Great Expecations is my selected book for a report at school; one of the prompts given was to take a certain character and turn the plotline into a diary belonging to that character. I chose Estella Havisham, a fascinating character who goes through some of the most difficult things a human being can endure.
This diary begins from 1804, the year Pip and Estella first meet (they're seven I think), and ends in 1832, when Estella and Pip reunite for the last time (both 35).
I'm not certain everything is perfect here, but I would appreciate other opinions on this before I hand it in. I hope you enjoy it(:
Let me be very clear. The only and sole reason I am writing in this little horrid book is because Mother says that ladies keep diaries, and since I am to be a great lady, I should keep one as well.
I honestly don't see the point in writing one's feelings down on paper, but Mother commands it, and I will obey, because she is the only mother I have ever known.
And yet, I am quite sure she does not act like an ordinary mother.
She wanders Satis House like a ghost, all white from her limp hair to her ancient dress that was once white, I suppose, and her singular worn slipper. Even her eyes. They are so very pale. They were once blue, I think. Azure or sky blue, even. Not anymore.
I have never seen her eat nor drink. But I am certain she must, else she would be dead. She is dead, I think. On the inside. She does not see, not really. She looks through me as though I am a window.
She teaches me. Every day I can remember, she has taught me. To read, to write, to play the piano, to play cards, to speak Latin, to speak French, to be beautiful. To be cold.
This house is so very cold.
Mother is quite mad! Apparently, she has decided to bring a little laboring boy to Satis House. Naturally, she chose not to inform me of this, so I was unpleasantly surprised to see that tiny coarse thing and a fat man waiting outside the gate. I let him in of course—the boy, not the fat man. Mother would never want to see someone like him. No, it was far more likely she would have business with a little boy. Perhaps a new servant she wanted. Young servants lasted longer, that's what she used to tell me. Little did I know that the rest of my precious day would be donated to that little thing.
What a fool he was. He only knew how to play one game of cards and he was covered in dirt and sweat and nasty things. I do not like him.
She had him call me, right from her door. I nearly dropped my book when I heard him bawling from her doorstep. I don't like the way my name sounded on his lips, but I imagine she relished in it.
She made me feed him, like a dog down in the yard. I was very cruel to him. He thinks I'm pretty. I made him cry; I heard him, kicking a wall and tugging at his dirty hair. It made my heart jump a little. I think it was happiness. Or, maybe not quite such a strong word. Pride, perhaps.
Of course I know why she has brought him here. She wants to watch us play. Not cards and not chess—oh, no. She wants him to play in her little game and I will be the one to end it all. She wants me to practice on him, she said it right in front of him, and I am sure he heard.
A fool he is, not to run from me.
She will insist on inviting that blacksmith boy back to Satis House regularly, I can tell. Pip, he calls himself. What a stupid, common name. Who names a child Pip? I hate him, and I make sure that he knows that.
She goads me. I see it in her eyes—those very same pale ones—as she talks with that blacksmith boy. As she bids him whisper in her ear about me, knowing full well I can hear every word.
He will be my first victim. How easy it will be. I pity the thing.
I know she is peculiar, Mother. One cannot deny that! But today she is acting much stranger than usual. I believe it was because those ugly, silly Pockets are here. And Pip too.
That Herbert Pocket keeps trying to talk to me—as if I'd speak even a word to him. He is bumbling and pale and shy—somewhat like Pip. I ignored him until he left me alone, which is the only reason I have time to write.
Mother hates the Pockets a great deal. As do I. She becomes the image of anxiety when they come to Satis House, crowding the halls and our ears with their ridiculous voices. I can see her rubbing absently at her hands, leaving the skin bloody and raw and ripped. It takes me days to heal it for her; I am the only one who cares. I do not think she would even notice herself rotting away. They all are waiting for her to die, and she knows it. I do wish they would just leave.
She is having Pip walk her around the banquet room. Again and again. I hate that room, with its cobwebs and mold and that rotten wedding cake. It is the very picture of Mother's broken soul.
Oh, I am so delighted! Today, the very same day of my last entry, Pip made something happen! Something interesting!
