Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 18 and 19 Summary

Chapter 18

Pip, Joe, and others are gathered at the Three Jolly Bargemen, where Mr. Wopsle is dramatically reading aloud an article about a murder case in the newspaper. The group listening decides that the verdict in the case should be willful murder. A stranger then stands up in the pub and asks Mr. Wopsle if he is aware that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty in English law. The stranger tells Mr. Wopsle that the witnesses in the case have not been cross-examined yet and that the accused was advised by his lawyers to reserve his defense.

The stranger then asks if the group knows someone named Joe Gargery and his apprentice, Pip. When Joe and Pip step forward, the man asks them for a private meeting. Pip recognizes him from having seen him at Miss Havisham's house.

They go to Joe's house, where the man introduces himself as Jaggers, a London lawyer who is conducting business for a client who prefers to remain anonymous. He says he wants to relieve Joe of Pip as his apprentice and asks Joe if he wants anything in return, to which Joe responds no. Jaggers believes Joe will want something later and doesn't understand Joe's good nature and selflessness.

Jaggers tells them that Pip has "great expectations" and has come into a large fortune. Pip believes that Miss Havisham has given him this fortune, but Jaggers says that the benefactor must remain a secret. Jaggers, who will be Pip's guardian, recommends Matthew Pocket, a tutor in London, to educate Pip. He asks Pip if he would like to go to London to meet Pocket and his son, and Pip agrees. He gives Pip some money to buy some new clothes. Jaggers again asks Joe if he wants to be compensated for losing Pip, and Joe, full of goodness and only thinking of Pip, responds no.

Joe tells Biddy...

(The entire section is 649 words.)