فصل 09

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 09

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CHAPTER NINE

I Come of Age

I now come to a time of my life of which I am bitterly ashamed. I forgot my old friends, Joe and Biddy. I did not visit them at the forge. I spent too much money and got into debt. I thought only of the time when I would be twenty-one. The time when I would receive my fortune and be able to marry Estella.

One day, I received a message from Estella. It was a short note, but it made me very happy.

Satis House

I am coming to London in two days’ time. Miss Havisham wants you to meet me at the coach office in Cheapside. The coach arrives at five o’clock.

Yours, Estella

I met Estella at the coach office and then took her to Richmond. She was more beautiful than ever. Estella was going to live in the house of an important lady. She was going to be introduced to the rich and powerful people of London society.

Now that Estella was living in London, I tried to see her as often as I could. I would often go to Richmond and wait for many hours outside her house, hoping to see her.

Sometimes Estella allowed me to see her and once she let me kiss her. But she was often as proud and cold as she had been in the old days.

At this time I started to get more and more into debt. Living in London cost a lot of money. I bought fashionable clothes and expensive food and drink. Herbert and I joined a club for young gentlemen, and we went to the theatre, the opera and well-known restaurants. But the allowance I received was not enough to pay all of my debts. And Herbert was poor and he did not have the expectation of a fortune. He could not pay his debts.

On my twenty-first birthday I would come of age. I would become a rich man of property. On that day I would receive my fortune. I waited anxiously for that day.

I had not seen Biddy and Joe for many months. Then one day, a letter arrived from Biddy with bad news. My sister, Mrs Joe, was dead.

I went by coach from London to the funeral in the country. My sister was buried near my parents, in that lonely churchyard near the marshes.

As I stood in the graveyard beside Biddy and Joe, I thought of the convict I had met there long ago. In my mind, I saw his face and heard his terrible voice. I remembered how he had frightened me.

Now that Mrs Joe was dead, Biddy was going back to the village. She was going to teach in the school.

After supper, I walked with Biddy in the garden. Biddy told me, in her quiet way, how much Joe loved me and how good he was.

‘I know that, Biddy,’ I said quickly. ‘I won’t forget Joe now he’s alone. I shall come here to see him often.’

Biddy said nothing.

‘Didn’t you hear what I said, Biddy?’ I asked.

‘Yes, Mr Pip.’

‘Don’t call me “Mr Pip”, Biddy,’ I said crossly. ‘And why don’t you answer my question?’

‘Are you quite sure that you will want to come from London to see Joe?’ Biddy said at last, looking at me carefully.

‘What a terrible thing to say, Biddy!’ I cried. ‘You have shocked me very much.’

She did not answer.

I slept badly that night, for Biddy’s words had upset me.

When I got up in the morning, Joe was already at work in the forge. I went in and shook him by the hand.

‘Goodbye, dear Joe! I shall be back soon and often,’ I said.

‘Never too soon, sir, and never too often, Pip old chap,’ Joe replied.

I shook hands with Biddy too, although I was still a little angry with her.

But Biddy was quite right, of course. In London, my thoughts were only of Estella and my great expectations. I did not go back to see Joe as I had promised.

And then, at last, it was my twenty-first birthday. Mr Jaggers called me to his office. I first shook hands with Wemmick and then went in to Mr Jaggers.

‘Congratulations, Mr Pip,’ the lawyer said. ‘I expect you have some questions to ask me. I shall answer them if I can.’

I took a deep breath and began to speak.

‘Am I going to learn the name of my benefactor today, Mr Jaggers?’

‘No. Ask me another.’

‘Will I know the name soon?’

‘I can’t answer that at the moment,’ Mr Jaggers said. ‘Have you another question?’

‘Have I… anything to receive, sir?’

Mr Jaggers smiled and asked me a question.

‘You are in debt, I suppose?’

I said nothing.

‘Come, Pip, are you in debt or not?’

‘I’m afraid I am, Mr Jaggers.’

