For my second quotation, responding to the tag challenge set me by Anne at Inked Brownies, I have picked another from the Classics:
‘I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.’
[Charles Dickens – Great Expectations]
I suppose not many readers think of Dickens as a writer of love stories. Great Expectations, like David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby and others are biographical in nature.They are life journeys, coming-of-age stories, and not romance in the usual sense. Yet the love Pip has for Estella (though not always reciprocated) is as passionate as any in literature. The story – boy meets girl, girl leaves boy, they find each other again – is typical of so many others.
But is it?
Dickens never intended the novel to have a Happy-Ever-After ending. The familiar passage at the conclusion of Great Expectations does indeed suggest a happy resolution. However, Dickens originally wrote a different one, where Pip and Estella part forever, and he was only persuaded to change it at the last minute by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, First Baron Lytton (better known for coining the phrases ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ and ‘It was a dark and stormy night.’ )
Even with Lytton’s intervention, there’s still something ambiguous about that last scene of Great Expectations.
Yet, even with Dickens wavering, I remain an optimist! Pip and Estella – like David Copperfield and Agnes Wickfield – SHOULD be together. Echoing (or nearly echoing) the words of Alan Jay Lerner, when commenting on Shaw’s ending to Pygmalion, that he preferred his own: