Chapter 26 (Volume 2, Chapter 7) (Instalment 16):

Aninvitation to Dinner / The Dinner at Mr. Jaggers's / I don't like Bentley Drummle

Synopsis of Chapter 26 (Volume 2, Chapter 7) (Instalment 16)

Mr. Jaggers invites Pip and his friends to dinner and Pip witnesses Jaggers' exaggerated sense of cleanliness, washing himself after each court-case or interview with a client. He seems to camp out in his house: the furniture is good but not luxurious, though the meal is excellent.

A disturbing figure enters, the mysterious, silent housekeeper, who seems afraid of Mr. Jaggers. Helped by the effect of the wine, Mr. Jaggers draws out his guests' less likeable characteristics. When they begin to compare their muscles, Mr. Jaggers forces Molly, the housekeeper, to show her scarred wrists against her will, saying that there is real strength in them. It is a violent, sinister and unpleasant moment.

Commentary on Chapter 26 (Volume 2, Chapter 7) (Instalment 16)

not only washing his hands … and gargling his throat Dickens uses this characteristic action as part of his presentation of Mr. Jaggers. There is in this action an allusion to Pontius Pilate washing his hands of responsibility in the death of Christ (see Matthew 27:24)

so that he seemed to bring the office home with him Mr. Jaggers is contrasted to Wemmick.

he wrenched the weakest part of our dispositions out of us Mr. Jaggers' skills as a lawyer are not used to put his guests at their ease. (See also Imagery and symbolism: Food and meals).

I like that Spider though. Mr. Jaggers' reasons for liking Drummle are mysterious, but also by this time sinister.

Why, if I was a fortune teller - - Mr. Jaggers breaks off, but there is a hint about the future.

‘You know what I am, don't you?' Even when talking directly, Mr. Jaggers is both intimidating and evasive.

Investigating Chapter 26 (Volume 2, Chapter 7) (Instalment 16)
  • What do you think it is that Mr. Jaggers likes about Drummle? Why does he warn Pip not to have much to do with him?
  • Look again at the chapter for evidence of violence and cruelty
  • Mr. Jaggers says to Pip at the end of the chapter, ‘But I am not a fortune-teller … You know what I am, don't you?'
  • What do you think is meant by this?


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