NEHS Director

Love Hurts: Great Expectations

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ 212th birthday on February 7, Valentine’s Day, and our namesake, The Charles Dickens Chapter, please enjoy the fictional love advice column written by NEHS Chapter Officers at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas.

“She Shines like the Stars
February 7, 1840
London, United Kingdom
Printed in The Times

Dear Charles Dickens,

I am hopelessly in love in with a woman above my station. I will refer to her as “my star.”

Since our initial meeting as young children, my star has tormented my very soul, exposing me for my commonness and teasing me with superficial flirtations, as if she were puppeteered by a scorned lover plotting her revenge on the wretched male sex.

Alas, I am both infatuated and miserable. I have developed a case of the morbs.

Recently, I was bequeathed a large sum of money by an anonymous benefactor, with the instructions that I should use the funds to become a gentleman. I thought to myself: what luck is this! My stars are aligning, and I can finally become a gentleman worthy of my beacon of light.

In my quest to become a noble gentleman, I have completed the following tasks:

  1. Moved from the marshes to London, renting a room from a pale, young gentleman who instructs me in the art of manners, so I may appear more sophisticated and afternoonish to my star.
  2. Enlisted the assistance of a tutor, Matthew Pocket, to receive a gentleman’s education, so I may appear more knowledgeable and worldly to my star.
  3. Turned my back on my loyal and loving family and friends from my past whose commonness may offend my star.
  4. Recklessly spent my money on furnishings, clothes, social membership in The Finches of the Grove, etc., so I appear more refined to my star.

And yet, I appear to be just as miserable as before, and I feel galaxies away from my star. Can you give me advice on how to navigate this divide and capture her heart before I become an arrogant and penniless snob?

With Desperation,
Pip Pirrip

Dear One with Great Expectations for Love,

You seem to have found yourself in a star-crossed situation. Have you ever considered what is at the root of your infatuation with this star? Do you love this star for who she is or what she represents? Is your desire to dig yourself out of your perceived commonness actually driving you into her unwelcoming arms? Are you trying to convince this star of your potential or yourself?

Perhaps, you have a female friend back home in the marshes who could lend a sympathetic yet honest ear, who could offer sound advice, even if it is not the advice you would like to hear.

My advice to you is this: Always remember that affection, loyalty, and conscience are more important than social advancement, wealth, and class. Your relentless pursuit of this star has less to do with your feelings of love and more to do with your insecurity. You will find more fulfillment by embracing your true self, by rekindling authentic relationships from your past, and by realizing your destiny might not be aligned with your star’s galaxy.

Charles Dickens

Rachel Weissmann has been attending Saint Mary’s Hall, in San Antonio, TX, for 6 years, and is  the current president of the Charles Dickens’ NEHS chapter. She enjoys creative and argumentative writing, and hopes to advance her passion for writing in college and beyond! 

Campbell Cage has been attending Saint Mary’s Hall since second grade. She is the current vice-president of the NEHS chapter and enjoys reading and creative writing. She is looking forward to the events she has helped plan this year to encourage a love for English!

Ellie Wyche has been attending Saint Mary’s Hall for five years. She is the current Campus Service Coordinator for the Charles Dickens’ NEHS chapter. She enjoys narrative and argumentative writing. She has enjoyed the events the chapter has put on to celebrate literary history and looks forward to the future of NEHS!