Chapter 49 (Volume 3, Chapter 10) (Instalment 30):

A Loan from Miss Havisham/ Miss Havisham tells me all she knows

Synopsis of Chapter 49 (Volume 3, Chapter 10) (Instalment 30)

Pip goes to visit Miss Havisham. She agrees to provide the money for Herbert and appreciates his disinterested desire to help his friend, and asks if she can do anything for Pip himself, but he refuses. She begs Pip's forgiveness, which he grants, but he can do nothing about her larger guilt concerning Estella.

She now realizes that she has seen other people only as instruments or objects of her revenge.

She tells Pip how Mr. Jaggers brought Estella to her when she was a small child, and this confirms for Pip that Mr. Jaggers' housekeeper is Estella's mother. Pip leaves to walk round the ruined garden for the last time, and as he does so his childhood vision of Miss Havisham hanging from the beam returns for an instant (see Ch. 8; Vol. 1, Ch. 8).

Miss Havisham begs for forgivenessPip goes to see Miss Havisham before leaving, and witnesses her dress catching fire. He puts out the flames, sustaining severe burns. Miss Havisham is laid upon the table to be nursed, as she had once said she would (see Ch. 11; Vol. 1, Ch. 11). Pip sends messages to Estella (who is in Paris), and to Matthew Pocket via Herbert. Pip's concerns about Magwitch force him to return to London. As he kisses Miss Havisham goodbye, she again asks for his forgiveness.

Commentary on Chapter 49 (Volume 3, Chapter 10) (Instalment 30)

As I stood compassionating her An unusual word which emphasizes how actively Pip feels for Miss Havisham and how much his attitude towards her has changed since their previous conversation (see Ch. 44; Vol. 3, Ch. v).

‘'Tis noble in you to tell me that you have other causes of unhappiness.' This is an extraordinary moment: Miss Havisham is reduced from the selfish imperious and powerful woman of Pip's youth, and is beginning to recognize the qualities in the man she has wronged.

‘O Miss Havisham,' said I, … be bitter with you' Pip's forgiveness arises from his awareness of his own guilt.

Investigating Chapter 49 (Volume 3, Chapter 10) (Instalment 30)
  • Re-read the paragraph beginning ‘I knew not how to answer, or to comfort her.'
    • Consider the ways in which Pip and Miss Havisham are now in similar situations
  • To what extent does Dickens seek to relate their situation to Christian ideals and values?
  • Compare and contrastthe description of Satis House in this chapter with those in earlier chapters.
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