- Introducing Mrs. Joe Gargary: "...had established a great reputation with herself and the neighbors because she had brought me up “by hand.” Having at that time to find out for myself what the expression meant, and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand, and to be much in the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me, I supposed that Joe Gargery and I were both brought up by hand." I love that bit about her buying into her own legend.
- Introducing Joe Gargary: "Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, and with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got mixed with their own whites. He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow,— a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in weakness."
- Love this description of Mrs. Joe: "...had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap."
- Pip and Joe are a team, as they are the "fellow-sufferers" in the household. And when Mrs. Joe is on the warpath, Joe calls it a "Ram-page". Hee.
- This entire chapter is killing me: Pip says that he "often served as a connubial missile" when Mrs. Joe would throw him, bodily, at Joe. IT'S, LIKE, THE MOST ENTERTAINING DESCRIPTION OF CHILD ABUSE EVER. SO THEN JOE PROTECTS PIP BY SHOVING HIM UP THE CHIMNEY. WHILE THERE'S A FIRE GOING. I am sensing that I'll be using the Caps Lock a lot in these recaps.
- But then, Pip is suddenly sitting on a stool. So either I misunderstood "passed me on into the chimney", or Pip is playing fast-and-loose with his narration. Or maybe it's one of those huge open chimney things. STILL.
- Seriously, Charles Dickens can even make a description of preparing bread-and-butter entertaining.
- Pip, feeling that he'll need "something in reserve" for his "dreadful acquaintance, and his ally the still more dreadful young man", shoves the bread and butter down his pants, which leads to Joe and Mrs. Joe to believe that he'd "Bolted" (it's capitalized when Joe says it, but not Mrs. Joe—love that) his food, and thus, Mrs. Joe doses him with a pint of Tar-water. And then, because she's Mrs. Joe, for good measure, she doses her husband—who was just sitting there innocently eating his bread-and-butter—too. *DYING*
- The bread-and-butter-down-the-pants saga continues: "Conscience is a dreadful thing when it accuses man or boy; but when, in the case of a boy, that secret burden co-operates with another secret burden down the leg of his trousers, it is (as I can testify) a great punishment." Ahahahahaha.
- So, it's Christmas Eve—a fact that he's only telling us now—and he has to stand and stir the pudding for an hour... WITH THE FOOD STILL DOWN HIS PANTS. So he's standing there and trying to casually hold it through his pant-leg while stirring with the other hand, and without catching Mrs. Joe's eagle eye. But it doesn't work, and it keeps heading for the ankle-hole, so at some point he scampers off and hides it in his bedroom. Which is in the garret, naturally.
- Heh. Pip takes issue with the saying about Asking No Questions and Being Told No Lies while getting a zinger in about Mrs. Joe at the same time: "It was not very polite to herself, I thought, to imply that I should be told lies by her even if I did ask questions. But she never was polite unless there was company."
- Despite her being difficult about answering questions, he manages to get a bit of information about the convicts being held across the marsh in prison-ships, and proceeds to spend the night (Christmas Eve, remember) being terrifying about said ships and the man in the graveyard and the dreadful young man and, last but not least, about what will happen if Mrs. Joe finds out that he's going to raid the pantry.
- Even though he's frightened out of his wits, the next morning, he steals a TON of food from the larder (and some brandy), grabs a file, and heads out to meet up with his new acquaintance.
By the way, guys, if anyone is interested in reading along with me, please do! I'll be reading a chapter a day until I'm done. If you post about it at your blog, just let me know, and I'll link up.
Book source: Review copy from the publisher.