Herbert Pocket, the little wretch, challenged him to a fistfight downstairs. I, watching from behind the walls, thought for certain Pip was done for, but one blow and Herbert was sprawled right across the floor! I could hardly keep from laughing! But I could not let them see me, so I kept silent.
As a reward, I even let Pip kiss me before he left. On the cheek, mind you. I saw his face before I locked the gate; he looked so dazed—and overjoyed at the same time. Like a dog that been rewarded with a treat.
Except, when he put his lips on my cheek, perhaps he did not seem so coarse and common then.
Mother was furious at me today. She spotted Pip and me the day of my last entry-three days ago, exactly.
That is one of her strange ways. When I do something wrong, she waits to punish me. As if she wants my guard to fall before she does so.
She will separate us, Pip and me. She is sending me away to France to study—to become a real lady. And she will ensure that Pip is chained to his brother-in-law until I return. I smile to think he will wallow in soot and grime, while I live in luxury and lace. But Mother dashed that smile to the rocks.
"You have failed miserably, Estella," she said to me in that feeble voice of hers. "You will learn to keep yourself in check. I will make sure of that." And then she touched my face with her fingers—like ice, like bone, and when she moved them away they scratched my skin like a blade. It won't leave a mark—she could never damage my face—but it took all my strength not to flinch away.
Her cold disappointment stung me. I despise her like this. She thinks herself better than me, even in her state of insanity. I will not fight her. But I will be ready the next time she tests me.
I pity Pip—at least, I think I do. I don't know the name of this feeling I have for him.
And to think I was just beginning to like that poor little boy.
I leave today. I will leave Satis House behind, and I will abandon Mother in my wake, and everything with them. I will become someone new.
I will leave you, as well, you miserable little book. I'm afraid I cannot let my past chase me.
I will be too great for that.
It has been...so long. Years. I had nearly forgotten about you, hidden where you were. But you were still there, waiting for me. And I could not resist.
How funny, a little reminder from my miserable childhood, and I still keep you? I wonder why I would do such a thing. I often wonder about the things I do.
I have spent eleven years in France, learning. Studying. Blossoming, one might say. I thought Mother would burst into tears of joy when I first stepped from my carriage and into Satis House wearing the finery her seemingly endless fortune had given me.
I have not missed this place.
Mother keeps talking, asking me about my stay. Pestering me about the men I have broken. I try to comply. She is ever-thirsty for more. Her voice has no end, as she sits beside me at her vanity and puts her jewelry on me.
I should feel something, I think, when she is proud of me. I feel nothing. That should worry me. But it does not.
I cannot believe I am here again. I cannot wait to leave again.
Jaggers was here this morning, talking with Mother in hushed tones. She was wringing her hands again, breaking the skin—again. Jaggers looked as if to be arguing with her. The talking halted when I entered the room. I wonder what they are planning.
Mother tells me Pip has gone to London—to receive "great expectations." I do wonder if that's what she and Jaggers were arguing about. I asked her if we are the benefactresses to Pip.
"I should think not!" said she. And then her eyes glinted and she gave me a weird sort of grin. Having spent so long away from her, I shuddered inwardly as she added, "But he doesn't know that." Then she turned me toward her spotted, pocked mirror and set about arranging her jewels on me again.
Pip, Pip. Strangely enough, that dirty boy had entered my thoughts on more than one account during my studies in France. Other boys I was ruining reminded me of him. I wondered if Mother would make me continue my rampage of Pip's heart—I know now she does. If I could hope not, I would.
If I wished one man to escape me, I would choose Pip. He is too good. But I know that will never happen.
Pip was here to-day. Mother invited him. Of course she did. I am not surprised. He is her prerogative; she owns him. He is the only one she has persisted after. Or, persisted that I persist him.
He was...much changed. Handsome, I think. Adult. He does not know of his benefactor's identity. I believe he assumes Mother is the source. I think I fear for him. The fool. Hope causes pain. I would know; I cause both.
He did not recognize me, I think. I'm not sure it that is a bad thing. I was sitting at Mother's feet, on the hem of her ragged dress, like I always have. But he did not know me, not right away.
