Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 40

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 40

  • Pip is flipping out. He doesn't know how he can begin to keep his convict, who he doesn't even want to harbor, safe.
  • It's a really windy night, and all of Pip's lanterns are blown out. He decides to go outside to ask the watchman to re-light his lanterns. As he gropes his way down the stairs, however, he steps on someone. Seriously.
  • Pip demands to know who it is, but the person won't say anything. Pip grabs the watchman, but when they return to the scene of the crime, the mysterious man has disappeared. Pip searches his apartment, but there's no sign of anybody having been there.
  • In the morning, Pip has a million questions for the convict, starting with his name: Magwitch, but he goes by Provis in town.
  • So, how's he going to keep Magwitch a secret? Magwitch tells him he'll be killed if he's ever discovered by the authorities, but that's cool: he's just thrilled beyond all telling to see Pip. He wants to watch Pip become a real true gentleman, and he wants to spend his hard-earned money with Pip and live with him 4EVA.
  • Pip goes to Jaggers to ask for confirmation. Jaggers speaks in hypothetical terms in order not to incriminate himself or Pip, but definitely confirms that Magwitch is the very benefactor Pip has so long awaited.
  • On the way home, Pip buys Magwitch some new clothes to help make him seem less like an escaped convict recently arrived from New South Wales, but it doesn't really work.
  • Pip can't sleep, and he's constantly fearful of Magwitch. He almost leaves everything behind to enlist as a soldier bound for India.
  • Pip is overjoyed and relieved when Herbert comes home from vacationing in France. Pip tries to prepare Herbert for the news, as Magwitch makes Herbert swear on a greasy Bible.
  • Herbert is thoroughly confused.