Miss Havisham is a wee bit crazy! That goes without saying, I suppose. Pip walks her about the disarrayed room in a wheelchair. (Estella has left the room.) She asks Pip again if he finds Estella beautiful and graceful. Of course, who doesn’t?
Miss H tells Pip that she raised Estella to be loved. Now this is where it gets weird. Then she repeats over and over, raising her voice and getting hysterical, ‘Love her, love her, love her!’ This freaks Pip out and it starts to sound like a curse! She says she gave her whole heart and soul to the man who left her at the altar. She’s a bit bitter!
On his walk towards Miss Havisham’s house, Pip admits to himself that to love Estella is irrational, and against all reason, promise, peace, hope and happiness. When he arrives, he is surprised to find Orlick opening the gate for him. Orlick?! What’s he doing there? Pip tries to find out. But Orlick is vague about his reasons for leaving the forge and Joe.
Can you believe I am still at this?! It looks like I am just a little over 1/3 of the way through the book. YIKES!
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!
Page 155 finds Pip listening to Herbert Pocket tell more of the story of Miss Havisham’s life:
The man Miss H fell in love with was NO gentleman. He was not a true gentleman at heart but tried to appear as one. “No varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself.”
Miss H fell hard for him. He swindled her out of large sums of money, all the while professing his love for her and the promise of marriage. Plans were made, a wedding dress purchased, guests invited. They arrived on the date, everyone but the bridegroom. Miss H received a letter from him while she was dressing for the wedding, at twenty minutes to nine. (This is the time that all the clocks at her home have been stopped at.) No one knows what the letter said exactly, but the wedding was off and no one has seen the man since!
Pip discovers that Orlick has a crush on Biddy. He is not happy about that and tries to intervene. It seems he doesn’t want anyone else to like her, even though he has already confessed his love of Estella. He is confused by these emotions. Why does he care what happens to Biddy? She tells Pip that Orlick’s feelings for her should make no difference to him. But they do.
I did this very quick sketch on another board book panel that I painted black. Remember as a kid when you would color very hardly on construction paper, then paint it black all over on top? After the paint dried, you’d scratch designs into the black, revealing the bits of color underneath. That was always so cool and created a nice, surprising effect every time. Well, this is similar to that childhood art technique. I used the end of a paperclip to scratch in Estella, trying to make it unpleasant looking. Then tried to paint Biddy in pretty, sweet, innocent colors on top of pure, white rose sketches. This got me thinking, I bet Estella isn’t really so bad. Or maybe she is also a puppet of Miss Havisham and her choices in life are limited too, as Pip’s are. Who knows her back story… what tragedies she’s encountered. I am sure some of this will unfold as the story goes on.
(Are you wondering what the weird shape is on the board? I believe this was from a kid’s book about snow or penguins. I thought the snow window was fitting underneath Estella’s name.)
Estella Studies Abroad
I created this silhouette in Illustrator and used an old ship engraving as the background. Gave it all a sepia look.
Page 98: Mrs Joe starts to calm down so Pip heads upstairs to change clothes for his half-holiday up-town. (YEAH!) When he comes back down, he finds Joe and Orlick sweeping up and sharing a pot of beer from the Jolly Bargemen. All is fine with the world.
Pip finds himself in front of Miss Havisham’s home, debating whether to ring the bell or flee. He rings, but the gate is not answered by Estella, but by Sarah Pocket. Miss H tells him that he had better not expect anything. He doesn’t (except to see Estella). But alas, she is abroad, studying to become a lady. Miss H asks Pip if he feels that he has lost her.
Where is Estella studying? Maybe France. Hope Pip finds her!
A Shoe Tree!
Pip is still in the room with Miss Havisham and Estella. Pip imagines himself and Estella decaying in the room. Finally, Miss H is done walking and being all gloomy… she demands Pip play cards with Estella again. This is just Pip’s second visit to Manor House. Miss H points out Estella’s beauty and puts her own jewelry on Estella. It’s as if she is trying to force Pip to fall in love with Estella.
After cards, Pip is led outside and fed “dog-like manner” again. He is left free to wander the yard. He walks around the over-grown garden and believes he sees large weeds that have sprouted old boots, shoes and hats! A pale young fellow comes out of the detached house in back and speaks to him. We’ll find out what he says next time!
(Un)happy Birthday, Miss H!
I glued an old dictionary page to a piece of cardboard. Then drew on top. It’s a birthday hat for Miss Havisham! Today is her birthday and some friends (?) and/or relatives have been visiting her while Pip is there to play for her. He’s just walking her around the dusty, neglected old living room. She says she doesn’t wish to speak of her birthday and that she is ready to be laid upon the table, dead. She also says that “that will be the final curse upon him“. Hmmmm…… wonder who the HIM is?
Miss Havisham, laid out upon the grand table, for all to see. This is her wish for when she dies! Pip is still painstakingly walking her around the living room while the others look on and argue. Camilla continues complaining about her health and all the problems that her worrying over Miss H has caused. The other people, including Miss H, seem to have no sympathy for Camilla. (Except for maybe her husband, Raymond) Miss H tells each of them where they will sit around the table after she dies, with her upon the table. Morbid!
I did a very tiny watercolor of the table and Miss H’s skeleton. Touched it up in Photoshop. Thank Heaven for Photoshop!
Day 66 Page 71 of the Great Expectations novel by Charles Dickens:
Miss Havisham asks Pip if he is ready to play this time. He says no. (He is still uncomfortable there plus he was just slapped by Estella.) So she asks him if he is willing to work instead. He says yes to that. She sends him across the hall to a different room to wait for her. Even though it is a different room, it is in the same state as her dressing room. This room appears to be a living room/dining room. Dust and cobwebs everywhere. Pip can hear and see beetles and other creatures (mice, spiders). In the center of a large table that also seems frozen in time is some strange centerpiece covered in speckled-legged spiders. I read ahead and found out that it is Miss Havisham’s bride-cake! YUCK!
I decided to show Estella as a wicked black widow spider on top of the moldy wedding cake. I created this piece with watercolor pencils, scanned it in and did a little more to it in Photoshop, applying a filter.
See you tomorrow!