Alternate Ending to Great Expectations

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Our obligations to our relations having been lessened considerably, obstacles to our union failed to present themselves. Though she never told me so in words, Estella had grown weary in her way of life. The selling of her final worldly possession, and all those memories associated with it, had, I suspect, been her final step. If Providence had not found me treading the familiar grounds of Satis House, she would have been beyond my reach forever. Gone was the quick, flashing eye that irritated my sensibilities and quickened my heart when we were younger. Her beauty had faded into a shadow of her brilliance during those winter nights in society. That evening on the hallowed grounds of our meeting place, she picked her steps slowly, content to leave her hand in mine. Her gaze was melancholy, solemn. They were worldly eyes. They had seen a darker side of existence. "I am afraid of what comes after we leave this place forever," she said, her tread hesitating for an instant. The insects trilled in the twilight, ignorant of our fates that had been so long intertwined with one another's for more than half our lives. Ahead loomed the gloomy gate that would never be erased from my memories. Years later, with her slumbering beside me, I would dream of Estella approaching me from the other side of it, the ring of keys securely in her hand, as she had done dozens of times over in our childhood. Pressing her hand over my breast, I answered, "We heal. Imagine the bad away, and reflect on the little fortunes we have left. And above all, live in peace with ourselves, Estella." "Pip," she breathed, smiling sadly at me. "In years past, my only response to such a fancy would be scorn. I would retort that you are unworthy of me. But now, I see it is the reverse." "Nonsense," I chided quietly. "You are the only one who has made me feel whole. Long have these years been, but you were never forgotten. In my thoughts you have remained my anchor and my undoing all at once. I only wished...
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