xxx xxx

I present Joe to Miss Havisham (page 108) — fifth hand-coloured lithograph (above, left) for Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, first published as a black-and-white lithograph in the Robson and Kerslake edition (1885), Chapter XIII. 9.5 cm high by 7.8 cm wide (3.75 inches by 3 inches), vignetted, facing p. 118. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Passage Illustrated: Pip becomes an Indentured Apprentice thanks to Miss Havisham

I could hardly have imagined dear old Joe looking so unlike himself or so like some extraordinary bird; standing as he did speechless, with his tuft of feathers ruffled, and his mouth open as if he wanted a worm.

“You are the husband,” repeated Miss Havisham, “of the sister of this boy?”

It was very aggravating; but, throughout the interview, Joe persisted in addressing Me instead of Miss Havisham.

“Which I meantersay, Pip,” Joe now observed in a manner that was at once expressive of forcible argumentation, strict confidence, and great politeness, “as I hup and married your sister, and I were at the time what you might call (if you was anyways inclined) a single man.”“Well!” said Miss Havisham. “And you have reared the boy, with the intention of taking him for your apprentice; is that so, Mr. Gargery?”

“You know, Pip,” replied Joe, “as you and me were ever friends, and it were looked for’ard to betwixt us, as being calc’lated to lead to larks. Not but what, Pip, if you had ever made objections to the business, — such as its being open to black and sut, or such-like, — not but what they would have been attended to, don’t you see?”

“Has the boy,” said Miss Havisham, “ever made any objection? Does he like the trade?”

“Which it is well beknown to yourself, Pip,” returned Joe, strengthening his former mixture of argumentation, confidence, and politeness, “that it were the wish of your own hart.” (I saw the idea suddenly break upon him that he would adapt his epitaph to the occasion, before he went on to say) “And there weren’t no objection on your part, and Pip it were the great wish of your hart!” [Chapter XIII]

Commentary: Pip's Apprenticeship Arranged

Pip's frustration with Joe's addressing Miss Havisham only obliquely is matched only by his secret mortification that becoming Joe's apprentice will bar him forever from the ranks of "gentlemen." As a tradesman and an artisan he cannot hope for more than being the one who repairs the wheels on Estella's carriage. His hopes for romance at this point seem irrevocably blighted — as Miss Havisham certainly expects, for she has destined her adopted heart-breaker for higher pursuits and bigger game.

With the premium of twenty-five guineas that Miss Havisham provides Joe for accepting Pip as his apprentice, Pip sees himself as irrevocably severed from Estella and the upper-class milieu of Satis House. Subsequent to Joe's receiving the premium, Mrs. Joe insists that they celebrate their sudden good fortune with a triumphant dinner at The Blue Boar, a public house far above Joe Gargery's usual haunt, the proletarian Three Jolly Bargemen. But from this scene onward, despite his shame at disappointing Joe, Pip is wretched, for Estella is lost to him as an apprentice blacksmith. In the F. A. Fraser illustration for the Household Edition (1876), Joe, dressed to the nines in his Sunday best, looks quite the bourgeois, but he is so self-conscious in those clothes and under these circumstances that he neither looks at nor addresses Miss Havisham directly. Here, however, Pailthorpe has Joe looking directly at her. Pip seems not the least bit disconcerted at the situation as, likewise dressed for a social visit in middle-class garb, he presents his brother-in-law and future master to Miss Havisham. She for her part looks a little aghast at the village blacksmith, possibly because of how ineptly and dialectally he expresses himself.

Relevant Images of Pip, Joe, Miss Havisham and Estella from Other Editions (1860-1910)

Left: In the first American serialisation, periodical illustrator John McLenan emphasizes the close relationship between Estella and her adoptive mother when Joe pays a call about pip's apprenticeship in "Which I meantersay, Pip." (12 January 1861). Centre: Harry Furniss's portrait attends to convey Pip's initial impressions of her: Miss Havisham (1910). Right: F. A. Fraser's Household Edition version of Pip's presenting his benefactress to Joe for his apprenticeship: "Well, Pip, you know, . . . . you yourself see me put 'em in my 'at" (1876).

Related Material

Other Artists’ Illustrations for Dickens's Great Expectations

Scanned images and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Allingham, Philip V. "The Illustrations for Great Expectations in Harper's Weekly (1860-61) and in the Illustrated Library Edition (1862) — 'Reading by the Light of Illustration'." Dickens Studies Annual, Vol. 40 (2009): 113-169.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Illustrated by John McLenan. [The First American Edition]. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, Vols. IV: 740 through V: 495 (24 November 1860-3 August 1861).

______. ("Boz."). Great Expectations. With thirty-four illustrations from original designs by John McLenan. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson (by agreement with Harper & Bros., New York), 1861.

______. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Marcus Stone. The Illustrated Library Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862. Rpt. in The Nonesuch Dickens, Great Expectations and Hard Times. London: Nonesuch, 1937; Overlook and Worth Presses, 2005.

_____. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. Diamond Edition. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. XIII.

______. Great Expectations. Volume 6 of the Household Edition. Illustrated by F. A. Fraser. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876.

______. Great Expectations. The Gadshill Edition. Illustrated by Charles Green. London: Chapman and Hall, 1898.

______. Great Expectations. The Grande Luxe Edition, ed. Richard Garnett. Illustrated by Clayton J. Clarke ('Kyd'). London: Merrill and Baker, 1900.

______. Great Expectations. "With 28 Original Plates by Harry Furniss." Volume 14 of the Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book Co., 1910.

_____. Great Expectations. Illustrated by Frederic W. Pailthorpe with 17 hand-tinted water-colour lithographs. The Franklin Library. Franklin Center, Pennsylvania: 1979. Based on the Robson and Kerslake (London) edition, 1885.

Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. "Picaresque Novel." A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Pp. 389-390.

Paroissien, David. The Companion to "Great Expectations." Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000.

Created 14 February 2007

Last modified 30 October 2021