In the eleven years since Pip has left London to work in Cairo, Joe and Biddy have lived happily as man and wife in the little house at the forge. They have a young child, whom they have named Pip.
Estella has not fared as well. She has led "a most unhappy life", and has been separated from her husband, a cruel man "reknowned as a compound of pride, brutality, and meanness" who has since died. At this point, there are two separate endings to the story, the original one in which Estella is married now to a Shropshire doctor, who also allegedly treats her cruelly, is poor, and lives off her personal fortune. In this ending, she runs into Pip one last time and expresses how her hardships have made her a more understanding person. There is no further reunion indicated for Estella and Pip.
The second ending of the book is the one more popularly received. In this version, Estella has not remarried, but, because of her experiences, is "greatly changed". Her beauty is gone, but "its indescribably majesty and its indescribably charm (remai)". She has returned to the old Haversham place to say goodbye, as it is "the only possession (she has) not relinquished" until now, but it is due to be finally given up. Estella and Pip renew their friendship, and it is intimated that they shall never again be apart (Chapter 59).