Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 49

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 49

  • Pip dashes back to his village, where he finds Miss Havisham next to an ashy fire, and she looks incredibly lonely. Like whoa lonely. She also looks a little afraid of Pip, which is strange.
  • Pip asks Miss Havisham for £900 to invest in Herbert's career. Miss Havisham is totally willing to cough up the money, and she also wants to know what she can do for Pip.
  • But Pip doesn't want any money.
  • Miss Havisham begs Pip to forgive her, and Pip tells her he has already. He tells her he's been too much of a jerk in his own life to be able to hold a grudge against anyone else, let alone Miss Havisham.
  • Miss Havisham is totally sad, and tells Pip that she didn't realize what she had done until Pip had professed his love to Estella. She sees herself in Pip's sadness, and she recognizes that her broken heart matches his.
  • She throws herself at Pip's feet, and Pip doesn't quite know what to do.
  • Pip tells her that she can remove him from her conscience, but that she should do everything in her power to help heal Estella's frozen popsicle of a heart.
  • Miss Havisham agrees.
  • Pip asks her how she came to adopt Estella, and she tells him how lonely and sad she once was locked away in her dark, mildewing rooms.
  • She asked Jaggers to find her a daughter, and Jaggers obeyed. Estella was two or three when she was brought to Miss Havisham's.
  • Pip says goodbye to Miss Havisham and decides to take a walk in the ruined garden, a.k.a. memory lane. He decides to check out the old brewery, and while he's there, he hallucinates and sees Miss Havisham hanging from the rafters in her wedding dress, looking like a ghost. Isn't this like the third time this has happened?
  • Thoroughly freaked out, Pip decides to go check on Miss Havisham one last time.

  • As he peeks into her room, he sees something bright rears up behind her, and he realizes that her wedding dress has caught fire.
  • Pip runs and tackles Miss Havisham like a linebacker. She's completely aflame, so he pulls the table cloth off of the wedding table and wraps it around her, trying to stamp out the fire. Just like Smokey the Bear would recommend.
  • As he pulls out the wedding tablecloth, the rotten wedding cake and all of its "inhabitants" (a.k.a. creepy crawlies) scatter everywhere.
  • Pip holds Miss Havisham down like a prisoner and only lets her go when he's sure that the fire has been put out.
  • When the doctor arrives, he has her laid out on top of the wedding table.
  • Pip's arms have been burned, but he's basically okay—unlike Miss Havisham.
  • She keeps saying the following three things: "What have I done!" and "when she first came, I meant to save her from misery like mine" and "take the pencil and write under her name, I forgive her!"
  • The next morning, while Miss Havisham is still reciting these words, Pip gets up early and says goodbye to her, kissing her on the lips.