فصل 08

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Young Men in Love

I left London early next morning. When I got to Satis House, I rang the bell as usual and a servant opened the gate. Taking a candle, I walked along the dark and gloomy corridors and up the stairs. I knocked on the door of Miss Havisham’s dressing-room.

‘That’s Pip’s knock. Come in, Pip,’ I heard Miss Havisham say.

When I opened the door, Miss Havisham was sitting by the dressing-table as usual. Beside her, was an elegant young woman who I had not seen before.

‘Well, Pip?’ Miss Havisham said.

‘I heard that you wished to see me, Miss Havisham, so I came at once,’ I said.

As I spoke, the elegant young lady looked up at me. It was Estella. She smiled.

‘Has she changed, Pip?’ Miss Havisham asked. ‘She used to be proud and scornful. Do you remember?’

Although I was wearing my fine clothes, I felt clumsy and awkward. I was that common boy again who Estella had laughed at.

‘Has Pip changed?’ Miss Havisham asked Estella.

‘Very much,’ Estella answered.

As we talked, Estella’s smile tore at my heart. The more I saw of her, the more I loved her.

‘Isn’t she elegant, isn’t she beautiful? Don’t you admire her, Pip?’ Miss Havisham whispered.

‘Everyone who sees Estella must admire her,’ I replied.

‘Then love her, love her, Pip!’ Miss Havisham cried. ‘It does not matter how she behaves towards you. If she is good to you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces, love her, love her.

‘Never forget, Pip,’ Miss Havisham went on, ‘you must give everything for real love. You must give your whole heart, as I did, as I did!’

And she fell back into her chair with a cry.

Before I left Satis House, Estella and I walked together in the garden. I reminded Estella how I had once fought Herbert there.

‘Herbert and I are great friends now,’ I said.

‘Of course, with your new life, you have new friends,’ Estella answered. ‘The people who you knew before cannot be your companions now.’

I did not answer. Estella’s words made me feel ashamed of Joe and Biddy. I decided not to visit them at the forge as I had planned.

We walked on and I showed Estella the place where I had cried.

Estella stopped for a minute and looked at me.

‘I have not changed, Pip,’ she said. ‘If we are to meet again, you must understand that. Remember, I have no love in my heart for anyone. No love in my heart at all.’

I heard Estella’s words, but I did not believe them. Estella and I were going to be together. Miss Havisham had planned it.

But my love for Estella did not make me happy. I was in torment when I saw her and in torment when I did not see her.

Back in London, I could no longer keep my feelings to myself. When Herbert and I were having dinner, I made a decision.

‘My dear Herbert,’ I began, ‘I have something important to tell you. But it is a secret.’

Herbert smiled.

‘Your secret will be safe with me, Pip,’ he said.

I took a deep breath.

‘Herbert! I must tell you. I love… I adore Estella!’

Herbert smiled again.

‘I know that, my dear Pip,’ Herbert said. ‘I believe you adored her from the first moment you saw her!’

‘You are right, Herbert,’ I said. ‘And now she is a beautiful and elegant young woman.’

‘Then you are lucky that she has been chosen for you,’ Herbert said cheerfully. ‘But has Mr Jaggers ever said that Estella is part of your expectations, Pip?’

‘No, never,’ I said slowly.

‘Then perhaps she is not part of your expectations. Perhaps you should not think of Estella so much,’ Herbert said. ‘Think of the way she has been brought up. Think of Miss Havisham. Estella has the power to make you very unhappy, Pip. Could you not forget her for a time?’

I shook my head.

‘No, that’s impossible, quite impossible,’ I replied.

‘Well, then, I suppose there is nothing more to say,’ Herbert said kindly.

‘But you are not the only one in love, Pip,’ Herbert added. ‘I have a secret of my own. And my secret is - I am engaged to be married!’

‘Congratulations, Herbert,’ I said. ‘May I know the lady’s name?’

‘Her name is Clara. She lives with her father, who is an invalid. As I have no expectations and she is poor, we cannot marry yet. Not until I make my fortune!

‘That means hard work,’ Herbert went on. ‘One day I shall have enough money to marry and then how happy Clara and I will be!’

How lucky Herbert was! He was poor, but Clara loved him. I was in love with a beautiful woman and I had great expectations. But Estella was proud and had no love in her heart for me.

Would Estella ever forget her pride and love me?

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