Great Expectations

by: Charles Dickens

Chapters 38–39

1

The nature of my relations with her, which placed me on terms of familiarity without placing me on terms of favour, conduced to my distraction. She made use of me to tease other admirers, and she turned the very familiarity between herself and me, to the account of putting a constant slight on my devotion to her.

2

She was even more dreadfully fond of Estella than she had been when I last saw them together; I repeat the word advisedly, for there was something positively dreadful in the energy of her looks and embraces. She hung upon Estella’s beauty, hung upon her words, hung upon her gestures, and sat mumbling her own trembling fingers while she looked at her, as if she were devouring the beautiful creature she had reared.

3

Before we left next day, there was no revival of the difference between her and Estella, nor was it ever revived on and similar occasion, and there were four similar occasions, to the best of my remembrance. Nor, did Miss Havisham’s manner towards Estella in anywise change, except that I believed it to have something like fear infused among its former characteristics.

4

All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.

5

“I was sent for life. It’s death to come back. There’s been overmuch coming back of late years, and I should of a certainty be hanged if took.” Nothing was needed but this; the wretched man, after loading me with his wretched gold and silver chains for years, had risked his life to come to me, and I held it there in my keeping!