Then he looked at me, in the eyes. And he at once turned into the Pip I knew, the one who looked away and stuttered and was forever dazed by my face. I wanted that Pip to vanish. I hated that.
But I remained the woman Mother made me to be. I laughed. I talked. I answered Mother's questions. I encouraged him. I could see her relishing in Pip's amazement. She so wants to watch me hurt him.
I tried to warn him against me in private. We were taking a turn about the brewery yard. He seemed to remember everything about those old days. That first day, in particular. He told me every detail that he recalled—mostly about myself. I told him I remembered nothing.
I have always felt sorry for him. He cares for me so, and he doesn't even know why he was brought to Satis House in the first place. He doesn't even know I was toying with him—and still am. My pity even pushed me to tell him about my lack of heart. He didn't believe me.
He should, for it is true. Mother made sure of that.
Speaking of Mother, she isn't making the circumstances better. I heard her as I left the room.
"Love her, love her, love her!" she cried.
I think that will haunt me.
I have neglected you for long—not as long as my journey to France, I assure you. But I am travelling to London to-day on Mother's request and I saw you, sitting in my room. I don't quite know why I brought you with me, but here we are, on the midday coach, and I find myself writing in you.
I will not stay in London for long. My true destination is Richmond, where a temporary room has been prepared for me. A Mrs. Brandley will be my guardian while I am away from Mother. She is a very old friend of Mother's, I believe. I was not even aware she had friends left.
Pip is to meet me at the coach office in Wood street, Cheapside. That was Mother's doing as well. She bade me write him, and no doubt he rushed to the coach office as soon as he received my note. I wonder if he thinks of me often.
I am not very eager to spend time with Pip. No, that is a lie. Pip is kind to me. I enjoy being around someone who does not fawn over me as openly as others do. But I don't want to tempt myself into hurting him.
That feeling is coming back—the one that never quite left. I named it "pity" when I was a girl, but once again I know not what to call it.
Maybe that should worry me.
Pip is…different. I had seen the old Pip back at Satis House; the one that could hardly say a word to me without mumbling to his muddy boots. But he seems more confident now—not necessarily proud, yet regal all the same. He no longer stutters around me. I like that.
He questioned me about my stay (no doubt planning to visit frequently). I told him about the Pockets' hatred of him. For indeed there had been a constant stream of letters dirtying Pip's name flowing into Satis House while I was there. Mother had simpered and scoffed at the things and burned them in the fireplace. Neither of us could believe such things about sensible Pip.
I assured him of this—that his status with Mother could never be affected by the silly Pockets. He looked relieved. Then I understood the gravity of Mother's and my effect on him; he cared very much what we thought of him, I soon found out.
Pip kissed me again—twice. Once, on my hand, when I had held it out in a jest. I withdrew it instantly, for the mere touch of his lips startled me. I chastised him, but he eagerly asked for my cheek again. I am not sure why I gave it to him. I of course made sure those kisses did not last, and I moved on as though they had never happened.
During our coach ride, he pointed certain things out to me. He seemed to know the area well. I confessed to him that the city was something new to me; I have never left Mother for anywhere else but France before. I am astonished I said that; I would never say such a thing to anyone else. Something about Pip draws secrets out of me.
He was sad to see me go when he let me off at Mrs. Brandley's house, despite my assurance that he would see me often. That made him glad, I think.
He has taken a step further into my trap to-day.
It's been days since I have even looked at you, little one. Mrs. Brandly has kept me occupied with all her parties and picnics and operas and plays. I drew a lot of attention, I think. Men flocked to me—as I knew they would. Mother had prepared me for it since I was a girl.
And I played well. In the past few weeks, I have scorned more than a few gentlemen, once respected. Mother would weep with joy. There was William Smith, a gangly, freckled boy who was all too excited by my attention. Then there was Jonathon Goode, a wealthy but ugly thing whom I was glad to see crumple. And then there was Francois Dupont, a foreigner from France who was delighted to find I speak fluent French. It was interesting to break someone's heart in another language.
