'With you — Hob and Nob,' returned the Sergeant

'With you — Hob and Nob,' returned the Sergeant (p. 34) Frontispiece" [in the Forge prior to Magwitch's Capture] by Charles Green. 1898. 5 x 8 inches. Dickens's Great Expectations, Gadshill Edition, in which the plates have neither captions nor page numbers, being inserted into the text; the editor, Andrew Lang, has provided, however, a separate "List of Illustrations" for ten plates, including the Frontispiece. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [This image is reproduced courtesy of The Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LF.]

The Annotated Dickens provides the following caption, which is not in the original Gadshill Edition: "He drank to His Majesty's Health" (Ch. 5).

The scene contrasts Pumblechook's toadying to the forces of the Establishment (the soldiers sent out to recapture the escaped convicts Magwitch and Compeyson) and Joe's doggedly working (right of centre, rear). While blond-haired Joe pays careful attention to the repair of the handcuffs that will be needed once the escapees are apprehended, the Seargeant flatters Pumblechook as a man who "knows what's what" as he consumes the port wine that the seed merchant has brought as a present for Mrs. Joe's Christmas dinner. Pip watches in amazement and apprehension (still mindful of how the tar-water in the brandy was detected) as the the two toast one another, their bodies and raised arms effectively "imprisoning" the figure of Pip. Green has surely chosen this moment because it also implies a criticism of the military leader for drinking on the job.

References

The Annotated Dickens. Ed. Edward Guiliano and Phillip Collins. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1986. Vol. 2.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Gadshill Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1897-1908.


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Last modified 24 April 2004