Sunday, May 17, 2009

Great Expectations: Chapters 24-30

I am caught up with my reading schedule, just not my notes blogging. I've been having a little trouble with my back...can't sit too long at the computer. Are you reading with me, Mary?

Chapters 24-27

As he happened to go out now, and as Wemmick was brisk and talkative, I said to Wemmick that I hardly knew what to make of Mr. Jaggers's manner.

"Tell him that, and he'll take it as a compliment," answered Wemmick; "he don't mean that you should know what to make of it.—Oh!" for I looked surprised, "it's not personal; it's professional: only professional."

Easier for Mr. J to read into others. ...said Wemmick, "as if he had set a man-trap and was watching it.

Mr. Wemmick's "portable property," is this why he lets Pip into his private world? Does he cultivate the possibility of future portable properties? Or is there something about Pip that lets him know that he could belong in his private sanctuary?

Chapter 25

I soon contracted expensive habits, and began to spend an amount of money that within a few short months I should have thought almost fabulous; but through good and evil I stuck to my books. There was no other merit in this, than my having sense enough to feel my deficiencies.

From not-having to having, I wonder if Pip could avoid this. He hasn't had the education of restraint that comes with having some money. Only of the poor, that if you have a little something, you spend it.

I'm loving Mr. Wemmick and his freehold with the Aged Parent.

Chapter 26

Pip's guardian uses scented soap like armor. Why isn't Pip one he arms himself from, I wonder? Wemmick was right, now Mr. Jaggers invites Pip to dinner, with friends. He is fascinated by Drummle, the brute. Is this why he's a good lawyer? He's drawn to the ones skating the edge of civilized conduct?

Pip on Mr. J's housekeeper: I cannot say whether any diseased affection of the heart caused her lips to be parted as if she were panting, and her face to bear a curious expression of suddenness and flutter; but I know that I had been to see Macbeth at the theatre, a night or two before, and that her face looked to me as if it were all disturbed by fiery air, like the faces I had seen rise out of the Witches' caldron.

Mr. J presenting his housekeeper: "If you talk of strength," said Mr. Jaggers, "I'll show you a wrist. Molly, let them see your wrist." ... He took his hand from hers, and turned that wrist up on the table. She brought her other hand from behind her, and held the two out side by side. The last wrist was much disfigured,—deeply scarred and scarred across and across. When she held her hands out she took her eyes from Mr. Jaggers, and turned them watchfully on every one of the rest of us in succession. " There's power here," said Mr. Jaggers, coolly tracing out the sinews with his forefinger.

What's that all about? Mr. J zooms in on power. Has Pip no power, thus no armor needed? Or is Pip untainted, thus no washing needed? Pip goes back to find Mr. J washing with his scented soap. Did Pip just chance upon that, or was he curious about whether Mr. J would be washing after his guests.

Mr. J. on Drummle: "No, no," my guardian assented; "don't have too much to do with him. Keep as clear of him as you can. But I like the fellow, Pip; he is one of the true sort. Why, if I was a fortune-teller—"

What's that mean to Mr. J, "one of the true sort?" Is that something like the natural state of being human as found in "Gulliver's Travels"?

Chapter 27

Joe comes to town. Pip's debt is growing, and has a servant that he feels more of a servant to.

Joe's news: "Had a drop, Joe?" "Why yes," said Joe, lowering his voice, "[Wopsle]'s left the Church and went into the playacting. Which the playacting have likeways brought him to London along with me.
Could it be the loss of the influence of Pip's sister?

Joe calls Pip 'sir'.

Joe's other news: "Miss A., or otherways Havisham. Her expression air then as follering: 'Mr. Gargery. You air in correspondence with Mr. Pip?' Having had a letter from you, I were able to say 'I am.' (When I married your sister, sir, I said 'I will;' and when I answered your friend, Pip, I said 'I am.') 'Would you tell him, then,' said she, 'that which Estella has come home and would be glad to see him.'"

