The following Sunday afternoon, Pip decides to visit Wemmick's castle. When he arrives, the Aged greets him and tells him that Wemmick is out. He lowers the drawbridge.
The Aged and Pip enjoy each other's company in the meantime, and Pip makes the Aged laugh really hard by saying something that was not that funny. A lot of nodding happens.
Then a little wooden flap in the living room goes flying. The name "John" is written on the flap, and the Aged proclaims that his son is home.
Pip meets Wemmick, who salutes at him—which is funny because (though the drawbridge is drawn) the moat is small enough for Pip to reach across and shake Wemmick's hand.
Wemmick has a lady friend with him! Her name is Miss Skiffins, and she seems nice even though she made the stylistically dubious decision to wear wearing orange and green.
Now, Pip asks Wemmick for advice as to how best to finance Herbert's career without him ever knowing.
Turns out, there's a shipping merchant in town named Clarriker who is looking to expand his company. Great idea!
The four have tea and sit around the fire, while Pip watches Wemmick try to sneak his arm around Miss Skiffins' waist, which is apparently the 19th century equivalent of feeling up a girl.
Pip goes home after a cozy night at Wemmick's, hopeful that his "expectations" might do some good after all.
Narrator Pip tells us that one of the turning points of his life was about to take place, but that he's going to first devote a chapter to Estella and to his relationship with that cold lady.
Great Expectations Chapter 38 Summary
Pip is spending most of his days hanging out in Richmond with Estella. There, Estella's being introduced to society by means of one of Miss Havisham's old (and wealthy) friends.
It's awful, because Estella basically just uses him to make the other boys jealous and then teases him for not taking a hint.
Eventually, they decide to go visit Miss Havisham together.
Miss Havisham is weird. No, seriously, folks. Dickens describes Miss Havisham as "weird," and we couldn't agree more.
Miss Havisham is delighted to see Estella, is more obsessed with her than ever before, and wants to know how Pip has been used by Estella too.
At night, the happy family gathers by the fire, and Miss Havisham makes Estella describe all of the men who are in love with her.
Observing this scene, Pip realizes that Estella is Miss Havisham's guided missile, designed to wound and destroy every man that comes in her path. But somehow, he still convinces himself that she's going to marry Pip.
The three are enjoying the accounts of the poor men who love Estella, when Estella decides to unhook her arm from Miss Havisham's arm.
BIG mistake. Miss Havisham goes ballistic, accusing her of being ungrateful and cold. Uh—you made her that way, lady.
Miss Havisham demands her love, and Estella replies (calling her "mother by adoption") that she can't give what she doesn't have.
It looks like Miss Havisham's guided missile had become misguided and has struck home.
While Miss Havisham rocks back and forth and moans, Pip decides to go for a walk. A splendid idea. When he returns, Estella is kneeling at Miss Havisham's feet and knitting.
It's as though their argument never happened, and Pip tells us he never witnessed another argument like it ever again.
Pip spends a very restless night, and then ends by talking about Bentley Drummle, the spider. One day, Pip is hanging out with the Finches at their club. Drummle tells the boys that he's pursuing Estella, and that's she totally into him.
Pip sees red. He accuses Drummle of lying, which is a big deal. The society decides that Drummle has to provide evidence that he's dating Estella, which Drummle easily does. He shows the boys a note Estella had written him.
At a party soon after, he watches Drummle flirt with Estella all night. Pip approaches Estella and asks her why she allows someone as spider-ly as Drummle to hang out with her.
Estella tells him she does so to have a certain "effect" on her other suitors, but not on Pip.
Why? Does Pip really want her to deceive and entrap him?
Well, kind of. He knows that this means he doesn't stand a chance with Estella, that she has plans for Drummle, and that he's farther away from her than he's ever been.
Great Expectations Chapter 39 Summary
Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy BIRTHDAY dear Pi-ip…happy birthday to you.
Time has passed, and Pip is 23 years young. Herbert is off gallivanting in France, and Pip is all by his lonesome in the middle of a gigantic storm. The wind is howling. It's pitch black, and smoke keeps coming down the chimney. Outside, Pip watches lights being blown out.
All of a sudden, Pip hears footsteps on the stairwell. A singing telegram, perhaps, for the birthday boy?
It's a stranger. And the stranger is looking for Mr. Pip.
Pip holds the light out for the stranger, and watches the man slowly climb the stairs.
He's happy to see Pip and Pip is totally weirded out until he suddenly recognizes the man.
IT'S HIS VERY OWN CONVICT. You know, the prisoner he fed when he was just a mini-Pip.
The convict embraces him, but Pip tells him to stay away. Pip says he hopes he's mended his ways, but that he doesn't want anything to do with a convict.
Pip brings him something to drink and realizes that the man has been crying. Pip feels guilty and apologizes for acting so meanly.
