Summary and Analysis
Chapters 20-22 - (Volume II, Chapters 1-3)
There are some redeeming qualities in the characters of Herbert Pocket and Jaggers. Herbert apologizes for his sparse quarters because he supports himself, saying that, even if his father could support him, he would not allow it. He is an honorable, hard-working man with dreams for his future. At this point in the story, Pip thinks Herbert will never achieve them because Pip does not recognize that having dreams is different than being a dreamer: Having dreams propels you to set goals and strive; being a dreamer leaves one in a fantasy world without earning anything. Jaggers is another honorable man. While not the warmest human being, he is genuinely caring because he is honest and straightforward. Jaggers misleads no one, and therefore helps people in his own way. His bringing Pip to Matthew Pocket helps the latter in his struggle to support his family, and Jaggers' honest expectation that Pip will get into debt is his indirect way of trying to warn Pip not to get carried away with the money.
Dickens depicts the polite manners of society in a humorous interchange between Pip and Herbert as they eat. The rules of society are ridiculed a bit as well, when Herbert observes that one can be a brewer and still be considered a gentleman, but if you are a baker, all hope is lost.
Satire of the treatment of children by their parents continues with Dickens' depiction of the Pocket household. Mrs. Pocket is self-absorbed, Mr. Pocket is oblivious, and the children are raising themselves. The element of secrecy is also evident in the secret marriage of Miss Havisham's father to his cook after Miss Havisham's mother died. Repetition of elements such as Jaggers throwing his finger and using his handkerchief, continue. New elements to watch for are the face casts in Jaggers' office and Wemmick's "post-office" mouth.
the Cross Keys a real inn from the seventeenth century where coaches coming into London from the provinces would stop.
Little Britain street north of St. Paul's Cathedral with many law offices because of its proximity to the criminal courts.
hackney-coachman a hackney coach-driver. A hackney coach would be similar to a modern taxi in that you would hire it to take you somewhere, unlike the coaches coming into London from the provinces, which stopped at only certain stations or inns.
equipage a carriage, especially one with horses and liveried servants.
Smithfield a large, open square that was London's main cattle-market until 1852.
Bartholomew Close a narrow street near Bartholomew Church in the Smithfield area.
all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth cagmag is garbage, like rotting flesh, and this comment indicates that the speaker considers all other lawyers useless compared to Jaggers.
like the Bull in Cock Robin pulling at the bell rope a nursery-rhyme reference about a bullfinch offering to toll the bell at Cock Robin's funeral. Here, the man speaking to Jaggers is pulling at a lock of his hair, often done by a country person as a sign of respect to a member of the gentry.
outrunning the constable spending more money than you make.
mourning rings A custom at the time was to bequeath money to friends or relatives so that they could buy a ring to remember one by, usually inscribed with the initials of the deceased.
pottle a small basket. It can also be a pot or tankard capable of holding a pottle or half gallon of liquid. In this case, Herbert is carrying a pottle of strawberries, so the basket reference is probably the correct one.
bad courtier A courtier, originally an attendant at a royal court, refers here to someone who is adept at using flattery to get something or to win favor. Herbert's father is a bad courtier with Miss Havisham in that he does not flatter her but speaks the truth whether she likes it or not.
propitiate to appease someone.
the Harmonious Blacksmith a piece of music by G. F. Handel (1685-1759) that was supposedly based on a blacksmith's song that the composer overheard.
counting-house a building or office in which a firm keeps records, handles correspondence, and so on.
went upon @'Change the floor of the Royal Exchange—the London Stock Market. Lloyd's, a marine insurance business at the time, operated from this building.