In the marshy mists of a village churchyard, atiny orphan boy named Pip is suddenly terrified by ashivering, limping convict on the run. Yearslater, a supremely arrogant young Pip boards the coachto London where, by the grace of a mysteriousbenefactor, he will join the ranks of the idle richand "become a gentleman." Finally, in theluminous mists of the village at evening, Pip theman meets Estella, his dazzingly beautifultormentor, in a ruined garden--and lays to rest all theheartaches and illusions that his "greatexpectations" have brought upon him. Dickens'sbiographer, Edgar H. Johnson, has said that--exceptfor the author's last-minute tampering with hisoriginal ending-- Great Expectations is "the most perfectly constructed andperfectly written of all Dickens's works." In JohnIrving's Introduction to this edition, thenovelist takes the view that Dickens's revised ending is"far more that mirror of the quality of trust inthe novel as a whole." Both versions of theending are printed here."