The convict holds Pip's hand, and Pip realizes what a softie he is, despite his freaky appearance.
The convict tells Pip he's been a sheep-farmer in New South Wales (a.k.a. Australia) all these years.
Pip tries to repay him for the money that the convict has sent him all those years ago by way of a messenger. The convict sees Pip's purse and wants to know how rich he is.
Gradually, after playing the guessing game, the convict reveals himself to be Pip's benevolent benefactor.
WHAT WHAT WHAT?
Pip is beside himself. He doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.
The convict waxes on about how he's made a gentleman out of Pip and about how he's certainly not done yet. He tells Pip how lonely he was herding sheep, and that, when he was in his darkest, most forlorn state of mind, he would imagine Pip and all would be well.
Pip has been his guiding light and his reason for being.
The convict continues to talk about how the world may not have destined him to be a gentleman, but he declares that, instead, he's created his very own gentleman, and that gentleman is Pip. The convict is proud of Pip and his fine gentlemanly things.
All Pip can think about is Estella.
Pip puts the convict to bed in Herbert's room after giving him a fancy nightgown.
Pip can't stop thinking about Miss Havisham and, more importantly, Estella. He realizes that Estella was never designed for him; that Miss Havisham was not his benefactor as he had believed for so long; and that his dreams of marrying Estella were impossible ones.
Pip falls asleep on the floor and wakes up at five in the morning to fiercer winds and heavier rains.
This ends the second stage of Pip's expectations.
Good thing, too, because we need a break.
Great Expectations Chapter 40 Summary
Pip is flipping out. He doesn't know how he can begin to keep his convict, who he doesn't even want to harbor, safe.
It's a really windy night, and all of Pip's lanterns are blown out. He decides to go outside to ask the watchman to re-light his lanterns. As he gropes his way down the stairs, however, he steps on someone. Seriously.
Pip demands to know who it is, but the person won't say anything. Pip grabs the watchman, but when they return to the scene of the crime, the mysterious man has disappeared. Pip searches his apartment, but there's no sign of anybody having been there.
In the morning, Pip has a million questions for the convict, starting with his name: Magwitch, but he goes by Provis in town.
So, how's he going to keep Magwitch a secret? Magwitch tells him he'll be killed if he's ever discovered by the authorities, but that's cool: he's just thrilled beyond all telling to see Pip. He wants to watch Pip become a real true gentleman, and he wants to spend his hard-earned money with Pip and live with him 4EVA.
Pip goes to Jaggers to ask for confirmation. Jaggers speaks in hypothetical terms in order not to incriminate himself or Pip, but definitely confirms that Magwitch is the very benefactor Pip has so long awaited.
On the way home, Pip buys Magwitch some new clothes to help make him seem less like an escaped convict recently arrived from New South Wales, but it doesn't really work.
Pip can't sleep, and he's constantly fearful of Magwitch. He almost leaves everything behind to enlist as a soldier bound for India.
Pip is overjoyed and relieved when Herbert comes home from vacationing in France. Pip tries to prepare Herbert for the news, as Magwitch makes Herbert swear on a greasy Bible.
Herbert is thoroughly confused.
Great Expectations Chapter 41 Summary
Welcome home, Herbert! Meet a convict.
Herbert is astonished to hear the story of Magwitch the benefactor, but he's a real trooper, helping Pip think through this crazy scenario.
Pip tells Herbert he can't take Magwitch's money, and he wants to repay the convict for the money he's already given.
Herbert tells Pip to leave England with Magwitch, to take him out of harm's way. Good idea.
The next morning, Magwitch comes over for breakfast, and Pip asks him to tell his life's story. Magwitch gladly acquiesces, but he makes it known first and foremost that he's paid off every debt and every crime he's ever committed.
Great Expectations Chapter 42 Summary
Hold onto your drawers. This is one doozy of a chapter.
Magwitch begins to tell Pip and Herbert the story of his life. This story can be summarized by the following, "in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail." Here's the longer version:
Magwitch has been subject to pretty much every kind of punishment you can imagine.
His first memory is of stealing turnips, because he was so hungry. He was a baby orphan (like Pip), and he was taken in by several families, only to have him promptly kicked out. No one loved little Magwitch.
He was kind of a jack-of-all-trades, doing anything that needed to get done whenever it needed to get done. He even taught himself how to read and write.
Over twenty years ago, at the horse races, Magwitch met a man—a bad man. The man's name was Compeyson, and he was dressed like a gentleman.
But he wasn't a gentleman.
Compeyson and Magwitch hit it off and soon became partners in crime. Compeyson was in the swindling, signature-forging, money counterfeiting kind of a business.
