So, we fell into other talk, and it was principally about the way by which we were travelling, and about what parts of London lay on this side of it, and what on that. The great city was almost new to her, she told me, for she had never left Miss Havisham’s neighbourhood until she had gone to France, and she had merely passed through London then in going and returning. I asked her if my guardian had any charge of her while she remained here? To that she emphatically said “God forbid!” and no more.
It was impossible for me to avoid seeing that she cared to attract me; that she made herself winning; and would have won me even if the task had needed pains. Yet this made me none the happier, for, even if she had not taken that tone of our being disposed of by others, I should have felt that she held my heart in her hand because she wilfully chose to do it, and not because it would have wrung any tenderness in her, to crush it and throw it away.
When we passed through Hammersmith, I showed her where Mr. Matthew Pocket lived, and said it was no great way from Richmond, and that I hoped I should see her sometimes.
“Oh yes, you are to see me; you are to come when you think proper; you are to be mentioned to the family; indeed you are already mentioned.”
I inquired was it a large household she was going to be a member of?
“No; there are only two; mother and daughter. The mother is a lady of some station, though not averse to increasing her income.”
“I wonder Miss Havisham could part with you again so soon.”
“It is a part of Miss Havisham’s plans for me, Pip,” said Estella, with a sigh, as if she were tired; “I am to write to her constantly and see her regularly and report how I go on — I and the jewels — for they are nearly all mine now.”
It was the first time she had ever called me by my name. Of course she did so, purposely, and knew that I should treasure it up.
We came to Richmond all too soon, and our destination there, was a house by the Green; a staid old house, where hoops and powder and patches, embroidered coats rolled stockings ruffles and swords, had had their court days many a time. Some ancient trees before the house were still cut into fashions as formal and unnatural as the hoops and wigs and stiff skirts; but their own allotted places in the great procession of the dead were not far off, and they would soon drop into them and go the silent way of the rest.
A bell with an old voice — which I dare say in its time had often said to the house, Here is the green farthingale, Here is the diamondhilted sword, Here are the shoes with red heels and the blue solitaire, — sounded gravely in the moonlight, and two cherrycoloured maids came fluttering out to receive Estella. The doorway soon absorbed her boxes, and she gave me her hand and a smile, and said good night, and was absorbed likewise. And still I stood looking at the house, thinking how happy I should be if I lived there with her, and knowing that I never was happy with her, but always miserable.