The opening of Chapter 4 of "Great Expectations" finds Pip and Joe subjected to the cross temper of Mrs. Joe. When she "goes on a rampage," as Joe terms her temper tantrums, Joe crosses his fingers to Pip to symbolize Mrs. Joe's state of mind. They dodge flying dustpans and "Tickler," her switch. So irate is Mrs. Joe sometimes that they cross even their legs. This crossing of the legs is symbolic of the slain Christians in the Crusades, statues of whom had legs crossed both for balance and as symbolic of the legs of Jesus that were so positioned at the Crucifixtion.
Thus, at the opening of this chapter, the tone is bellicose. As the chapter proceeds, Uncle Pumblechook excoriates Pip throughout the holiday dinner. Finally, two officers of the law arrive with a pair of handcuffs, and the terrified, guilty Pip believes they have come for him for having stolen the file and food for the convict.