Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 55

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 55

  • Magwitch is taken to prison, but his trial is delayed a little bit because there are no prison officers in town that can confirm that Magwitch is the same man that was exiled to New South Wales many years ago. The only man who could really confirm this is Compeyson, and he's conveniently drowned.
  • Pip implores Jaggers to take on Magwitch's case, but Mr. Jaggers tells Pip it's a lost cause. Once a witness is found who can confirm that Magwitch is in fact Magwitch, he will be sentenced to death.
  • Jaggers scolds Pip for not hanging onto his fortune. Now, Magwitch's money will go directly to the government. When Magwitch fought Compeyson in the Thames, he found a book of papers in his pocket that were from a bank in New South Wales and that detailed Magwitch's fortune. Apparently, Compeyson thought he'd get a reward by ratting out Magwitch.
  • Magwitch gives these papers to Jaggers hoping that Pip can have the money, but Jaggers doesn't tell him where this money will really go.
  • Pip doesn't care so much about money; he's just worried about Magwitch.
  • And just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, they get worse. Herbert tells Pip that he's to go east to Cairo to seek his fortune and that he will be leaving soon.
  • Pip is totally heartbroken to be losing Herbert, but Herbert asks Pip to come with him and to live with him and Clara in Egypt.
  • Herbert tells him that he can give him a job as a clerk, and that Pip could very quickly become a partner in the business.
  • Pip asks Herbert to give him two to three months to decide, and Herbert does.
  • One day, Pip runs into Wemmick and scores an invite to his castle.
  • Next Monday arrives, and Pip goes to Wemmick's castle. Wemmick is around, but the Aged is nowhere in sight. Wemmick grabs his fishing rod and the two set out on their hike.
  • They walk by a church, and Wemmick seems really set on going inside. So they do.
  • There happen to be a pair of gloves inside the church, and Wemmick suggest they put them on.
  • Pip does so, but he's no clue what's going on.
  • Miss Skiffins appears on the arm of the Aged, and Wemmick says, "Here's Miss Skiffins! Let's have a wedding" (55.54).
  • Oh, apparently Pip is going to be Wemmick's best man.
  • The four of them go to the local inn after the wedding ceremony and have a delicious wedding breakfast.
  • But Pip is totally not allowed to tell Jaggers about the wedding.