Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 30 and 31 Summary

Chapter 30

Pip speaks with Mr. Jaggers of his concerns about Orlick. He tells Jaggers that Miss Havisham should not be employing such an untrustworthy man, and Jaggers agrees with him and tells him that he will handle it.

Pip walks through the village. As he does, he encounters numerous people who are obviously aware of his change of fortune—especially because his prosperity is obvious from his clothes and demeanor. Most greet him cordially, but Trabb’s boy mocks him and makes crowing noises. Pip then takes the stagecoach back to London. It is notable that during his stay, he never visits Joe and instead sends him a lavish gift of fish and oysters in an effort to convince himself that these will make up for his behavior.

Back at Barnard’s Inn, Pip tries to occupy the Avenger by assigning him some random errands. In a serious conversation, Pip confides to Herbert of his deep love for Estella, which Herbert has been aware of for quite some time. They discuss whether Miss Havisham had actually chosen Pip as Estella’s match, which seems likely. Herbert cautions him, however, that things might well turn out differently and advises him to put the past behind him if they do not get married. Pip asserts that he could never get over losing Estella. Herbert, in turn, confides that he is engaged to Clara, a young woman who lives in London. As soon as he has the financial resources, they will be married.

Chapter 31

In the evening, the two young men go to the theater, where Mr. Wopsle is performing in Hamlet. He is shown to be a mediocre actor. Afterward, a stranger approaches them to say that Mr. Waldengarver wishes to meet them backstage. Waldengarver is actually the stage name that Wopsle has adopted. While visiting with him, Herbert and Pip invite him to dine with them.