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Chapter 48: I Dine With Mr. Jaggers Again... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 48: I Dine With Mr. Jaggers Again...

On another of Pip's boat excursions, he runs into Jaggers and accompanies the lawyer and Wemmick to his house for dinner. Jaggers just received a note from Miss Havisham, requesting Pip come to Manor House, which Pip says he will do. The dinner conversation becomes particularly disturbing to Pip when it turns to the subject of Bentley Drummle, who Jaggers likes to call the "Spider." Jaggers says Drummle is the sort of man who "either beats or cringes" (454), meaning that he'll either abuse Estella or cower before her. Of course this analysis, so glibly spoken by Jaggers, is completely disturbing to Pip.

The biggest revelation of the meal, however, comes when Pip takes a good hard look at Molly, Jaggers' housekeeper. A glint of recognition, something in her hands, suddenly makes him absolutely certain that the woman is Estella's mother. All of those times he felt something familiar in Estella, he realizes, were times when he was seeing a bit of Molly in her. After dinner, when he and Wemmick walk far enough away from Jaggers' house for Wemmick to slip out of his "post office" mode, Pip asks his friend for the housekeeper's story.

Molly's story is a deusey--she was put on trial for the murder of another woman, a woman she most likely did kill, and Jaggers' masterful lawyerly twisting of the facts and the jury's sensibilities succeeded in getting her acquitted. Molly did have a daughter, too, though there was a rumor that the housekeeper had "destroyed" the child when it was only two or three years old. Wemmick tells Pip that Molly has been Jaggers' servant ever since her acquittal.

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