Alternate Ending for Great Expectations

Previously in Great Expectations

"Now let me go up and look at my old little room, and rest there a few minutes by myself, and then when I have eaten and drunk with you, go with me as far as the finger-post, dear Joe and Biddy, before we say good-bye!"

Chapter 59

It was many a year before I even heard anything new about the lovely and beautiful Estella. As always, I pictured her as the far-too-lovely girl I knew her to be. And as they kept talking about her, she was all I could think about. Time doesn't guarantee a cure against a broken heart, and every day I had heard about her it broke even more.

"Handel, my dear chap? Were you listening?"

"Forgive me, my dear Herbert," said I, looking at him from across the living room at Joe and Biddy's. They were quite happy together, and that fact was enough to gladden me that I had not asked Biddy to marry me. Joe and Biddy were perfectly content together, and nothing would ever change that. I continued, "What were you saying about Estella, Herbert?"

"Ah, yes… Handel, I was talking about her funeral arrangements," said Herbert, giving me a pitying look. "My poor Handel, I regret to inform you that Estella is deceased."

That was a ridiculous presumption, because Estella was not dead at all. She was alive (but most certainly not well) with Drummle, and I had already decided to have nothing more of her. She had chosen Drummle, not me.

I shake my head. "Herbert, please. Estella cannot be dead."

Oh, but she can, thought I unwillingly. You have not heard from her in many a year.

"I'm sorry, Handel. I'm so sorry." Herbert stood up and strode over to where I sat, shell-shocked. The good man and friend pat me on the shoulder before bidding adieu.

"Pip… Pip, it'll be all right," said Joe. Biddy sat beside him, nodding away. "She's just a girl, Pip. Just a girl."

"But, alas, my dear Joe. She is anything but."

--***--

The man speaking Estella's eulogy was tall and proud. Everything from his hat to his suit to his shoes was all matching, all black. The man talked like there was no tomorrow, smiling in odd places, and his face seemed quite disfigured with a manic happiness. Drummle was giving the eulogy Estella did not deserve, as he did not deserve her heart.

He killed her, most likely. The thought creeped into my feeble head, just when I thought I couldn't take any more. Estella was gone, dead, and only her shell remained.

The funeral procession happened not long after Drummle's touching eulogy. All of the mourners gathered round the grave as I, my eyes never leaving it, whispered, "I'm sorry I ever loved you, my dear Estella." I knew the pain would never cease as long as I should live.