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Chapter 15: The Old Battery... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 15: The Old Battery...

Pip's term of study at Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's school ends, though he tries to keep learning by various other means. He also, with the questionable motive of wanting to make Joe less ignorant, has taken to tutoring Joe, though without much success.

During one of these tutorial sessions, Pip gets the notion to visit Manor House again; his alleged reason is to thank Miss Havisham but his more probable desire is to see Estella again. Joe has reservations about this, but he eventually concedes. Joe's journeyman, a morose and shifty sort of character named Dolge Orlick demands a half-day off if Pip is to get one, and when Joe agrees, Mrs. Joe has a screaming fit. Orlick gives her a few nasty insults and after a bit of hesitation, Joe beats him up to defend Mrs. Joe's honor.

Pip's visit to Miss Havisham's is a noneventful one. Miss Havisham isn't at all charmed by the visit, though she does take a bit of delight in passing the bad news on to Pip that Estella is gone, having left to pursue her studies abroad. Dissatisfied with everything, Pip leaves and runs into Mr. Wopsle on the way home; with nothing better to do he consents to join Wopsle and Pumblechook for an evening of reading aloud, which is particularly uninspiring.

Walking home with Wopsle, Pip runs into Orlick. The three hear the guns of the prison ships going again, meaning another convict has escaped. They see a commotion happening at The Three Jolly Bargemen, and Wopsle goes in to investigate. He soon comes running out with the news that something bad has happened at Pip's house. The three run home and find Mrs. Joe splayed out on the kitchen floor, not moving, surrounded by people. She is, we are told, "destined never to be on the Rampage again" (138).

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