Shadows in the Dark
(Chapters 40 to 45)
Pip notices someone lurking at the bottom of his apartment stairs.
Clearly the convict has been followed.
The convict reveals his name to Pip as Abel Magwitch, but he is using the
name Provis whilst in England, and he suggests that he is introduced as Pip’s uncle.
It had been Magwitch’s intention to flaunt Pip as the gentleman he has made, but Pip and Herbert decide this would not be a good idea, as it would lead to his discovery and imprisonment. Pip goes to seek advice from Jaggers who is very careful that Pip does not mention Magwitch, as this would be breaking the law.
Jaggers confirms that Miss Havisham was not Pip’s benefactor.
Jaggers indicates that he regards Provis to be Magwitch’s agent in England
who is still in New South Wales, Australia.
Pip secures lodgings for Magwitch and new clothes for him, but whatever he
wears he still looks like a convict. Magwitch swears Herbert to secrecy and he is quite fearful of the convict. When Magwitch is secured in his lodgings, Pip and Herbert discuss what is to be done.
Pip can no longer accept the man’s money and he must be smuggled out of England as soon as possible.
Apparently Magwitch had become involved with two men called Arthur and
Compeyson, the latter had swindled a rich woman out of some money.
Compeyson and Magwitch ended up on the same prison ship, but Compeyson was treated well as he was a gentleman, but Magwitch received a life sentence and was exported to Australia. Herbert reveals that Miss Havisham’s brother was named Arthur and it was Compeyson who left her at the altar.
Pip goes to visit Estella and Miss Havisham and on his way meets Drummle at
the Blue Boar. He is boasting about his relationship with Estella, which angers Pip. At Satis House, Pip gets straight to the point; remonstrating with Miss Havisham regarding leading him to believe that
she was the source of his expectations. She did this in order to anger her parasitical relatives and responds by telling him that he made his own trap.
Pip defends Herbert and Matthew Pocket saying that they had been nothing but honorable to him, which is in stark contrast to the rest of her relatives. He asks Miss Havisham to provide the rest of the payment for Herbert’s business and to keep this a secret. Estella tells Pip she is going to marry Drummle and Pip pleads with her to marry anybody, but him, as he is not worthy of her. Estella is unaffected and intends to continue with her plan. Miss Havisham is shocked by the turn of events and she regrets the way she has brought up Estella.
Pip returns to London and he receives a note from Wemmick telling him not to
The next day he heads for Wemmick’s house that tells him that he is being
A certain person has been moved to the house where Herbert’s fianc'e boards. Pip is advised to keep a low profile in the city and to get this person out of town. He is also advised to get a hold of as much portable property as he can. Wemmick further confirms that Compeyson is living in London.
Jaggers is at pains to avoid mentioning the name of Magwitch so as to stay
within the law.
He stresses that he is sure Magwitch is still in Australia. It is clear that Magwitch has a plan to show off the hard work he has done in Australia in the form of Pip being a gentleman produced from his money. His motives are partly good and partly bad. He is grateful for Pip’s help and has provided him with a life of leisure, but he also wants to have some revenge against society that has wronged him.
Pip has been dependent on Magwitch’s money. The identity of the
benefactor should not have mattered, but Pip’s reaction is one of pure snobbery. He cannot bring himself to accept the convict’s gift, but although this decision is based on a bad reason, it is nevertheless a
good one, because Pip will finally have to fend for himself.
The meeting of Pip and Drummle at the Blue Boar gives the reader no doubt
that Drummle is a brute, in particular the harsh treatment he gives to his horse. Drummle also is connected with the other main evil character in the tale, Orlick, who lights Drummle’s cigar outside the inn.
Until now, Pip has been protected against the evil elements running through the novel, but now this force, which is increasing as the tale develops, surrounds him.
Wemmick becomes a very important character at this stage of the story.
His knowledge of the criminal world will help Pip and Herbert’s plan to smuggle Magwitch out of England. He clearly is watching Pip’s back and leaves important notes for him when he returns to London advising him that they are being watched. Again the importance of portable property is emphasized when Wemmick tells Pip to acquire as much as he can. Up until now Wemmick has managed to keep his personal and business lives separate, but they are now merging together.
There is a clear change in Miss Havisham’s behavior.
She has at last realized the harm she has caused to Estella and Pip and regrets her actions. She observes Pip’s passionate pleas to Estella to marry someone worthy of her because he wants her to be happy. This fills Miss Havisham with pity and remorse. There is also a change in Pip for he is direct in his dealings with both Miss Havisham and Estella. He has turned away from being the passive victim of their plans. The young boy who played cards with Estella and was mocked now requests Miss Havisham to continue the support for Herbert in his business venture, and to keep it a secret. Estella has taken time in choosing the husband for her. It is someone that she knows she can offer nothing to and she advises Pip that she will not be a gift to Drummle. It is not clear how the marriage will go, whether she will have power over Drummle or vice versa, but the outcome will surely be that one of them will be hurt.