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"He says, no varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself." (22.52)
Herbert gives us some wisdom straight from his dad: you can't hide someone's true nature. Matthew might like some other expressions: put lipstick on a pig, put rouge on the corpse, making a purse out of a swine's ear, putting a racing stripe on a … never mind. We'll let you complete that one yourself.
"He practised on her affection in that systematic way, that he got great sums of money from her, and he induced her to buy her brother out of a share in the brewery (which had been weakly left him by his father) at an immense price, on the plea that when he was her husband he must hold and manage it all." (22.52)
We just love when our boyfriends are "systematic" with us. It's so romantic. Which makes us ask: how could Miss Havisham possibly not know that Compeyson was conning her? Was she just fooling herself?
"The marriage day was fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter—"
"Which she received," I struck in, "when she was dressing for her marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?"
"At the hour and minute," said Herbert, nodding, "at which she afterwards stopped all the clocks." (22.55)
It's easy to roll your eyes at Miss Havisham for being way dramatic—it's just a wedding, get over it, lady—but it really does effectively end her life. In nineteenth-century England, being dumped like this is social homicide.