Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love her

Then, Estella being gone and we two left alone, she turned to me, and said in a whisper:

"Is she beautiful, graceful, well-grown? Do you admire her?"

"Everybody must who sees her, Miss Havisham."

She drew an arm round my neck, and drew my head close down to hers as she sat in the chair. "Love her, love her, love her! How does she use you?"

Before I could answer (if I could have answered so difficult a question at all), she repeated, "Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces — and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper — love her, love her, love her!"

Never had I seen such passionate eagerness as was joined to her utterance of these words. I could feel the muscles of the thin arm round my neck, swell with the vehemence that possessed her.

"Hear me, Pip! I adopted her to be loved. I bred her and educated her, to be loved. I developed her into what she is, that she might be loved. Love her!"

She said the word often enough, and there could be no doubt that she meant to say it; but if the often repeated word had been hate instead of love — despair — revenge — dire death — it could not have sounded from her lips more like a curse.

"I'll tell you," said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, "what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter — as I did!"

When she came to that, and to a wild cry that followed that, I caught her round the waist. For she rose up in the chair, in her shroud of a dress, and struck at the air as if she would as soon have struck herself against the wall and fallen dead.


— from Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.

Pretty powerful when told to you by Hugh Laurie amid a crowd of strangers on the metro platform at 8 in the morning.

3 comments:

Bybee said...

OK, that settles it. I'm not an audiobook fan, and I do need to read Great Expectations, but I'm going to do it with Hugh Laurie. Maybe I should rephrase that...nevermind...

Miss Havisham said...

How delightful. I wish that I could have been there on that lovely platform.

stefanie said...

I'm not much of an audio book listener but Hugh Laurie, well I think I could enjoy that one.