Pip had been there through every one, even if he didn't see every heartbreak. He accompanied me to many of Mrs. Brandley's outings. I don't doubt he saw every young man as a suitor of mine. I would glance to my side when I knew he wasn't looking at me for once, and he would be surveying the room with narrowed eyes. I would laugh into my cup of wine; Pip was jealous! And sometimes, just to see that delicious green appear on his face, I would tease someone in front of him. And emerald he would turn.
But seeing him like that only reminds me of how much he cares for me. And I tried to warn him once again to-night. This time I was very clear. I told him he was blind. He pointed out that I was the one who wrote him.
I changed the subject and asked him if he would take me to Satis for a day. He looked troubled—discomforted. But of course he agreed. He would do anything, I think, to hear a kind word from me.
Am I feeling guilty?
I've quarreled with Mother—quite horribly. She called me cold-hearted. Ha! The nerve she has! After an entire lifetime of honing and shaping and training me to be cold—and she complains! She wailed that I do not love her.
I snapped that anything she wants is hers for the taking, but I could not answer that accusation. Do I love Mother? No. I am sure I do not. She has never acted like a mother to me, why should I feel a daughter? I cannot believe I have never seen her true level of madness; it's wondrous that I managed to live in Satis House for this long!
I watched her crumple—like I had watched so many men before her, and I simply stood there, waiting. And when she finally righted herself, I resumed my old positions. I took a needle and thread and set about mending her tatters of a dress. I took the old dusty deck of cards that had gone untouched for over a decade and spread them in front of her. I dared not clear the floor for her. I had lived with her long enough to know not an object was to be moved.
Pip sat across from me, and we played, exactly as we used to, though now Pip was far more skillful. Beggar my neighbor was no longer his only game. He was the first to retire. I sat in silence after his departure, the cards collected in my hands, and I waited.
I waited for Mother to say something. But she did not. She only stared at nothing with her glassy eyes. So I returned the cards to their former place, where their coating of dust would soon collect once more, placed a cold kiss on her deadened cheek, and left her alone.
It feels odd to sleep in my old room again.
Again I neglect you, little diary. But once more I have been very busy. I have decided that the time for practice is over. I am tired of meaninglessly breaking hearts over and over. I want the game to end once and for all—and with a finish, no less.
Mother disagrees, but I threatened to go on without her counsel. Of course, she complied instantly. She would rather die than have no hand in my conquests. We shall soon choose my greatest target—someone much larger than Jonathon or Francois or Geoffrey the German count.
I attend Mrs. Brandley's parties with a now watchful eye. I make note of our candidates and write Mother about every one. I will allow her to make my decision for me.
I have not seen Pip for a number of days. I wonder where he is. He has accompanied me to so many balls, I often find myself looking beside me for a dancing partner, or someone to smirk at. It disappoints me that he is no longer there. Who knew that I could miss the coarse and common laboring boy?
Mother has chosen Bentley Drummle. A man of great wealth, little intelligence, and a large need of me. Of my wounding skill, of course. He will be fairly easy to entrap, I think. Even when Pip was by my side, he was one of the many who followed me around. He was one of the few who dared to even speak to me. There was nothing impressive about his words, but that isn't what I'm committing to.
I return to Satis once again today. This time not to visit or to fight, but to plan. Mother will be waiting for me at the door like an eager puppy, and for once, I travel with a lighter disposition.
Drummle needs to be put in his place. I will be the one to do it.
Mother will be so delighted.
Pip, oh Pip! What a fool you are!
He followed me to Satis House! It was with a great shock that I looked up from my knitting to see him standing in Mother's doorway like an avenging angel.
Angel. How strange I should call him that…yet true, for I have never seen kind, benign Pip look so frustrated in our lives. I daresay I froze. He began to rant, to accuse Mother of her true intentions in bringing him to Satis House as a child, feeding him lies, of my heartlessness. Mother denied nothing, and so did I.
If I had a heart, it would have sunk. He declared he loves me. So sure, so certain. Yes, it is true that I have known this for many a year, but never before have I heard the words from his own lips! I felt very cold when I reminded him of my warnings, and he looked positively crushed when he replied miserably, "Yes." I couldn't stop. I had to go on—dash his hopes with the reality of my upcoming marriage to Drummle. He looked like he could cry.