Compeyson had another partner-in-crime named Arthur (ring any bells?), but Arthur was not doing too well when Magwitch starting working with them. Arthur was sick and kind of crazy. Apparently, Compeyson and Arthur had been involved in a scheme a few years back wherein they had swindled a rich lady out of a lot of money. Compeyson had gambled that money away, and Arthur was dying poor, haunted by the ghost of a lady in white, and he eventually died.
(This is all starting to sound really familiar.)
Compeyson used Magwitch to do all the dirty work and worked him hard for very little money.
Magwitch begins to talk about a lady-friend he once had, but stops short, a little flustered.
He continues with his story saying that he and Compeyson were eventually convicted of money counterfeiting. However, when the two of them went before the jury, Compeyson was given half the jail sentence that Magwitch got.
Because Compeyson looked and acted like a gentleman, the jury believed he deserved a second chance. Magwitch, on the other hand, just looked like he deserved a lot of jail time.
Magwitch was put on a prison ship near the marshes of Pip's hometown. While on the ship, he saw Compeyson and attacked him. He was forced into solitary confinement in the "black hole" of the ship, but ended up escaping and swimming to shore where he hid among the graves and where he found Pip.
Pip asks Magwitch if Compeyson is alive, but Magwitch doesn't know.
Herbert slips Pip a note revealing that Arthur was Miss Havisham's half-brother, and "Compeyson" was the name of the man who jilted her at the altar.
Great Expectations Chapter 43 Summary
Now that he harbors a convict, and now that his fortune is no real fortune at all, Pip feels farther away from Estella than ever before, and he's heartbroken.
Based on the bloody history between them, Pip is worried that Compeyson may be looking for his convict. Yikes.
Pip tells Herbert that he needs to see Miss Havisham and Estella before he leaves the country. He goes to Richmond to see Estella, but she's not there. She's at Satis House.
What? That's weird.
That night, Herbert and Pip decide that it would be better for Pip to propose an expedition in a foreign land to Magwitch rather than telling the convict the truth: he's in danger and the two need to flee England as fast as possible.
Pip lies to Magwitch and tells him that he's going home to see Joe.
Pip arrives at the Blue Boar just in time for breakfast, and who should he meet? Bentley Drummle himself. The two have an awkward and charged breakfast together by the fire during which Drummle belittles Pip's hometown, and during which Pip imagines throwing Drummle into the fire.
Drummle tells the innkeeper that he will be dining with "the lady," and Pip has to assume that he means Estella. Oh baby, is Pip ever enraged. What does Estella see in this spider?
Pip watches Drummle get onto a horse. A man lights a cigar for him, and Pip has the vague suspicion that this man is Orlick, but he doesn't have time to investigate. He's a man on a mission.
Pip heads out to the place he wishes he had never known: Satis House.
Great Expectations Chapter 44 Summary
Pip finds Miss Havisham sitting by the fire with Estella knitting at her feet.
There's some eyebrow-raising upon Pip's entrance, as both women detect that something about him has changed.
He tells the women that he now knows who his benefactor is, but that this information won't help him become wealthier or more of a gentleman.
When he was asked to be Estella's playmate all those years ago, was he just a servant?
Yep. Miss Havisham confirms this, and tells Pip that the fact that Jaggers worked for both her and his benefactor was simply a coincidence.
That was totally mean, says Pip.
Miss Havisham has a Wicked Witch of the East moment and snaps her cane on the ground wrathfully, proclaiming that she has no reason to be kind to anyone on earth.
Pip then asks Miss Havisham to be kind to Mr. Pocket and Herbert Pocket, and then—brace yourself—professes his love to Estella, in front of Miss Havisham and everything.
Estella just shakes her head.
In the meantime, Pip tells Estella that he understands that Miss Havisham's intentions weren't entirely evil; that he recognizes she became so caught up in her own misery to notice that Pip was becoming just as miserable. Miss Havisham is totally touched by this and puts her hand to her heart.
Pip continues to bare his soul to Estella, to which she replies that she doesn't feel a thing, that she's heartless, and that it is not in her nature to love anyone.
What about Drummle? Estella replies that she's completely fed up with that word, "love," but she is going to marry Drummle.
Estella asks Pip whether he's a "visionary boy or man" (44.64), and Pip launches into one of the most beautiful speeches of literary history. Trust us, you'll need to consume an entire carton of Ben and Jerry's after you read it. At the end, Pip says, "Oh, God bless you, God forgive you!" (44.70).
Estella is stunned. We're stunned. Miss Havisham is stunned.
Pip feels like he's been stunned. He leaves Satis House, but he can't go back to the Blue Boar for fear of seeing the spider. So, he does what any of us would do in the same situation: he walks all the way back to London.
It's midnight when he crosses the London Bridge. He gets to his apartment building, and the porter at the gate gives him a note. The note says, "DON'T GO HOME."
