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Chapter 55: The Question of My Future... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 55: The Question of My Future...

Magwitch doesn't have to go to trial immediately, for a witness needs to be brought in from another part of the country to vouch for his identity. Pip is worried, in the meantime, that Magwitch will be crushed if he learns that his inheritance, which Pip had secretly declined to accept, will now probably end up going to the state. This is money Pip could use, too, for he's falling into worse and worse debt.

Herbert, on the other hand, is prospering, and with a heavy heart breaks the news to Pip that he must soon leave for Cairo. He asks Pip what he might do to provide for himself in the future, and when Pip replies that he doesn't know, Herbert says there is room for him to be a clerk at the office in Cairo. Herbert and Clara are excited with the idea that Pip might come and live abroad with them, but Pip says he must postpone that decision until things with Magwitch are settled. At the end of that week, Pip drops Herbert off to catch his ship to Cairo.

Later that week, Wemmick asks Pip to take a walk with him; Pip is feeling so despondent over Magwitch that he nearly declines, except that Wemmick seems particularly eager for this walk to take place. On the morning of their appointment, Wemmick walks them to a church, where the Aged Parent and Miss Skiffens are waiting, dressed for a wedding. Wemmick moves through the entire ceremony of his own wedding as if he'd just happened into it, but when they all walk out of the church Wemmick and Miss Skiffens are man and wife. There is a happy little reception in a nearby tavern, and just before Pip is to leave, Wemmick calls him back and reminds him that a joyous wedding is a "Walworth sentiment," not worthy of being mentioned in Jaggers' office.

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