I gritted my teeth and told him I was sure this "love" would pass. And something struck me when he looked me in the eyes and proclaimed, "Never, Estella!"
Oh, if I was capable of love, I would love Pip. I am sure of it. It took all of my will to hold back apologies. When I look back, I am appalled. I have never felt such remorse. Again, there is something about Pip that makes me—dare I claim it?—human.
And I felt guilt when he stormed away.
To-day is my wedding day. I thought I should mark this day here, diary, even though I have not marked many days in the past few months. Mother cried for hours this morning, as she was dressing me. Yes, Mother dressed me. She arranged the jewels in my hair and on my throat and on my breast and placed icy kisses on my face, and I smiled, but all I felt was cold.
Mrs. Brandley was the one to accompany me in the coach to the church. My dress felt very tight, and suddenly it was difficult to breathe. She was watching me with eyes that looked very beady through the filaments of my veil.
I will tell you a secret. I nearly panicked—no, I did panic. For a moment, I contemplated jumping out of the coach and running to the dark safety of Satis House.
"I can't do it, I can't do it!" I cried. I even reached for the handle of the door, but Mrs. Brandley stopped me with her pudgy hand—a hand that felt like iron. Who knew such a fat woman could be so strong?
"Compose yourself, my dear," said she coolly, and she rearranged my dress, and we sat in silence until I got out.
It felt like a dream. I floated up the aisle on the arm of Bentley's age-old father, felt Bentley's cool kiss, and stared out of our brand-new carriage blankly, watching my old life flee from me.
My new life began to-day.
Oh, thank God! I have finally found you! I must write quickly, for I have little time before Bentley returns home.
Life is miserable here. What a fool I was! From the day of our wedding, Bentley has abused and refused me. I cannot believe I used to think Pip coarse and common—I think I have not known coarse and common until now. Oh, such a fool to think I could affect such a soulless man!
Deceiving would be the word to describe Bentley Drummle. I am disgusted that I carry his name. "Mrs. Estella Drummle." He muttered that over and over for many weeks, cackling about it. He is much cleverer than I thought.
He always finds ways to make sure the bruises never show.
In the first few days of our marriage, I was confused to see that my coolness did not bother him. Then even my ignorance. Then even my hatred. And then my tears.
I have everything I could need. Fine gowns, jewels even more beautiful than Mother's, rich food, expensive wine, and a large, priceless estate. But I am miserable. Can a person perish of unhappiness? I think I will. I hope I will!
Oh, what I wouldn't give to be at Richmond again, with Pip by my side!
How strange is it, that I find myself thinking of him again and again? Of how he looked at me with adoration? How ridiculous that I used to find it disturbing? I would give anything to have that again; all my riches, all my money, all my luxury.
I will have to hide you in the same place Bentley did; I can only hope he won't notice the new ink in it.
Please, God, don't let him notice.
Forgive me, little diary, for the tears that smudge this page. He's locked me in this damp closet, forgetting you were here. I don't know how long I will be here; the last time he did this, I was there for at least two days.
I'm alright. I had food and water those days, though they were rank and stale. I survived.
But I am in such agony! My bones ache, and so does my heart. Oh, if Estella the little girl saw those words, she would laugh out loud. But that place where my heart is supposed to be has begun to hurt. Sometimes it hurts so badly I wonder if Bentley has somehow managed to stab me there and leave the knife festering in the wound.
I think I may have one now—a heart, I mean—but I don't want it! I never knew how much pain a heart can deal! If I could carve mine out, I would, just to get away from this suffering!
Oh, Pip, wherever you are, I am so very sorry. And if I do not die in this closet, I will make amends.
But I am not sure that I don't want to die in this closet.
I received the worst letters to-day. When the porter of the hotel came in to bring it over breakfast, I had assumed there would be none for me. I had no one to write to. Bentley was the one to read it to me.
He had grunted in surprise, narrowing his tiny eyes at the two envelopes in his hand. "For you," he grumbled, but he did not give them to me, and I did not reach for it. Instead, he ripped it open with his teeth and read it aloud. I would have dropped my knife if my fingers had not been frozen.
