Herbert talks about his career to Pip. He says he insures ships. And has grand plans of trading in the East and West Indies (silks, spices, dyes, drugs, precious woods, sugar, tobacco, rum and elephant tusks)! This all sounds very exciting, exotic and profitable to Pip. But, Pip then finds out that Herbert is not actually doing any of this – trading or insuring. He works in a counting-house and informs Pip that it pays nothing. But, he is “always looking about” for an opportunity to pursue these dreams.
Happy Early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!
Here’s what’s happening on Page 156:
Pip, Handel according to Herbert, finds out that Miss Havisham’s half-brother was in on the cruel scheme with her fiancé to swindle her out of her fortune. (Poor Miss H!) Herbert does not know where the two men are today. They seem to have disappeared. Estella was adopted by Miss H at some point – also something Herbert knows little about. Maybe we will find out later.
In the meantime, Pip and Herbert agree that they both now know the exact same information about Miss H.
How horrible to be ready for the wedding, in the gown, cake on the table, only to find out that it was all a cruel joke, a mean scheme!
Pip is hanging out at the run-down Barnard’s Inn waiting on young Mr Pocket. Pocket finally arrives carrying a sack under each arm and a basket of strawberries. He has been to the Covent Garden Market shopping for some goodies to make Pip feel more at home.
They seem to get along well, laughing while struggling to get the door open. I think they will become fast friends!
I wondered if Covent Garden Market still exists in London after all these years. This is what I found out:
Yes, it does! It is a district in London that currently contains some trendy shops, restaurants, markets and theatres on the eastern fringes of the West End. It was once a small open-air fruit and vegetable market.
It fell into disrepute (brothels and taverns took over) in the 1700s, becoming a well-known red light district of London! The Parliament intervened and by the early 1900s it became a nice place to shop, see a show and gather with friends and family, as it is today.
At one point, a massive, beautiful arched ceiling with green beams was built over a large portion, creating an indoor market and shopping mall. I did this sketch based on several pictures I found. I got out my ruler and attempted some perspective! Haven’t done that in a very long time. And probably won’t do it again for a long time!
If any of you have been to Covent Garden Market, let me know what you thought of it. I would love to go to London someday and check it out for myself!
Jaggers eats a quick lunch, standing and drinking sherry from a flask. (He’s a very busy man, too busy to sit for lunch!) He informs Pip of his sleeping arrangements for the coming week: a few days with young Pocket, then on to his father’s place. (Young Pocket’s father or Jaggers’s father? This is not clear.)
Pip is also told what his allowance will be (VERY generous – lucky Pip!) and where to shop. While walking with Wemmick (Jaggers’s clerk) to his first place to hang out, Pip sizes up Wemmick: he’s a dry, short man with a wooden square face, probably a bachelor, judging by his frayed clothing.
I’m glad to be back to posting, from my short Spring Break. I plan to get back to posting regularly, despite the fact that I HAVE to get started on my taxes! argh
Pip and Pumblechook eat, drink and “get merry.” Pumblechook offers Pip the best cuts of meat. They both become flushed in the face, Pip “steeped in wine”. Pumblechook talks to the chicken in the dish which they are devouring, saying that the fledgling had no idea what was in store for him. (Hmmm… he’s talking about the chicken, right? Or maybe about Pip!)
Biddy and Pip get into a little spat while discussing Pip’s helping Joe. (Pip is the child afterall! Who does he think he is?! The King of England?) Biddy is obviously upset and plucks, then rips up, a black currant leaf. This scent of black currant is very strong. Pip will remember this scent together with this conversation throughout his life.
Pip says that Joe, in his current state, won’t fit in when Pip brings him into his “new” life. Biddy takes offense when Pip calls Joe backward “in his learning and his manners”.
I glued down onto canvas an earlier page out of my Great Expectations book. I painted some pretty black currant leaves and berries in acrylic. I don’t think I have ever had fresh black currants. They must not grow down here in the South. I have had dried ones and they are delicious on a salad!
Pip walks further on, out to the battery. He ponders whether Miss Havisham (he’s assuming she’s his benefactor) intends him to marry Estella. Such lovely thoughts!
He drifts off to sleep and awakes to find Joe sitting beside him. Pip tells Joe and Biddy (separately) that he’ll never forget them. He asks Biddy a favor, that she be OK with him helping Joe become less dull, more civilized and more of a gentleman, like he is to become.
Joe is obviously comfortable with who he is, but Pip is not (with himself or with Joe). If Pip had never met Miss Havisham and Estella, he’d have been perfectly happy being a blacksmith, a commoner and possibly marrying sweet Biddy.
I decided to do a portrait of the future gentleman Pip, in his new attire. I purposefully stretched him out to be bigger than himself, his head up in the clouds, his nose in the air, above all those he knows. Maybe he will redeem himself someday or London will put him in his place! Surely he’s going to London in the next few pages!!!
Jaggers makes it clear that he only “mentions” Mr Matthew Pocket as a possible suitable tutor. He is in NO way RECOMMENDING him. This is weird. This Jaggers is weird.
He gives Pip money (20 guineas) for new clothes before Pip makes his trip to London. Was this a lot of money back then? I tried to figure out what that amount would be today. The gold one guinea coin was last minted in 1813, but was still used long after that. It was replaced by the gold Sovereign coin in 1817. One guinea in the late 1800s would have the same purchasing power of about 66 pounds today.
So, ONE late 1800s guinea = 66 pounds today = $104 US dollars today.
20 guineas in 1800 x $104 = $2080!!! That’s a lot of money for Pip for clothes! My little altered book page is of a “Pip” guinea in a pocket.
Jaggers calls Pip, Mr. Pip. He’s never been called that before. More details of the arrangement of PIp’s education are revealed:
1) Jaggers will be his guardian
2) Pip will receive a large sum of money to pay for his education and maintenance
3) Pip will need a tutor
Jaggers makes it very clear that he, Jaggers, is being paid for his services. (He is not doing this of his own good will or choice.) The tutor that Jaggers mentions for Pip is a Mr. Matthew Pocket.
I wanted to do a painting that reflects Pip’s leaving of the natural world (his life in the country and working at the forge/outdoors, wandering through the marshes) and heading to the big city where he will become refined and not use his hands for work. He’ll become educated, a gentleman, and his life will revolve around the finer things in life and culture. (I assume all of this!)
Pip will be moving to London soon. How exciting! Anyone out there reading this live in London? Now, or in the past, maybe future plans to live there?
Pip, at times, believes he could be happy living the life of a blacksmith and settling down with Biddy. But then, thoughts of Miss Havisham and especially Estella, enter his mind and all is lost. He’s very confused, as most kids his age are. I am guessing that this is about 5-6 years after the event in the marshes with the convict. So Pip is probably an early teenager by now. What teenager knows what they want?! Things haven’t changed all that much.
Four years into his apprenticeship, Pip is at The Three Jolly Bargemen listening to Mr Wopsle give a recount of a murder case as he reads out of the newspaper to a crowd. At the end, a stranger questions Mr Wopsle about the verdict. He has an expression of contempt on his face as he asks Mr Wopsle if the suspect is Guilty or Not Guilty?
Here is a little painting of a leaf I did with acrylics and paint markers. I’ve just rediscovered paint markers. I used them when they first came out… in the 80s(?) They work better now than they used to and they allow me to sketch with paint rather than using a brush. Fun!
Will Pip turn over a new leaf and leave the forge, fly away to find Estella? Or will he be able to become content again with his blacksmithing life?