Great Expectations eBook

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

I think Miss Pocket was conscious that the sight of me involved her in the danger of being goaded to madness, and perhaps tearing off her cap — which was a very hideous one, in the nature of a muslin mop — and strewing the ground with her hair — which assuredly had never grown on her head.  She did not appear when we afterwards went up to Miss Havisham’s room, and we four played at whist.  In the interval, Miss Havisham, in a fantastic way, had put some of the most beautiful jewels from her dressing-table into Estella’s hair, and about her bosom and arms; and I saw even my guardian look at her from under his thick eyebrows, and raise them a little, when her loveliness was before him, with those rich flushes of glitter and colour in it.

Of the manner and extent to which he took our trumps into custody, and came out with mean little cards at the ends of hands, before which the glory of our Kings and Queens was utterly abased, I say nothing; nor, of the feeling that I had, respecting his looking upon us personally in the light of three very obvious and poor riddles that he had found out long ago.  What I suffered from, was the incompatibility between his cold presence and my feelings towards Estella.  It was not that I knew I could never bear to speak to him about her, that I knew I could never bear to hear him creak his boots at her, that I knew I could never bear to see him wash his hands of her; it was, that my admiration should be within a foot or two of him — it was, that my feelings should be in the same place with him — that, was the agonizing circumstance.

We played until nine o’clock, and then it was arranged that when Estella came to London I should be forewarned of her coming and should meet her at the coach; and then I took leave of her, and touched her and left her.

My guardian lay at the Boar in the next room to mine.  Far into the night, Miss Havisham’s words, “Love her, love her, love her!” sounded in my ears.  I adapted them for my own repetition, and said to my pillow, “I love her, I love her, I love her!” hundreds of times.  Then, a burst of gratitude came upon me, that she should be destined for me, once the blacksmith’s boy.  Then, I thought if she were, as I feared, by no means rapturously grateful for that destiny yet, when would she begin to be interested in me?  When should I awaken the heart within her, that was mute and sleeping now?

Ah me!  I thought those were high and great emotions.  But I never thought there was anything low and small in my keeping away from Joe, because I knew she would be contemptuous of him.  It was but a day gone, and Joe had brought the tears into my eyes; they had soon dried, God forgive me! soon dried.

Chapter 30

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Great Expectations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.