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Chapter LIII

 



Size: 70 cm x 50 cm

Without a second to spare, Pip's friends come to rescue
Pip, who is inches away of being killed by the brute Orlick.

In the last newsletter, chapter 52, Pip received the ominous letter
from a stranger who beckoned him to go to the marshes adjacent to
his home town alone, lest something bad should befall the convict Magwitch.
Head over heels, he rushes to the marshlands to confront the blackmailer, leaving
in his confusion the letter in his London lodgings.
After having dined at his old home town's inn, where at the expense
of his appetite the waiter tells him a distorted version of Pip's story,
he rushes at the setting of the sun to the marshes. The letter mentioned
to seek out the old, abandoned sluice house near the lime kiln.

Pip finds the place dark and empty, so he decides to wait there. In
a moment of distraction, he gets overwhelmed by a bulky figure. He gets
tied up to a staircase, much to the displeasure of his broken arm.
The assailant lights a candle, and popping up in the flickering flame is one of
the last persons Pip expected to see: the oaf Orlick, his uncle's other
apprenticeship. 

While Pip is recollecting his thoughts, Orlick confesses to have been the
unknown attacker who knocked Pip's draconic sister unconscious, making
her lose her speech, who stalked the town girl Biddy, and who teamed up
with the nemesis of Magwitch Compeyson to trap Pip. Compeyson also laid
the snare by writing the letter to Pip, since Orlick is illiterate. Orlick
also accuses him of losing his position as private guard in Satis House.

Passing over this avalanche of nonsense, Pip realizes that he has to fight
not only for his life, but more importantly for the life of Magwitch, who
he's trying to save from the gallows. With all his might, he tries to knock
the table onto Orlick, who's already reaching for a blunt hammer...

His shouts for help don't go unheard, and Pip's friends bust into the sluice
house, and in the following scuffle, save Pip, but Orlick slips their grasp.
Why they're there? Because Pip left the letter in London, and Herbert just
read it minutes after Pip left. Very convenient for our hero.

The painting is done in gouache on canvas.

Chapter LII

 

Size: 30 cm x 30 cm

A crestfallen Pip is blackmailed to meet someone at the marshes lest something bad happens to Provis.

The preparations for the flight of the convict Provis from British territory meets a sudden hurdle with 
Pip's incapacitated arm due to having saved Miss Havisham from the flames. As a resort, he and Herbert decide
to include Startop in the rescue operations, since they need a second oarsman in the boat with which
they'll escort Provis to a steamboat bound to foreign lands. Having thus settled the problem, Pip 
returns to his lodgings at Temple, with the intent of waiting out the remaining days to the flight.
However, he spots a dirty letter at the entrance directed to him, which ushers him to come either the same night, or the next night to the little sluice-house at the limekiln on the marshes if he cares for Provis's safety. 

Pip, severely aggravated, looks dejected at a mirror on a table while almost lifelessly letting his hand with the letter repose at the foot of the mirror. Without thinking for too long, he rushes out of the building to get
the last coach to Kent, forgetting in the heat the letter on the table, which will prompt Herbert to aid to his rescue later.

Chapter LIX

 

Size: 22.5 cm x 32.5 cm

An old Pip re-enacts his first encounter with the convict with the son of Biddy and his uncle Joe.

After the capture of the convict Magwitch, and the following long period of sickness of Pip, he decides to work with Herbert in his shipping company, for which he leaves England for a long time. Eleven years later, a 35 years old Pip returns to his childhood place to visit his uncle Joe and his second wife Biddy, who he married some years after the death of Pip's sister, his first wife. Unlike the unhappy first marriage, this one proved more fruitful with the enlargement of the family by a boy named in honour Pip, and a little girl.

Pip grows promptly fond of the boy, and brings him to the graveyard to tell him the adventurous story of his meeting the convict, and all that followed. 

As you may have noticed, this drawing is the spitting image of the very first illustration of Great Expectations I did; a fitting entry as the illustration of the last chapter of the book, bringing the story full circle. However, there are some differences: The "new" Pip is much fatter, and careless, than the mistreated, underfed, poor Pip from the first chapter. He takes Pip's re-enactment lightly, and gives him a wry smile with a sideways incredulous look. Why should he worry? In the caring embrace of Biddy and Joe, not having been "brought up by hand", the "new" Pip just shoos away worries, and doesn't foster a hunger for riches, and recognition, as it were the case for the "old" Pip. Our Pip, on the other side, is the much wiser, a bit bent by his troublesome life, but not pessimistic in the least.

Chapter XLVI

 

Size: 42 cm x 27 cm

Clara Barley serves her father a glass of rum.