Oh, jiminy crickets.
Great Expectations Chapter 45 Summary
After receiving Wemmick's warning, Pip immediately goes to the nearest roach motel where he spends a sleepless night. Gross.
Pip wakes up the next morning and goes straight to Wemmick's castle. He helps toast the Aged's sausage while Wemmick tells him why he had left such a cryptic message for him.
Apparently, Pip's apartment was being watched and maybe even searched.
Wemmick had Magwitch moved to Clara's house by the water so that Herbert might still be able to communicate between Pip and his benefactor.
Wemmick tells Pip to be really, really careful from now on and to not hang out with Magwitch anymore. He tells Pip to hold onto the "portable property."
Is Compeyson in town? Yep.
Pip is stressed, but he falls asleep by the fire, and then he spends the day with the Aged, napping and being cozy. They have pork loin for dinner.
Oh, Dickens. You always make us hungry.
Great Expectations Chapter 46 Summary
Pip gets lost trying to locate Clara's building, but he eventually finds it.
As soon as Pip goes inside, he hears growling noises—it's Clara's dad, a mean alcoholic with gout.
Clara is really pretty, and she and Herbert obviously looooove each other.
Pip is also totally warming up to Magwitch. They won't be able to see each other or talk very often, but Herbert will communicate between them.
Magwitch/Provis goes by a new name: Mr. Campbell.
Pip and Herbert hatch a plan to get Magwitch out of town. It's fairly elaborate: Pip will start rowing a LOT, making it a habit, so that one day, when Pip rows by Mill Pond Bank, he can pick Magwitch up and the two can row away to a big ship that will take them to another country.
Pip likes this idea, but he can't shake the feeling that he's being watched.
Great Expectations Chapter 47 Summary
Weeks go by, and no word from Wemmick. The worries keep piling up.
Even though he's hurting for money, Pip gives Herbert his wallet since he still doesn't feel right taking Magwitch's money.
He also begs Herbert to never talk about Estella again.
Pip continues to row, row, row his boat, and to wait for Wemmick to give the go ahead.
One night in late February, Pip decides to take himself out for dinner and the theater.
He eats some chops and then takes in Mr. Wopsle's Hamlet.
At one point during the show, Mr. Wopsle stares right at Pip as though he sees a ghost. Pip is pretty certain that Mr. Wopsle isn't acting at that moment, and so he's a little spooked.
After the performance, Mr. Wopsle tells Pip that he saw a ghostly man sitting right behind Pip, and that the man was the same man that had fought with Pip's convict on the marshes so many years ago.
Pip tells Herbert and Wemmick about his encounter with Compeyson, and they decide to be uber cautious from now on, knowing that Magwitch's enemy is on the hunt.
Great Expectations Chapter 48 Summary
After rowing one day, Pip wanders around feeling totally depressed.
He runs into Jaggers on the street, and Jaggers invites him to dinner. Pip accepts, because, well, what else is he going to do?
While at Jaggers's, Wemmick gives Pip a message addressed to him from Miss Havisham, requesting that he come visit so that they can talk about financing Herbert's career.
Jaggers spills the beans that Estella's been married to Drummle and predicts that Drummle the spider will start beating her, and Pip is even more heartbroken and astonished.
As they're eating dinner, Molly the housekeeper gets yelled at for being slow. Pip watches her carefully for the first time because he recognizes something about her. Her gestures are familiar to him, and they remind him of Estella's gestures when she's knitting.
Pip's internal monologue is going crazy, but he decides not to pursue this discovery at the dinner table.
Later on, as he's walking home with Wemmick, Pip asks him to tell Molly's story.
This is Molly's story (according to Wemmick):
Molly was one of Jaggers' clients back in the day. She was very pretty and was said to have "gipsy blood." She was accused of murdering another woman out of jealousy, even though this woman was much older, much bigger, and much stronger.
The woman was found dead in a barn after what appeared to be a huge struggle. There were scratch marks and bruises everywhere.
Jaggers dressed Molly in a very dainty outfit one day during her trial and argued that she was so small and dainty and was incapable of killing a little fly, let alone an adult woman.
At the time, it was suspected that Molly had killed her child in order to spite her husband, a point that the prosecution brought up at trial in order to cast Molly as a jealous woman.
Jaggers, though, argued that if the scratch marks and bruises that appeared on the backs of Molly's hands were rendered by the child she had murdered, she had yet to be charged for that crime. By tearing down the prosecutor's implications, Jaggers got Molly off the hook, reminding the jury that she was being accused of killing a grown woman, not a child.
Immediately afterward, Molly went to work as Mr. Jaggers' housekeeper, as she was totally freaked out by the fact that she was almost sentenced to death.
Pip asks Wemmick if he knows the sex of Molly's dead child, and Wemmick tells him the child was a girl.