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Great Expectations > GE, Chapters 09 - 10

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Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
Dear Fellow-Dickensians,

I’ll give a quick recap of Chapters 9 and 10 here, which also include important moments in Pip’s life. In Chapter 9, we are told that Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook are waiting for Pip to come home and to tell them everything that went on at Miss Havisham’s. Our hero is so troubled by their incessant questions that he starts telling them blatant lies of wondrous things, such as velvet coaches, dogs eating veal-cutlets and other things. Which brings me on to a question:

What do you think of this instance of lying on the part of Pip? Does it affect, in your eyes, his reliability as a narrator?

I was asking myself this question because he tells that when Joe comes in, Mrs. Joe tells her husband everything she learned from Pip, “more for the relief of her own mind than for the gratification of his”. When reading this, it struck me that Pip could hardly know the real motives for Mrs. Joe’s communication; do we have, here at least, a sign of Pip’s interpretations of things being unfavourable to Mrs. Joe?

Later, Pip has a bad conscience about all his fibs with regard to Joe, and he makes a clean breast of it all to his friend. Joe is greatly concerned and tells him something so wise that I’m going to give it as a quotation:

”If you can’t get to be oncommon through going straight, you’ll never get to do it through going crooked.”


Maybe, this bit of advice will become important in the course of the novel. Up in his room, Pip again is haunted by feelings of social inferiority and he cannot help thinking that Joe and his sister would be looked down upon by Estella and Miss Havisham. The chapter ends with the following words, which again show the more mature narrator commenting on his life:

”That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.“



Chapter 10 tells us of a meaningful encounter: When Pip one Saturday night goes to pick up Joe from the Three Jolly Bargemen, where he is smoking his pipe, he finds his friend seated at a table together with Mr. Wopsle and a stranger, who continually cocks his eye at Pip as though he were pointing an invisible gun at him. The stranger has his head all on one side – which, again, reminded me of a hanging (and of Mr. Flintwinch from Little Dorrit) – and he has tied a handkerchief around his neck, just like Pip’s convict. In the course of the conversation, the stranger asks a lot of questions as to how Pip and Joe are related, and he stirs his rum with a file – in a way that is only visible to Pip. When Joe and Pip leave, the stranger gives him some coins enveloped in paper, and to the Gargeries’ surprise they later find out that this paper is

”[n]othing less than two fat sweltering one-pound notes that seemed to have been on terms of the warmest intimacy with all the cattle-markets in the county.”


Was it the convict who had sent Pip those two bank notes? And why are they described as “fat” and “sweltering”?


message 2: by Kim (last edited Feb 06, 2017 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod

"Leave this lad to me, Ma'am; leave this lad to me"

chapter 9

John McLenan

1860

Harper's Weekly 4 (22 December 1860)

T. B. Peterson single-volume edition of 1861 used as the frontispiece in the volume.

Text Illustrated:

“Well, boy,” Uncle Pumblechook began, as soon as he was seated in the chair of honor by the fire. “How did you get on up town?”

I answered, “Pretty well, sir,” and my sister shook her fist at me.

“Pretty well?” Mr. Pumblechook repeated. “Pretty well is no answer. Tell us what you mean by pretty well, boy?”

Whitewash on the forehead hardens the brain into a state of obstinacy perhaps. Anyhow, with whitewash from the wall on my forehead, my obstinacy was adamantine. I reflected for some time, and then answered as if I had discovered a new idea, “I mean pretty well.”

My sister with an exclamation of impatience was going to fly at me,—I had no shadow of defence, for Joe was busy in the forge,—when Mr. Pumblechook interposed with “No! Don’t lose your temper. Leave this lad to me, ma’am; leave this lad to me.” Mr. Pumblechook then turned me towards him, as if he were going to cut my hair, and said,—

“First (to get our thoughts in order): Forty-three pence?”

I calculated the consequences of replying “Four Hundred Pound,” and finding them against me, went as near the answer as I could—which was somewhere about eightpence off. Mr. Pumblechook then put me through my pence-table from “twelve pence make one shilling,” up to “forty pence make three and fourpence,” and then triumphantly demanded, as if he had done for me, “Now! How much is forty-three pence?” To which I replied, after a long interval of reflection, “I don’t know.” And I was so aggravated that I almost doubt if I did know.

Mr. Pumblechook worked his head like a screw to screw it out of me, and said, “Is forty-three pence seven and sixpence three fardens, for instance?”

“Yes!” said I. And although my sister instantly boxed my ears, it was highly gratifying to me to see that the answer spoilt his joke, and brought him to a dead stop.

“Boy! What like is Miss Havisham?” Mr. Pumblechook began again when he had recovered; folding his arms tight on his chest and applying the screw."


