“No time to spare”

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I don’t know if anyone else has ever caught this, but in Great Expectations, Dickens repeats a phrase. I don’t know if he does it on purpose, or if it was purely an accident? 

“I had no time for verification, no time for selection, no time for anything, for I had no time to spare.”

– Chapter 2, Great Expectations

and

“Towards the marshes I now went straight, having no time to spare.”

– Chapter 52, Great Expectations

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Scenes in the Tarot: Six of Swords

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Little bit of a different take on the Six of Swords… not just leaving something unsatisfactory behind for a new future, but leaving something unsatisfactory to the extent of being dangerous … in favor of traveling to somewhere safe. 

And the journey itself not being quite as serene as the card imagery depicts … but really emphasizing the choppy waters on the right of the craft … the journey itself being dangerous the whole way through. 

And then … in the following story … the ending isn’t what you are traditionally told to expect in the Six of Swords. It’s a very Swordsie ending.

***

“And now indeed I felt as if my last anchor were loosening its hold, and I should soon be driving with the winds and waves. “
– Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

***

And taken from Chapter 52 of the same:

‘I have thought it over, again and again,’ said Herbert, ‘and I think I know a better course than taking a Thames waterman. Take Startop. A good fellow, a skilled hand, fond of us, and enthusiastic and honourable.’

I had thought of him, more than once.

‘But how much would you tell him, Herbert?’ 

‘It is necessary to tell him very little. Let him suppose it a mere freak, but a secret one, until the morning comes: then let him know that there is urgent reason for your getting Provis aboard and away. You go with him?’ 

‘No doubt.’

‘Where?’ 

It had seemed to me, in the many anxious considerations I had given the point, almost indifferent what port we made for – Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp – the place signified little, so that he was got out of England. Any foreign steamer that fell in our way and would take us up, would do. I had always proposed to myself to get him well down the river in the boat; certainly well beyond Gravesend, which was a critical place for search or inquiry if suspicion were afoot. As foreign steamers would leave London at about the time of high-water, our plan would be to get down the river by a previous ebb-tide, and lie by in some quiet spot until we could pull off to one. The time when one would be due where we lay, wherever that might be, could be calculated pretty nearly, if we made inquiries beforehand.

Herbert assented to all this, and we went out immediately after breakfast to pursue our investigations. We found that a steamer for Hamburg was likely to suit our purpose best, and we directed our thoughts chiefly to that vessel. But we noted down what other foreign steamers would leave London with the same tide, and we satisfied ourselves that we knew the build and colour of each. We then separated for a few hours; I, to get at once such passports as were necessary; Herbert, to see Startop at his lodgings. We both did what we had to do without any hindrance, and when we met again at one o’clock reported it done. I, for my part, was prepared with passports; Herbert had seen Startop, and he was more than ready to join.

Those two should pull a pair of oars, we settled, and I would steer; our charge would be sitter, and keep quiet; as speed was not our object, we should make way enough. We arranged that Herbert should not come home to dinner before going to Mill Pond Bank that evening; that he should not go there at all, to-morrow evening, Tuesday; that he should prepare Provis to come down to some Stairs hard by the house, on Wednesday, when he saw us approach, and not sooner; that all the arrangements with him should be concluded that Monday night; and that he should be communicated with no more in any way, until we took him on board. These precautions well understood by both of us, I went home.

***

6 swords bldg beautiful souls

*Also posted in Fiery K. Tarot

Scenes in the Tarot: the Seven of Swords

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F.A. Fraser – An illustration for the Household Edition of Dickens’s Great Expectations (p. 48). Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham

Fiery K. Tarot

When I started learning to read Tarot, it was with the Sacred Circle deck by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, and the primary keyword they chose to go with the card is

“Diplomacy.”

Franklin and Mason advise tact and diplomacy in dealing with situations if this card appears. In essence, to choose your words wisely in order to convey the illusion you wish to be believed. This scene from the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens reminds me of the Seven of Swords because it’s like Diplomacy Run Amuck!

Poor Joe Gargery is out of his element in this scene, and copes the only way he knows how, which is to fling every high sounding word and phrase he can think of around to use a lot of words to say very little real content. Kind of like the Dark Side of Writing. Joe is also trying to hide that…

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Scenes in the Tarot: the Five of Swords

Fiery K. Tarot

from Great Expectations  by Charles Dickens
(italics mine)

***

When I had exhausted the garden, and a greenhouse with nothing in it but a fallen-down grape-vine and some bottles, I found myself in the dismal corner upon which I had looked out of the window. Never questioning for a moment that the house was now empty, I looked in at another window, and found myself, to my great surprise, exchanging a broad stare with a pale young gentleman with red eyelids and light hair.

This pale young gentleman quickly disappeared, and re-appeared beside me. He had been at his books when I had found myself staring at him, and I now saw that he was
inky.

‘Halloa!’ said he, ‘young fellow!’

Halloa being a general observation which I had usually observed to be best answered by itself, I said, ‘Halloa!’ politely omitting young fellow.

‘Who let you in?’ said he.

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The Spider Community

I just love this entire passage:

I crossed the staircase landing, and entered the room she indicated. From that room, too, the daylight was completely excluded, and it had an airless smell that was oppressive.

A fire had been lately kindled in the damp old-fashioned grate,and it was more disposed to go out than to burn up, and the reluctant smoke which hung in the room seemed colder than the clearer air – like our own marsh mist.

Certain wintry branches of candles on the high chimneypiece faintly lighted the chamber: or, it would be more expressive to say, faintly troubled its darkness.

It was spacious, and I dare say had once been handsome, but every discernible thing in it was covered with dust and mould, and dropping to pieces. The most prominent object was a long table with a table-cloth spread on it, as if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the clocks all stopped together.

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An epergne or centrepiece of some kind was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form was quite undistinguishable; and, as I looked along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to grow, like a black fungus, I saw speckled-legged spiders with blotchy bodies running home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstances of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community.

I heard the mice too, rattling behind the panels, as if the same occurrence were important to their interests.

But, the blackbeetles took no notice of the agitation, and groped about the hearth in a ponderous elderly way, as if they were short-sighted and hard of hearing, and not on terms with one another.

These crawling things had fascinated my attention and I was watching them from a distance, when Miss Havisham laid a hand upon my shoulder. In her other hand she had a crutch-headed stick on which she leaned, and she looked like the Witch of the place.

dining rm
“It’s a bride cake. Mine!”
A. A. Dixon (1905)
taken from www.victorianweb.org