Chapter 51 (Volume 3, Chapter 12) (Instalment 31):

I appeal to Mr. Jaggers / A pair of Imposters

Synopsis of Chapter 51 (Volume 3, Chapter 12) (Instalment 31)

Pip cannot wait to confirm his suspicions. He decides to ask Mr. Jaggers directly about Estella's parentage, and next morning goes to Little Britain. Pip produces Miss Havisham's authorisation for the cheque for Herbert and waves away Mr. Jaggers' wish that Pip himself might receive financial help from Miss Havisham.

Pip then declares that he knows who Estella's mother is, though he does not give a name, and then informs Mr. Jaggers that Magwitch is her father. Pip is careful not to reveal that he has received information from Wemmick.

Pip appeals to Mr. Jaggers to be more open about Estella. When he fails to respond, Pip appeals to Wemmick as a gentle-hearted man with a pleasant home, to ask Mr. Jaggers to open up. This is clearly the first time that the professional reserve and distance between the two men has ever been challenged.

Presenting the facts as if they were a hypothetical case, Jaggers now fills in the details of how he took Estella to Miss Havisham to save her from being caught up in her mother's criminal world. He also ‘rescues' Estella's mother by employing her as his housekeeper. Mr. Jaggers advises Pip that it would be in no one's interests to reveal the secret, and he and Wemmick resume their usual business-like relationship.

Commentary on Chapter 51 (Volume 3, Chapter 12) (Instalment 31)

the victim was found throttled The victim was a stronger woman than her killer, but we know that Mr. Jaggers' housekeeper Molly has strong wrists (see Ch. 26; Vol. 1, Ch. 7).

Wemmick leaned back … horizontally into the post Wemmick's mouth still resembles a post box when he is in the office.

I saw Mr. Jaggers relax into something like a smile, and Wemmick become bolder Pip's intrusion into their professional relationship produces immediate results.

‘Put the case … for certain destruction.' Mr. Jaggers here expresses an environmental explanation of how children become criminals.

Investigating Chapter 51 (Volume 3, Chapter 12) (Instalment 31)
  • Re-read Ch. 26; Vol. 2, Ch. 7 in the light of this chapter
    • Compare Mr. Jaggers's behaviour on each occasion
  • What do you now think Mr. Jaggers means when he says that Drummle (the Spider) is interesting?
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