Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 44 and 45 Summary

Chapter 44

Having learned his benefactor’s identity, Pip goes to see Miss Havisham at her home. He wants to tell her and Estella about this knowledge, as well as share his hurt feelings that the elderly woman allowed him to think she was his benefactor. Confessing his great unhappiness, he encourages Miss Havisham to believe that some of her relatives are not motivated by greed. He especially refers to Herbert Pocket and his father, who have proved good friends to him. Pip regrets that he will no longer be able to help Herbert financially, and he requests that Miss Havisham assume this role without telling Herbert.

Pip finally admits to Estella his deep and long-lasting love for her, but she does not respond. Instead, she continues knitting. As he continues in this vein, he detects a look of pity on Miss Havisham’s face. Estella tries to explain that she understands what Pip is saying but her heart remains unmoved and that she has already warned him about this lack of feeling. Admitting at last that they will not be together, Pip warns her of Drummle’s advances. Estella informs him that she is engaged to Drummle. Distraught, Pip tries to discourage her, telling her that Drummle is unworthy of her. Estella assures him that she will not treat Drummle with any kindness, but this does nothing to assuage Pip’s anguish.

Leaving the women, Pip walks to London. Upon arriving at the Temple, he receives a note from Wemmick, which had been delivered to the watchman. It warns him not to go home.

Chapter 45

Pip takes the note to heart and finds another place to sleep, but worrying about why Wemmick sent the note keeps him awake.

In the morning, Pip seeks out Wemmick, who tells him Magwitch’s disappearance from New South Wales has been noticed. Compeyson has come to London looking for him and, Wemmick assumes, has Pip’s house under surveillance. Wemmick already communicated the problems to Herbert, who moved Magwitch to different lodgings where Clara, Herbert’s fiancée, lives. Since Pip rarely goes there, it will probably not be suspected. In addition, its location near the river should facilitate access to a ship that can take Pip and Magwitch out of the country. Herbert assumes the responsibility of checking on him when he visits Clara.