There is now a gulf between Pip and Joe: It ain't that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall never see me no more in these clothes. I'm wrong in these clothes. I'm wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th' meshes. You won't find half so much fault in me if you think of me in my forge dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe.

Chapters 28-30

As soon as I read Pip would travel with two convicts, I knew there would be one from his past.
There stood the man whom I had seen on the settle at the Three Jolly Bargemen on a Saturday night, and who had brought me down with his invisible gun!

Pip avoids Biddy and/or Joe by staying at the Blue Boar. Pip overhears the one convict tell the other about having been given the task of giving two one-pound notes to a boy, who happened to be Pip.

Still, the coincidence of our being together on the coach, was sufficiently strange to fill me with a dread that some other coincidence might at any moment connect me, in his hearing, with my name. For this reason, I resolved to alight as soon as we touched the town, and put myself out of his hearing.

I'm with you on that one, Pip.

Chapter 29

I could go there to-morrow,—thinking about my patroness, and painting brilliant pictures of her plans for me. She had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to restore the desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clocks a-going and the cold hearths a-blazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy the vermin,—in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance, and marry the Princess.

I'm not with you on that one, Pip. Estella's so beautiful, he doesn't recognize her at first.

Orlick! I still suspect he's working for someone. Who?

Pip on Estella:
Truly it was impossible to dissociate her presence from all those wretched hankerings after money and gentility that had disturbed my boyhood.... In a word, it was impossible for me to separate her, in the past or in the present, from the innermost life of my life.

..."Not remember that you made me cry?" said I. "No," said she, and shook her head and looked about her. I verily believe that her not remembering and not minding in the least, made me cry again, inwardly,—and that is the sharpest crying of all.

Estella warning Pip:
"I am serious," said Estella, not so much with a frown (for her brow was smooth) as with a darkening of her face; "if we are to be thrown much together, you had better believe it at once. No!" imperiously stopping me as I opened my lips. "I have not bestowed my tenderness anywhere. I have never had any such thing."

I have to wonder, why does she warn him if there is not some kind of feeling there? If she doesn't have feeling, she wouldn't care enough to warn him, right?

This is an eerie echo of Pip's perambulations with Miss Havisham. Now he escorts Estella:
Come! You shall not shed tears for my cruelty to-day; you shall be my Page, and give me your shoulder." Her handsome dress had trailed upon the ground. She held it in one hand now, and with the other lightly touched my shoulder as we walked. We walked round the ruined garden twice or thrice more, and it was all in bloom for me.

Mr. J shows up, and never ever looks at Estella, except when ...
In the interval, Miss Havisham, in a fantastic way, had put some of the most beautiful jewels from her dressing-table into Estella's hair, and about her bosom and arms; and I saw even my guardian look at her from under his thick eyebrows, and raise them a little, when her loveliness was before him, with those rich flushes of glitter and color in it.

I wonder if Mr. J has a bit of Sydney Carton in his character.

Far into the night, Miss Havisham's words, "Love her, love her, love her!" sounded in my ears. I adapted them for my own repetition, and said to my pillow, "I love her, I love her, I love her!" hundreds of times. Then, a burst of gratitude came upon me, that she should be destined for me, once the blacksmith's boy.

Oh Pip. It's a set-up, Pip!

Chapter 30

The coach, with Mr. Jaggers inside, came up in due time, and I took my box-seat again, and arrived in London safe,—but not sound, for my heart was gone. As soon as I arrived, I sent a penitential codfish and barrel of oysters to Joe (as reparation for not having gone myself), and then went on to Barnard's Inn.

Herbert to Pip on his obvious love:
"Told me! You have never told me when you have got your hair cut, but I have had senses to perceive it. You have always adored her, ever since I have known you. You brought your adoration and your portmanteau here together. Told me! Why, you have always told me all day long. When you told me your own story, you told me plainly that you began adoring her the first time you saw her, when you were very young indeed."

Herbert on Pip's inheritance (listen, Pip!)
"I have been thinking since we have been talking with our feet on this fender, that Estella surely cannot be a condition of your inheritance, if she was never referred to by your guardian...."

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