Oh, I don't know what the joke is, I guess because I see there is math involved.


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Kim | 5523 comments Mod


And then they both stared at me

Chapter 9

H. M. Brock

Test Illustrated:

“Why, don’t you know,” said Mr. Pumblechook, testily, “that when I have been there, I have been took up to the outside of her door, and the door has stood ajar, and she has spoke to me that way. Don’t say you don’t know that, Mum. Howsever, the boy went there to play. What did you play at, boy?”

“We played with flags,” I said. (I beg to observe that I think of myself with amazement, when I recall the lies I told on this occasion.)

“Flags!” echoed my sister.

“Yes,” said I. “Estella waved a blue flag, and I waved a red one, and Miss Havisham waved one sprinkled all over with little gold stars, out at the coach-window. And then we all waved our swords and hurrahed.”

“Swords!” repeated my sister. “Where did you get swords from?”

“Out of a cupboard,” said I. “And I saw pistols in it,—and jam,—and pills. And there was no daylight in the room, but it was all lighted up with candles.”

“That’s true, Mum,” said Mr. Pumblechook, with a grave nod. “That’s the state of the case, for that much I’ve seen myself.” And then they both stared at me, and I, with an obtrusive show of artlessness on my countenance, stared at them, and plaited the right leg of my trousers with my right hand."



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Kim | 5523 comments Mod


A Stranger at the Jolly Bargemen

Chapter 10

F. W. Pailthorpe

c. 1900

Garnett Edition

Text Illustrated:

"There was a bar at the Jolly Bargemen, with some alarmingly long chalk scores in it on the wall at the side of the door, which seemed to me to be never paid off. They had been there ever since I could remember, and had grown more than I had. But there was a quantity of chalk about our country, and perhaps the people neglected no opportunity of turning it to account.

It being Saturday night, I found the landlord looking rather grimly at these records; but as my business was with Joe and not with him, I merely wished him good evening, and passed into the common room at the end of the passage, where there was a bright large kitchen fire, and where Joe was smoking his pipe in company with Mr. Wopsle and a stranger. Joe greeted me as usual with “Halloa, Pip, old chap!” and the moment he said that, the stranger turned his head and looked at me.

He was a secret-looking man whom I had never seen before. His head was all on one side, and one of his eyes was half shut up, as if he were taking aim at something with an invisible gun. He had a pipe in his mouth, and he took it out, and, after slowly blowing all his smoke away and looking hard at me all the time, nodded. So, I nodded, and then he nodded again, and made room on the settle beside him that I might sit down there.

But as I was used to sit beside Joe whenever I entered that place of resort, I said “No, thank you, sir,” and fell into the space Joe made for me on the opposite settle. The strange man, after glancing at Joe, and seeing that his attention was otherwise engaged, nodded to me again when I had taken my seat, and then rubbed his leg—in a very odd way, as it struck me.

“You was saying,” said the strange man, turning to Joe, “that you was a blacksmith.”



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Kim | 5523 comments Mod


Chapter 10

Harry Furniss

1910

Charles Dickens Library Edition

Text Illustrated:

"And here I may remark that when Mr. Wopsle referred to me, he considered it a necessary part of such reference to rumple my hair and poke it into my eyes. I cannot conceive why everybody of his standing who visited at our house should always have put me through the same inflammatory process under similar circumstances. Yet I do not call to mind that I was ever in my earlier youth the subject of remark in our social family circle, but some large-handed person took some such ophthalmic steps to patronize me.

All this while, the strange man looked at nobody but me, and looked at me as if he were determined to have a shot at me at last, and bring me down. But he said nothing after offering his Blue Blazes observation, until the glasses of rum and water were brought; and then he made his shot, and a most extraordinary shot it was.

It was not a verbal remark, but a proceeding in dumb-show, and was pointedly addressed to me. He stirred his rum and water pointedly at me, and he tasted his rum and water pointedly at me. And he stirred it and he tasted it; not with a spoon that was brought to him, but with a file.

He did this so that nobody but I saw the file; and when he had done it he wiped the file and put it in a breast-pocket. I knew it to be Joe’s file, and I knew that he knew my convict, the moment I saw the instrument. I sat gazing at him, spell-bound. But he now reclined on his settle, taking very little notice of me, and talking principally about turnips.

There was a delicious sense of cleaning-up and making a quiet pause before going on in life afresh, in our village on Saturday nights, which stimulated Joe to dare to stay out half an hour longer on Saturdays than at other times. The half-hour and the rum and water running out together, Joe got up to go, and took me by the hand.