‘Of course. You know you are,’ he said. ‘Wemmick!’ he called. ‘Give Mr Pip that piece of paper. Now, take it in your hand and look at it, Pip.’

‘This is a banknote for 500 pounds,’ I said in surprise.

‘Right. And that sum of money is yours, Pip. It is a small part of your expectations. You will have that sum of money each year. You will not get into debt. Later, you will learn the name of your benefactor. These are my instructions.’

I thought for a moment. ‘Is it possible that my benefactor may come to London - or ask me to go anywhere else?’

‘It is possible, but not yet,’ Mr Jaggers said. ‘That is all I have to say at present, Pip.’

As I left Mr Jaggers’ office, I was already making plans. First of all, I must pay all my debts. Secondly, I wanted to help Herbert.

Herbert worked hard, but he had no money and no expectations. I knew that Herbert would not accept money from me. So, with Wemmick’s help, I made arrangements for him to become a partner in a small business in London. He would work hard and soon be able to marry Clara. My expectations would help them both.

Soon after my birthday, I received a short note from Estella.

It is time for me to visit Miss Havisham. She tells me you must take me to Satis House. The day after tomorrow, if you please.

Estella

Everything at Satis House was the same. We sat together by the fire in the big room. Miss Havisham looked at Estella, proud of her beauty.

Estella told Miss Havisham about all her admirers. Miss Havisham asked many questions and listened to Estella’s answers with a cruel smile.

As Estella was speaking, Miss Havisham held her arm tightly. But after a time, Estella moved away impatiently.

‘Are you tired of me, you ungrateful girl?’ Miss Havisham cried. ‘Do you have a heart of stone?’

‘I am what you have made me,’ Estella answered, with a proud, hard look. ‘You have looked after me. I owe you everything. What do you want from me now?’

‘Love,’ Miss Havisham answered sadly.

Estella laughed.

‘You adopted me. You became my mother,’ Estella said. ‘All that I am, all that I have, is yours. But I cannot give you what you never gave me. Love.’

‘I gave her love, didn’t I?’ Miss Havisham cried, looking at me. ‘I gave her all the love I had - strong, burning love! You know I’m telling the truth.’

‘Your love was not true love,’ Estella answered coldly. ‘Your plan has always been clear. You wanted revenge for the love you lost. I have learnt your lessons well. I have always followed your teaching.’

‘So proud, so hard,’ Miss Havisham said, crying softly.

‘Who taught me to be proud? Who praised me when I was hard?’ Estella replied.

‘But not proud and hard to me! You cannot be proud and hard to me, Estella!’ Miss Havisham cried, holding out her arms to the beautiful girl.

Estella looked at Miss Havisham coldly.

‘I have never forgotten the wrong done to you. I have behaved as you wanted me to behave,’ Estella said. ‘I am what you have made me. That is all.’

Miss Havisham sank down on the floor, crying bitterly. Her long white hair spread out around her.

‘But I wanted you to love me! Love me!’ she cried.

Estella, tall and straight, stared at the fire. After a time, we helped Miss Havisham to her feet. When I left, the two women were sitting side by side, silent in that terrible, decaying room.

In London, Estella had many admirers. Everywhere Estella went - to the theatre, to balls, to dinners - men fell in love with her. To my horror, Bentley Drummle was one of Estella’s admirers. He was very rich and I thought that Estella made him believe that she liked him.

One night, at a ball, Drummle had been paying more attention to Estella than usual.

‘Why do you let him near you, Estella?’ I asked. ‘Drummle is stupid and bad-tempered. All he has is money and his important family name. But you give him looks and smiles that you never give to me.’

Estella answered angrily.

‘Do you want me to treat you like the others?’ she asked. ‘Do you want me to deceive and entrap you?’

‘Do you deceive and entrap Drummle then, Estella?’

‘Yes. Him and many others. All of them but you, Pip. Will you never be warned?’

‘About what?’

‘Don’t fall in love with me. It will bring you nothing but sorrow.’

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