What interruption saves Pip from Mrs. Joe's wrath?Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At the Christmas dinner, Pip shakes with fear as his sister offers Uncle Pumblechook some brandy:  "O Heavens, it had come at last!" Pip worries, for he knows that the corn chandler will taste the weakness of the brandy from the stone bottle that Pip has refilled with tar water.  Watching Pumblechook throw his head back and drink the brandy, then make "the most hideous faces" Pip knows that he will feel the wrath of Mrs. Joe.  Pip clings to the leg of the table while all Pumblechook's agony is attended to by his sister.

Just as he feels safer, Pip realizes that Mrs. Joe has gone to the pantry to bring back the savory pork pie that he has stolen for the convict.  Hearing her, Pip thinks he better run and hide; however, he only ran to the hourse door because there he says,

I ran head foremost into a party of soldiers with their muskets, one of whom held out a pair of handcuffs to me, saying "Here you are, look sharp, come on!"

The dinner party's being interrupted by soldiers "ringing down the butt ends of their load muskets" has caused Mrs. Joe to stop and stare in wonder at the pie's disappearance, but not pursue the cause.

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