“Stop half a moment, Mr. Gargery,” said the strange man. “I think I’ve got a bright new shilling somewhere in my pocket, and if I have, the boy shall have it.”

He looked it out from a handful of small change, folded it in some crumpled paper, and gave it to me. “Yours!” said he. “Mind! Your own.”

I thanked him, staring at him far beyond the bounds of good manners, and holding tight to Joe. He gave Joe good-night, and he gave Mr. Wopsle good-night (who went out with us), and he gave me only a look with his aiming eye,—no, not a look, for he shut it up, but wonders may be done with an eye by hiding it."



Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
John MacLenon’s idea of Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook badgering poor Pip with their questions strikes me as impressive because there seem to be invisible lines going from the two adults’ eyes directly to Pip’s head, and the movement of the arms also underlines this. We have the idea of Pip being under constant fire. Speaking of fire, the fireplace in the background gives us an idea of how hot and uncomfortable Pip must feel under the barrage of their questions, and one can read the fire as the visual illustration of the phrase “to grill somebody”. Mrs. Joe looks too old, though, and I asked myself why Mr. Pumblechook’s nose is so red. There must be an explanation for this latter fact, mustn’t there? ;-)

H.M. Brock’s rendition of the same situation occurred less effective to me even though it deftly puts us into the same perspective as Pip and has the two objectionable characters stare at us. I think that Brock hit Mrs. Joe much better than MacLenon by making her less old, but at the same time, Uncle Pumblechook seems too weak to me although he looks like a carp. I think that Uncle P. is a bully, though, and MacLenon’s P. looks more like a bully to me.

Pailthorpe’s scene of the Three Jolly Bargemen made me feel jolly myself because it reminded me a lot of Phiz’s style, what with the fine lines, the richness in detail and the homeliness of the whole situation. Mark how Joe puts his arm around his friend Pip and how his eyes are turned skywards, which shows he is into a talkative and easy mood, and how the mysterious stranger is bending forward, keen on worming the information out of old Joe.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments Tristram wrote: "Mr. Pumblechook’s nose is so red...."

W.C. Fields.


Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
I know W.C. Fields - a very grumpy but also likeable comedian ;-)


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
A moral question: Is Mrs. Joe taking Pip's pound notes, when they were given to him as "Yours...Mind, your own!" stealing?


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments Everyman wrote: "A moral question: Is Mrs. Joe taking Pip's pound notes, when they were given to him as "Yours...Mind, your own!" stealing?"

It's taken without explanation that I recall, so it's difficult to tell. If the household needs the money then everyone has to chip in. It's the way it's taken more than anything else, bullying. Is Mrs Joe any less a caricature than Miss Havisham up to this point?


Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
I don't think it's stealing because we are told a little later that she put the two pounds aside in case the stranger came back to reclaim the money. In one of the later chapters, we learn that two pound notes are still there - so Mrs. Joe has not appropriated them but really put them by.


message 12: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
This is an illustration of Mr. Pumblechook by artist Claud Lovat Fraser, 1890-1921.



Mr. Pumblechook

As for our artist:

"Claud Lovat Fraser was christened Lovat Claud; as a young man he reversed those names for euphony's sake but he was always known as Lovat.

In 1913, along with Holbrook Jackson and the poet Ralph Hodgson, Lovat Fraser established a small publishing firm called The Sign of the Flying Fame to produce decorative poetry broadsides and chapbooks. Although printed in limited editions and often hand-colored, they were affordably priced and were intended to make poetry more accessible to the general public.

In October 1914 Fraser enlisted with the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps, and was quickly commissioned into the 14th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. After a year's training, in September 1915 the Battalion was sent out to France as part of 21st Division, one of three Reserve divisions for the forthcoming Battle of Loos. Fraser was fortunate to survive that battle unscathed; many of his battalion's officers were killed or wounded and a quarter of its men also became casualties. In December of that year, by now serving in the Ypres Salient, the battalion withstood a German gas attack in which Fraser may have suffered injuries to his lungs. He was promoted to captain in early 1916 but in mid-February that year he was invalided home, suffering from shellshock. During his period on active service he had produced many sketches, of the battlefields and of life behind the lines. Several of these sketches were submitted to the Imperial War Museum who purchased six of them in November 1917.

After the war Fraser made designs for the Harold Monro's Poetry Bookshop and for the Curwen Press. He also executed private commissions for bookplates, stationery and greeting cards. In 1919 he produced the designs for Nigel Playfair's ground-breaking production of As You Like It in Stratford upon Avon, then in 1920 for Playfair's highly successful London revival of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera.