The convict Magwitch returned to London. Pip's surprise
visitor, however, cannot take a stroll down England's avenues
lest he gets caught, and turned to the gallows. Herbert therefore
decides to hide him under a pseudonym for the time being at
his fiancé's Clara Barley's place at Mill Pond Bank,
until they can safely escort him out of Britain.

In this chapter, Pip is visiting Mill Pond Bank, where Herbert
already awaits him. There, he gets introduced to dark-eyed Clara,
who spends most of her time attending her bedridden father upstairs.

The father, sardonically nicknamed by Herbert "old Gruffandgrim",
is no easy fellow to live with. Because of the gout, he spends
all day lying with his back on a bed, easing his pain trough
carefully weighed amounts of rum,
and killing his time by singing obscene songs, and scanning
the River Thames, with a telescope mounted at his bedside.

Since he's unable to move, his ever-patient daughter administers
drinks to him, or tends his other needs.

In the picture, she's seen holding him jovially a glass of rum,
his hand interlinked with hers. The scene is framed on top by
the telescope and on the bottom by a table in disarray with
many household items.

Chapter L

Size: 28cm x 28cm

As Herbert tends to Pip's burns from the fire at Satis House, Pip realizes the heritage of Estella: She's the daughter of the convict Magwitch, and Mr Jaggers's housekeeper.

Pip's looking back on some wearisome days: First the bad news of Estella's wedding with his arch-rival Drummle must have been a blow to his feelings for her, and the definite mark of defeat in front of his foe. On top of that, mentions of Compeyson's appearance in London, the guy who wants to see Magwitch on the gallows, pull at his already strained nerves, which are on edge, too, due to fearing the convict Magwitch's hideout at the wharfs might be found out, or, even worse, might have been already found out...

In the midst of the preparation of the plan for smuggling the convict out of Britain, Miss Havisham calls him to Satis House. When he arrived there, she was only a wreck, trying to find redemption through Pip forgiving her unkind acts in the past. As a sign of her being earnest, she grants Pip's bidding to secretly aid Herbert with her last will.
Instead of calming herself, Miss Havisham's seems to lose her mind more and more, almost like a mad scene in a bel canto opera, and ends up catching fire at the fire place. Pip rushes to help her, suffering a lot of burns on his arms, but eventually leads her out of danger.

Exhausted, knowing that she's in recovery, he comes back to London, where he recollects his thoughts with the helping hand of Herbert. By and by, both connect the dots, and Pip learns about Estella's origins - ghostly figures in the background from left to right: Magwitch, Estella, and Molly, the housekeeper of Mr Jaggers. In this picture, he lost all of his energy to properly react to this shocking news. He merely sports a sad smile of empathy on the total situation, seemingly ignoring the sharp pain of his burnt arm, which is about to being cooled by a piece of cloth in Herbert's hand. This picture captures the moment when Pip realizes the truth, before Herbert could, hence the latter looking confused and preoccupied at Pip's sudden calmness, or melancholic illumination, if you will...

Chapter XLIV


 Size: 39 cm x 27 cm

After Pip learns that Estella is going to marry his arch-rival Drummle, he delivers a heart-wrenching monologue about his good intentions on and for Estella, while holding her hand. Miss Havisham is awestruck by his words from deep down his soul, and by his noble behaviour.

The convict Provis escaped from Australia, and made himself known to Pip in London as the man who realized his great expectations. Pip is in a grave crisis. Not only does he need to keep Provis away from getting executed, for his staying in Britain is a capital crime, but his overestimation of Miss Havisham's role in his life, whom he thought to be his secret benefactress, and more so believed Estella to be given to him as bride, sends him back to his old town in Kent on the path to learn the truth about his misconception.

In his hometown, he stumbles accidentally unto Drummle at the Blue Boar. Drummle hints at meeting a certain lady, and Pip gets a very bad feeling. He then goes to Satis House, Miss Havisham's place, to confront her. 

In Miss Havisham's obscured room with the mirror, Estella is employing herself on an embroidery hoop. She sits at the foot of Miss Havisham, who looks into the fire, and holds a walking stick. First, Pip confronts Miss Havisham why she never told him not to be his secret benefactress. The discussion terminated, he turns to Estella, and asks her if she's going to be married to Drummle. When she affirms it, he almost collapses with grief. He implores her to not throw herself away on Drummle, and not to listen to Miss Havisham's foul scheme. But this plea falls on deaf ears. She coldly refuses Pip's advice, and as a throwaway motion lays her hand on Pip's, telling him to not mind it. 

