Eleven years past, and Pip has not seen Joe and Biddy—though he has kept in contact with them via letters. When he visits them, he sees they have a son named Pip. Big Pip and little Pip have an automatic understanding.
Biddy tells Pip he should marry, but he thinks he is a confirmed bachelor. She asks if he still yearns for Estella, or whether he has forgotten her. Pip says he hasn’t forgotten, but it is in the past.
He visits Miss Havisham’s property, though. He had heard that Estella had been abused by her husband until he died two years ago. The house, brewery, and buildings are gone. He sees Estella there. She tells him she still owns the land, though she has lost everything else. It will finally be built upon.
She has often thought of Pip, regretting what she had thrown away due to her ignorance in its worth. Pip says she has always remained in his heart. She is glad she got to see him again. Her suffering resulted in her developing a heart.
Pip takes her hand. Though she plans to part as friends, Pip sees no parting from her.
NOTE: The above is the alternate ending composed by Charles Dickens. There have been many theories as to why he changed his ending. One is that a friend Bulwer-Lytton asked him to change it to a happier ending. Dickens was reputedly stubborn about making changes, and he personally did not believe Estella was meant to make any man happy. Another more probable theory is that the original ending resembled another book, A Day’s Ride by Charles Lever.
Pip is walking with little Pip. A servant comes up to him and tells him that a lady in a carriage wishes to speak with him. It is Estella. Pip has heard that Estella had been abused by her husband until he died two years ago. She is now remarried to a Shropshire doctor that had once defended her from her husband. They live on her fortune.
She assures Pip that her suffering overcame Miss Havisham’s teachings, and she now has a heart.