Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 22

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 22

  • Whoa!
  • Herbert rewrites history a little bit and asks Pip to forgive him for beating him up, and Pip decides not to correct him.
  • Herbert, like Pip, was brought to Miss Havisham's all those years ago to serve as a playmate for Estella, but they didn't exactly get along. In fact, Estella was brought up to make men miserable.
  • What? It's cool; Herbert will fill him in on the juicy gossip at dinner.
  • Herbert's dad is going to be Pip's new tutor and teacher.
  • Herbert's a nice guy: he's honest and cheerful, but Pip is pretty sure he'll never be rich or successful. Still, he's a gentleman, and he agrees to help teach Pip how to be one, too.
  • He even comes up with a new nickname for Pip—Handel, based on "The Harmonious Blacksmith," by composer Handel.
  • Get it? Because Pip was a blacksmith?
  • The boys have dinner, and Pip is thrilled beyond belief. There are no grown-ups around, he lives in London, and he has a new BFF. What could be better than this?
  • Pip reminds Herbert to tell him Miss Havisham's story.
  • This is Herbert's account of Miss Havisham:
  • She was a spoiled little only child until her dad (a country gentleman who owned a brewery) secretly married a cook. When the cook died, he told Miss Havisham that she had a half-brother named Arthur. Miss Havisham didn't like this too much.
  • Arthur grew up to be a real pain in the rear, and a rebel too. He lived the high life, spending lots of money and creating havoc everywhere he went.
  • He and Miss Havisham did not get along very well. In fact, they hated each other's guts.
  • When their dad died, he left Arthur a nice fortune, but he left Miss Havisham the big dough.
  • Since Miss Havisham was rich and pretty, she was considered quite a catch.
  • But it just so happened that she fell in love with the wrong man. The seriously wrong man.
  • He wasn't a gentleman at all; he was a rake who convinced her to buy Arthur out of his share of the brewery at a huge cost.
  • Herbert's dad, Mr. Pocket, warned his cousin that her beau was up to no good, but she didn't believe him. In fact, she ordered him out of the house and out of her life.
  • On the day of her wedding to the gentleman, she received a letter from him calling the whole thing off. No one knows what the letter said, but Miss Havisham went a little crazy after reading that letter and fell very ill. She let the mansion go to ruin, and that was that.
  • Apparently, Arthur and the gentleman were in cahoots with each other all along and had meant to rob Miss Havisham of her fortune. They also wanted to embarrass her publicly.
  • This ends Herbert's account of Miss Havisham's story, and, yeah, we feel pretty sorry for her.
  • But Herbert doesn't know much about Estella.
  • Like Pip, Herbert assumes that Miss Havisham is Pip's benefactor and wants Pip to know that he's totally not jealous.
  • Pip asks Herbert what he does for a living, and Herbert tells him he's a "capitalist—an insurer of ships" (22.70). Herbert's lifelong dream is to become a shipping merchant and to strike it rich. He dreams of moving to the Far East where life is profitable. As of right now, however, Herbert is waiting for his big break. He works in a counting house, hoping everyday that an opportunity will come his way.
  • Pip loves Herbert's idealistic demeanor, but again he can't help but think that Herbert will never strike it rich or be successful.
  • London is amazing. It's glittery and delicious and full of all kinds of interesting people and so, so, so much better than the stinky marsh.
  • Still, Pip can't help thinking about Joe.
  • The boys decide to go to the Pocket home next in Hammersmith. When Pip arrives, he finds Herbert's seven brothers and sisters tumbling every which way on the lawn.
  • Mrs. Pocket, Herbert's mother, is reading a book very intensely, and we're not sure how she manages to find time to read with that many kids, but it's cool.
  • She asks Pip how his mother is doing, and Pip is saved from having to answer when her youngest child is placed on her lap and she can't figure out how to handle or hold it.
  • Ah, this is how she has time to read: her servants, Miss Flopson and Miss Millers, are pretty much like drill sergeants, ordering everyone (including Mrs. Pocket) around.
  • Mrs. Pocket is like the Bermuda Triangle of tumbling. Every time one of her children goes near her, they fall. Even the servants trip over her.
  • Mrs. Pocket orders naps for everyone (Shmoop too?), and the kiddiewinks are marched inside.
  • When Mr. Pocket finally arrives, he looks exactly like what you would expect him to look like: disheveled, grey-haired, and a little discombobulated.