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Summary Chapter 21

 

CHAPTER 21

Mr. Wemmick is a man that is forever mourning, as Pip observes from the amount of mourning rings he wears. He asks Pip if he has ever been to London before, and learning he hasn’t, remarks he was a new arrival in London once too. It is odd for him to remember that now, for he is well acquainted with it by this time.

Pip asks if it is a bad place. Wemmick says you can find people to rob and murder you anywhere. Pip thinks it only happens between people who know each other and have a grudge in other places. Wemmick replies people will do it for gain. When Pip replies that is worse, Wemmick says it is much the same to him.

Pip then asks if Wemmick knows Mr. Matthew Pocket, and the man confirms this. Pip gets the idea that Wemmick doesn’t really like the man.

Pip is dismayed to see how shabby The Barnard Inn is. He finds it depressing. The place reminds him of death. The square looks like a burying ground for the occupants who commit suicide. It smells of rot.

They find a note from Mr. Pocket’s son that says he’ll return shortly. Wemmick leaves Pip there, saying they’ll see each other often as he handles the money. Pip is nearly decapitated when he opens a window, and he decides that London’s good reputation has been overblown.

Pip’s interpretation of the phrase “to return shortly” is different from Mr. Pocket, Jr.’s. He finds the wait much longer than he expects. Finally, a boy his age enters. He apologizes, telling Pip he thought that Pip would arrive on a later coach. He had gone to the market to buy some fruit. Mr. Pocket, Jr. continues to explain that his father thought Pip would be happier lodging with his son than with him. The boy offers to give Pip a tour of London and is confident they will be friends.

Their lodgings are what Mr. Pocket can afford on his own income, though some of the furnishings have been supplied at Pip’s expense. Mr. Pocket’s father doesn’t have anything to bestow upon him, and he wouldn’t accept it if he did.

They recognize each other at the same time. Mr. Pocket Jr. is the red-headed boy Pip had fought on Mrs. Havisham’s estate years ago. 

Charles Dickens