1 Answer | Add Yours
After Pip receives the note from Mr. Jaggers that Miss Havisham has written, asking him to visit her on "a little matter of business ...mentioned to her" about Herbert, Pip arrives at Satis House. There Miss Havisham asks Pip what she can do to aid his friend and Pip requests nine hundred pounds in order to get Herbert started in business. She agrees, provided that he keep her gift a secret. Then, she asks Pip, "Are you very unhappy now?" Pip responds that he is, indeed, unhappy; however, he has other matters to attend to.“Do you break off,” she asked then, with her former air of being afraid of me, “because you hate me too much to bear to speak to me?”
"Can I only serve you, Pip, by serving your friend? Regarding that as done, is there nothing I can do for you yourself?"
Pip replies that there is nothing, but he adds that he thanks her for asking, and especially for the tone of the question. To this she replies,
“Do you break off,” she asked then, with her former air of being afraid of me, “because you hate me too much to bear to speak to me?"
Miss Havisham knows that she has been cruel to him in exploiting Pip in order to teach Estella to be cruel to all males. So, she first writes Mr. Jaggers regarding the release of money, then she hands Pip the tablet and asks him to write beneath her signature "I forgive her."
“My name is on the first leaf. If you can ever write under my name, ‘I forgive her,’ though ever so long after my broken heart is dust—pray do it!”
The humble Pip replies that there is much for which he needs forgiveness himself, but Miss Havisham insists that Pip forgive her. Humbling herself and beseeching him, Miss Havisham cries out in despair, "Oh, what have I done! What have I done!"
Generously, Pip tells Miss Havisham that he would have loved Estella under any circumstances. But, Miss Havisham does not hear him; instead, she wrings her hands and falls to her knees, asking Pip's forgiveness.
Until you spoke to her [Estella] the other day, and until I saw in you a looking glass that showed me what I once felt myself, I did not know what I had done. What have I done! What have I done!”
Pip urges Miss Havisham to correct whatever he can with Estella than to bemoan what she has done to him. Still, she continues in earnest womanly compassion for Pip and he is genuinely touched. Her consideration for him encourages Pip to ask Miss Havisham about Estella's origins, but Miss Havisham does not know who her parents were. So, Pip takes his leave and walks around the "ruined garden." But, before he departs, Pip wishes to assure himself that Miss Havisham is safe, so he returns to the room where he has been with her. There she sits close to the fire; suddenly, a spark lands on her ruined dress; it instantly ignites. Miss Havisham runs, shrieking, "with a whirl of fire blazing all about her, and soaring at least as many feet about her head as she was high." Swiftly, Pip sheds his greatcoat and flings it over Miss Havisham, but the more closely he covers her the more she shrieks. Finally, he sends for the surgeon, but it is too late.
In her delirium, Miss Havisham repeats "What have I done!" and then, "When she first came, I meant to save her from misery like mine." Finally, she says, "Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her.'"
Clearly, no static character, Miss Havisham has been moved by Pip's love for Estella; her cold, dying heart has again been charged, and she is thus redeemed from her sins of heartlessness: her dying words are for Pip to forgive her.
We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question