Catechism a series of questions and answers children in the Church learn. When they are confirmed by the Bishop they must be able to answer these. In one part of the Catechism, the child promises to "keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life." Pip interprets this to mean he must walk home the same way every day of his life.
chaise-cart a lightweight carriage with two to four wheels that is drawn by one or two horses. It sometimes has a collapsible top.
chandler's shop originally, a shop specializing in candles; here, it refers to a general store, which would also stock candles. A chandler was, originally, a maker or seller of candles.
change come so oncommon plump a change coming so suddenly and all at once. Joe is commenting on how the news of Pip's expectations just caught him off guard at first, but after a night's sleep he is dealing better with it.
chary wary, careful.
cistern a large receptacle for storing water; especially, a tank, usually underground in which rainwater is collected for use.
close the eyes of the foolish Argus at Hummums, Pip cannot sleep any better than the Greek mythological giant, Argus. The giant had one hundred eyes, fifty of which were open even while he slept.
coal-whippers men who operated the whips or pulleys that raised coal onboard ships.
Coiner a counterfeiter.
collation a light meal.
Collins' Ode on the Passions Mr. Wopsle is supposed to give periodic scholastic tests to the students in his great-aunt's school to see if they are learning. Instead, he makes them listen to his performances of great orations and poems. This one is the poem, "Ode on the Passions," by William Collins (1721-1759). Collins' odes were often on nature subjects or emotions and here Mr. Wopsle plays the part of "Revenge."
comes the Mo-gul over us a Mogul is one of the Mongolian conquerors of India and Persia. Joe uses this term to describe Mrs. Joe's heavy-handed, despotic power over them as if she were some far-eastern prince.
Commercials underneath . . . Tumbler's Arms When Mr. Wopsle does his "Ode on the Passions" performance at Pip's party, he throws his "sword down in thunder," making so much noise that the traveling salesmen in the rooms below complain. The waiter is telling Mr. Wopsle that the inn is not a place for circus performers as the Tumbler's Arms is, so quiet down.
copper-stick Pip has to stir the Christmas pudding and is using the stick usually used to stir the laundry, which is done in the largest copper pot in the house.
corn-chandler a corn merchant.
counting-house a building or office in which a firm keeps records, handles correspondence, and so on.
crimes in the Calendar this is a reference to the Newgate Calendar (1771), a series of true-crime stories. Pip is imaging that Magwitch's crimes were among these.
Cross Keys a real inn from the seventeenth century where coaches coming into London from the provinces would stop.
dance a hornpipe lively dance played on a hornpipe, which is an obsolete wind instrument with a bell and mouthpiece made of horn.
descrying to discern, or think you see, something.
Double Gloucester a thick, creamy cheese that is twice as large and old as regular Gloucester. Herbert's concern here is that the old man will hurt himself trying to cut through it.
dull blades a blade is an easy-going playboy. Dull would indicate that this student is not very smart.
Dutch clock a cheap wooden clock that was imported from Germany.
Dutch doll a wooden doll with jointed legs, made in Germany.
Dying Gladiator Mr. Pocket, overwhelmed by the chaos in his house, drops down onto the sofa in this pose. It refers to "The Dying Gaul," a Roman copy of a Greek statue of a dying gladiator lying down propped up on one arm.
equipage a carriage, especially one with horses and liveried servants.
excrescence an ugly, abnormal, or disfiguring addition to something. At his party for his apprenticeship, Pip is miserable while the adults are having a great time. Thus, Pip is an excrescence on their fun.
execrating cursing. When the two convicts are captured, they fight and curse each other.
expectorating coughing up and spitting out.
expostulatory having to do with an earnest objecting.
faces out of the Witches' caldron a reference to Act IV, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Macbeth visits the witches as they stir their caldron, and he demands an explanation of their prophecies about him. They ask if he wants the story from them or from their masters, and he asks to see their masters. The witches promptly work their magic and a number of apparitions arise from the boiling caldron.
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