed no consciousness, and even made it appear that he extorted — and even did extort, though I don’t know how — those references out of my innocent self.

And when he and I were left alone together, he sat with an air upon him of general lying by in consequence of information he possessed, that really was too much for me.  He cross-examined his very wine when he had nothing else in hand.  He held it between himself and the candle, tasted the port, rolled it in his mouth, swallowed it, looked at his glass again, smelt the port, tried it, drank it, filled again, and cross-examined the glass again, until I was as nervous as if I had known the wine to be telling him something to my disadvantage.  Three or four times I feebly thought I would start conversation; but whenever he saw me going to ask him anything, he looked at me with his glass in his hand, and rolling his wine about in his mouth, as if requesting me to take notice that it was of no use, for he couldn’t answer.

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Great Expectations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.