Pip sheds some tears on her hand and stutters a brilliant monologue, which I must include in this description:

Estella: 
‘You will get me out of your thoughts in a week.’
Pip: 
‘Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!’

 Miss Havisham holds her hand to her heart, and looks with a ghastly look, mostly remorse for having deceived Pip into believing Estella was meant for him, just to hear the benevolent and revenge-free speech of Pip. She, left at the wedding altar by a scoundrel, expected only the worst from the heart of man. In her folly, she encouraged Pip to fall in love with Estella, hoping to see his heart break on the knowledge of this terrible news. However, Pip's self-sacrificing behaviour came as something totally unknown to her, who expected everybody to act as selfish as she was.



Chapter XXII

 



Size: 30 cm x 56 cm

In this five-in-one picture, Herbert tells Pip at a dinner the story of Miss Havisham, which is embodied in the four pictures framed by roses, overseen by the captions: "The Will, The Pact, The Courtship," and "The Wedding".


Pip met Herbert again in London, after their scuffle at Miss Havisham's place, Satis House. At Barnard's Inn, Herbert invites him to dinner, which seemed to him "a very Lord Mayor's Feast". There, Pip disclosed to him that he knew scarcely nothing about Miss Havisham's life. Herbert proceeds to tell the story, and while doing so gently corrects Pip's peculiar table manners. An occasion for such a correction is shown in the picture: Herbert points with his fork at Pip, who unconsciously stuffed his napkin into the tumbler. In the picture, he looks at it incredulously.

Now to Miss Havisham's sketchy past.
It starts on the very left with "The Will": Miss Havisham's father, who was a brewer, and is depicted dressed as a jolly Bacchus with a pint on a gigantic painting festooned with mourning ribbons, passed away, and left her daughter, and his son from another marriage an unequal amount of shares in the promising brewery. The half brother, who looks abject, and arm-crossed in the corner of the picture, got the short end of the stick, while Miss Havisham received a much bigger share of the deceased fortune. Knowing this, her hypocrite relatives ostentatiously show their affection for her, gathering around close to her, while a notary is reading from the brewer's will, one even drying a tear on the fatherless daughter, hoping to profit from Miss Havisham's wealthy status.

The half brother, however, quickly makes the best of the situation, and spends all of his inherited fortune on bawdy amusements. In "The Pact", the tipsy half brother just lost another game with a shady fellow to the right. As reparation for his debts, he proposes to the fellow to court Miss Havisham, and to move her to buy him out of his shares, in order to pay his debts. The fellow accepts the exciting adventure.

In "The Courtship", the shady man, dressed as a well-to-do gentleman with a fine wig, walks with a smiling Miss Havisham through the park adjacent to Satis House. Despite his winning looks, Herbert's father recalls him as a showy-man, never to be mistaken for a gentleman: "because... no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner." On this point, Miss Havisham and Mr Herbert clashed together, splitting the relatives for years to come.
Eventually, the shady man succeeds, and Miss Havisham buys her half brothers shares, bailing him out of his debts.

At last, in "The Wedding", the Miss Havisham we know is born: On the day of the wedding between the false gentleman and her, at twenty minutes to nine, while she is sitting in the dressing room in full bridal garments, in the middle of putting one of her shoes on, she receives a deadly blow in the form of a letter, in which the false man, without warning, and seemingly without any explanation, annulated the engagement, and bids her farewell forever. Miss Havisham quickly orders her servants to darken all windows, and to stop all clocks at twenty minutes to nine. Then, in the picture, she slumps over the letter, and a golden repeater. The picture shows the last ray of light being suffocated by a servant drawing the curtains. Miss Havisham's hypocrite relatives, Camilla, Sarah Pocket, and Georgiana, light candles, while on the left, two head servants look in confusion and concern towards Miss Havisham's slumped figure. 


I wanted to draw a picture similar to Norman Rockwell's "The Land of Enchantment". There, two boys read books on the foreground, while all kind of fable characters are depicted on the background, in a lighter hue. In this illustration, Pip and Herbert take the place of Rockwell's boys, and the four stages replace the fable characters. Also, you may notice that some faces in "The Will" and "The Wedding" seem abnormally protracted. This is due to the idea that the four stages surround Pip and Herbert as if they were four paintings. As if they were sitting in a rose pavillon. Therefore, due to perspective issues the faces become long and thin near one edge, and broader near the other.

Furthermore, the image in "The Pact" is inspired by the Polish painting "Gamblers by Candlelight" by Feliks Pęczarski, especially Miss Havisham's picture becoming see-through against the candlelight.