During this period Grace and Lovat Fraser became friendly with Paul Nash. They were introduced by Nash and his wife to Dymchurch in Kent, where the two families holidayed together. On one such holiday there in 1921 Lovat was taken seriously ill.[4] He died in a local nursing home on 18 June, after a surgical operation for obstruction of the bowel the previous day. He had a history of heart trouble following on an episode of rheumatic fever as a young man; by the time he left the Army this was already becoming severe. Neither his gassing in 1915, his smoking habit nor – latterly – his overweight can have helped."



Peter | 2918 comments Mod
Kim

You found someone to rival Kyd.


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
That's who I thought it was at first.


Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
I agree, Peter and Kim. My first idea was that it was another of Kyd's strokes of genius. Then I noticed that the character depicted actually looked like a normal human being and not like the one enemy of Batman's I found most creepy as a child - The Scarecrow -, and so I dismissed Kyd as the artist.

However, this does not look like Uncle Pumblechook at all but more like Pip himself dressed (up) as a gentleman.


Mary Lou | 2226 comments I know they're exaggerated, but I like the one in which Pumblechook looks like a toad. As cartoonish as they are, they are closer to the way I think of him.


message 17: by Ami (last edited Apr 29, 2017 02:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ami | 371 comments Tristram wrote: "Dear Fellow-Dickensians,

I’ll give a quick recap of Chapters 9 and 10 here, which also include important moments in Pip’s life. In Chapter 9, we are told that Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook are wait..."


I was rather taken by Mrs. Joe's and Mr. Pumblechook's excitement as they listened about Pip's day with Miss Havisham. Weren't they too taken by his lies? It's understandable Mrs. Joe would be since she has no concept of the upper class, but Mr. Pumblechook too was rather gullible. I was under the impression he would have better informed about Miss Havisham on his own accord, but from the interaction I read, he is just as out of touch with upper class as Mrs. Joe is.

Later, Pip has a bad conscience about all his fibs with regard to Joe, and he makes a clean breast of it all to his friend.
He did make a clean breast of it all, but he doesn't seem to have adhered to Joe's reasonings for too long. I too had the same thoughts; however, once Pip returns home and is in his bed, how consumed is he about his bad conscience...instead he's thinking about how common Estella would consider Joe...his thick boots and coarse hands...His mind wandered into that disturbed and unthankful state. I sense the beginning of a rift in shared values between Pip and Joe.

Was it the convict who had sent Pip those two bank notes? And why are they described as “fat” and “sweltering”?
Oh, how exciting was this chapter? The two one pound notes are described this way to represent their extreme value to a family like Pip's compared to, say if Miss Havisham or Estella were to find the notes. As we read, the Gargery household is in a state of shock at the sum and Joe runs, not even a briskly walks, back to the Jolly Bargeman in hopes to correct an oversight.

I had a feeling the mystery man who kept looking at Pip as if he were determined to have a shot at him, may have been his very own convict but I was not sure until this man pulled out Joe's file within the sights of Pip alone...But who knows if it really is him! I found the repetitive mention of the man's determined gaze, shooting a gun, and taking aim at Pip to be peculiar as well.

there seem to be invisible lines going from the two adults’ eyes directly to Pip’s head, and the movement of the arms also underlines this. We have the idea of Pip being under constant fire.
I loved this ...What a great observation. Dickens writes something similar to this in "Dombey and Son..." The very beginning, Dombey sitting in a room consumed by his own thoughts for his son's future, gazing upon his newborn son sitting in his cradle, the baby making fists and throwing them in the air against the background of a roaring fire. I remember thinking it to foreshadow tension between father and son?


Tristram Shandy | 4341 comments Mod
I was under the impression he would have better informed about Miss Havisham on his own accord, but from the interaction I read, he is just as out of touch with upper class as Mrs. Joe is.

I bought Dickens's description of a very gullible and impressionable Pumblechook here because when our beloved corn dealer presents Pip at Satis House and tries to ingratiate his way into the manor, he is rudely rebuffed by Estella, which I took as a sign of his social position not being by half as elevated as he makes it out to be. He is still an outsider to the real upper crust in the parish, although to the Gargerys, he may well seem to be a bigwig. In other words, he has no idea whatsoever of what a mysterious lady like Miss Havisham may be doing for a pastime in the seclusion of a home.

The two one pound notes are described this way to represent their extreme value to a family like Pip's compared to, say if Miss Havisham or Estella were to find the notes.

You are making a good point here, Ami. When I read on, I also reconsidered this detail and saw it as well in the light of another interpretation, which I am going to put in spoiler brackets here because reading it at this stage would tell you too much about the further events in the novel. However, since we have nearly finished the novel, I think I may run the risk of mentioning it here: (view spoiler)


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