-1When I got into the court-yard, I found Estella waiting with the keys. But, she neither asked me where I had been, nor why I had kept her waiting; and there was a bright flush upon her face, as though something had happened to delight her. Instead of going straight to the gate, too, she stepped back into the passage, and beckoned me.
'Come here! You may kiss me, if you like.'
I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. But, I felt that the kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and that it was worth nothing.
And then she proceeded to act further from how I expected. She lightly took hold of my hand and pulled me off into a section of the garden which seemed secluded.
'Boy, you may--give me more than a kiss on the cheek.'
As I was confused as to what 'more' may entail, I stared at her pink face, baffled. I took note of the glorious shine with which her curls reflected from the sun's beaming rays into the garden. And I, too, thought of how, despite the relatively cool air and the gentle heat, I felt quite warm in my clothing. Which, in half-embarrassment and half-thoughtlessness I asked if she were also uncomfortable in her dress. As I had no intricately detailed idea of what a woman may wear under her dress, I still could not help but think that she must be quite warm, too.
'Why, yes I am. Would you do me the favor of helping me out of my dress?' she inquired. At my age I could not comprehend the severity of a woman unclothed, and only that a boy should do his best to fulfill a woman's request. I untied the strings on the back of her dress, and helped her lift it up over her gorgeous head and hair.
When her dress was removed, I could see her bare chest--flat at the time and provoking no particular thought in my mind--and her bloomers. She was just as stunning in her almost-nudity as she was clothed. I couldn't help but notice a drop in her elegance, though--particularly today. And without thinking, I reached and smoothed her hair that became ruffled from her dress. However, when I went to remove it from her head, she grabbed hold of my wrist and she commanded, "Keep it there, boy." I moved my other hand onto her head, as well, and played with her curls between my index finger and thumb. My other hand gently petted her brown hair that shone in the sun's beams. And, for a moment, I heard a gasp escape from her mouth--an unexpected 'common' lapse in breath from an uncommon girl--as I took an unusual notice of her chest.
It was heaving heavily. I noticed that her breathing had become a bit harder, and she felt warm. And while my hands played with her hair, her own hands had reached below, at my trousers. I grew uncomfortable now, as my own uncomfortable body temperature rose and I knew how improper it would be for a boy to be exposed in front of a beautiful woman. No less Estella, the great light which drew me in as an insect would. A coarse and filthy boy drawn to pure and glimmering light.
I can not remember too strongly what followed on that bright afternoon. From what I remember, the heat was overwhelming--and yet it was not hot. I felt heat, yes, and a burst of passion which I can not seem to detail in my memories. From then, my love for Estella had grown and spiraled into a towering pillar in which I put all of my expectations. And yet, even now, as I walk Estella through London, she can not recall that afternoon, she claims.
Though, along with the heat, there seems to be another lingering detail from the sky that remains locked in that lost day. Something else that drew my attention, that poured down along with the sun's light. Yes, as I remembered, with the exhausted Estella lying on her back, I looked up--and there I saw Miss Havisham's devilish grin looking directly into my eyes.