Great Expectations eBook

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

Too heavily out of sorts to care much at the time whether it were he or no, or after all to touch the breakfast, I washed the weather and the journey from my face and hands, and went out to the memorable old house that it would have been so much the better for me never to have entered, never to have seen.

Chapter 44

In the room where the dressing-table stood, and where the wax candles burnt on the wall, I found Miss Havisham and Estella; Miss Havisham seated on a settee near the fire, and Estella on a cushion at her feet.  Estella was knitting, and Miss Havisham was looking on.  They both raised their eyes as I went in, and both saw an alteration in me.  I derived that, from the look they interchanged.

“And what wind,” said Miss Havisham, “blows you here, Pip?”

Though she looked steadily at me, I saw that she was rather confused.  Estella, pausing a moment in her knitting with her eyes upon me, and then going on, I fancied that I read in the action of her fingers, as plainly as if she had told me in the dumb alphabet, that she perceived I had discovered my real benefactor.

“Miss Havisham,” said I, “I went to Richmond yesterday, to speak to Estella; and finding that some wind had blown her here, I followed.”

Miss Havisham motioning to me for the third or fourth time to sit down, I took the chair by the dressing-table, which I had often seen her occupy.  With all that ruin at my feet and about me, it seemed a natural place for me, that day.

“What I had to say to Estella, Miss Havisham, I will say before you, presently — in a few moments.  It will not surprise you, it will not displease you.  I am as unhappy as you can ever have meant me to be.”

Miss Havisham continued to look steadily at me.  I could see in the action of Estella’s fingers as they worked, that she attended to what I said:  but she did not look up.

“I have found out who my patron is.  It is not a fortunate discovery, and is not likely ever to enrich me in reputation, station, fortune, anything.  There are reasons why I must say no more of that.  It is not my secret, but another’s.”

As I was silent for a while, looking at Estella and considering how to go on, Miss Havisham repeated, “It is not your secret, but another’s.  Well?”

“When you first caused me to be brought here, Miss Havisham; when I belonged to the village over yonder, that I wish I had never left; I suppose I did really come here, as any other chance boy might have come — as a kind of servant, to gratify a want or a whim, and to be paid for it?”

“Ay, Pip,” replied Miss Havisham, steadily nodding her head; “you did.”

“And that Mr. Jaggers—­”

“Mr. Jaggers,” said Miss Havisham, taking me up in a firm tone, “had nothing to do with it, and knew nothing of it.  His being my lawyer, and his being the lawyer of your patron, is a coincidence.  He holds the same relation towards numbers of people, and it might easily arise.  Be that as it may, it did arise, and was not brought about by any one.”

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Great Expectations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.