Mother is dead.
The letter was from a surgeon back in England, and it formally recounted that Mother had been standing too close to the fireplace of her room, and her dress had caught fire. Pip had been the one to extinguish her, but she had succumbed to her injuries and perished.
"Old hag is probably better off," were Bentley's words of consolation to me.
I looked at the date of the letter and tried to remember where I was when Mother had passed away. Bentley and I had come to Paris over a week ago for a sort of vacation. On the date of Mother's death, I…had been confined to our hotel room because of bruise on my jaw, where it would no doubt be seen.
Bentley had struck me when I did not move quickly enough for him, leaving me in tears on the floor. I had spent the day there, not moving. Much like Mother spent most of her life.
I kept my eyes on my plate, knowing that the slightest show of emotion would raise suspicion. I am determined not to let Bentley see that I am mourning inside.
It is over.
Dear diary, rejoice! It's finally over, for Bentley Drummle—that ungrateful swine—is dead! Oh, if only I had known when I rose this morning with my aching limbs and bruises, that my suffering would end to-day!
I was eating alone, with only my statue-like scullion maids in the room. Thankfully, Bentley would not take his meal with me, but had left early to train a new horse. I could hear its screaming whinnies even from inside the house. Then I heard the most horrible noises—a crunch and a human scream, and I began to run.
The servants tried to stop me as I hurried down the steps, panic and worry etched across their faces, but I kept on, pushing them out of my way. I only stopped when the sight of Bentley, dead, his forehead kicked in, was before me. All eyes were on me, waiting with bated breath for my reaction.
But I only stepped over Bentley's body and soothed the terrified horse into calmness with a gentle, warm hand.
I think I have waited my whole life to call myself "warm."
How funny, diary. I have found you again. Over our many years together, I cannot count how many times I have lost you, whether I hid you from myself, forgotten about you, for had you stolen from me. It seems too many an entry begins with "I found you." Nevertheless it's the truth.
Yet again too much time has passed. Over a decade since my last entry, I think. I remain a widow. I will not marry again, despite Jaggers writing me constantly. Apparently, I am financially insecure as simply Estella Havisham. (I have had my name changed back to Mother's. I will not wear Drummle's.) He thinks I should have a husband to look over my two estates—Drummle's and Mother's—and all my money. I think I can take care of myself.
I have deftly kept away from Satis House. I do not think I can return there. Before, it was Drummle who banned me. Now I fear it is Mother's ghost. For if any ghost should inhabit Satis, it would be hers, or mine, if I were dead.
But I do not think I can stay in Drummle's house any longer.
I have not heard of Pip in many years. Oh, doubt me not, I have sent Jaggers to find what he could on him, but all I received is that he departed to Cairo, Egypt with Mr. Herbert Pocket.
I think I should like to see him again.
Do you know what happiness is, dear diary? I had spent the entirety of my journey back to Satis reading through your pages, and I do not think I have known what happiness is in my life. I have certainly thought I knew what it was, but never have.
All my life, I was sure that happiness could be achieved through the agony of others. That was lesson that Mother bored into me all those years. Bentley Drummle taught me differently. And so did Pip.
I saw him to-day. I was visiting the ruins of Satis House, thinking of Mother and reminiscing about my years wasted there, and who should happen upon me but Pip?
I think I love him, diary. That is the feeling young Estella could never name. Love. For when I saw him walking to me, my newly-acquired heart jumped.
His handsome face was not quite as young as I remembered, but I am sure neither was mine. I felt my heart warming, diary. Something I have never felt before. I admitted to him that I have thought of him very often, and he told me, with such a certainty I have never seen in a man before, that he had not stopped loving me.
I think I know now, diary. Mother was very close. She raised me to be loved, sure that both she and I could find solace in such a practice. My real mother, whoever she may be, gave me to Jaggers because I was loved. I grew up with an imbalance I wasn't even aware of, but I am now.
To be happy means to be loved and to love.
And I was sure, as Pip and I walked away from the ruined, moldy shards of our childhood hand in hand, that I can learn to be happy once and for all.