Describe the residents of the house at Mill Pond Bank in chapter 46 of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several residents that live at the house, and Pip knows them through Herbert; Herbert is engaged to the young lady of the house, Clara.  So, there is Clara, Clara's housekeeper Mrs. Whimple, and Clara's father Mr. Barley,Herbert introduces Mrs. Whimple as "the best of housewives."  Clara's mother isn't with them anymore.  When Clara comes in she is described as a "pretty, dark-eyed" girl who as very chamring and could have passed as a "captive fairy."  Her personality was "natural and winning" and "gentle," and Pip is very impressed, liking her a lot.

Clara's father, Mr. Barley is never actually seen, just heard.  He is a drunk whom we only are acquainted with through his growling, roaring, and thumping around upstairs as he gets drunk every day. In fact, that is the first thing that Pip notices when he enters, and Herbert has to explain that the man is a drunk who gets angry and morose when he's drinking, which is often. He's basically just drinking himself to death, and the poor Clara takes care of him every day, bringing him food and tending to his needs.

I hope that helps; good luck!


lit24 | Student

In Ch.46 Pip arrives at "a house with a wooden front and three stories of bow-window." The first person whom he meets is Mrs.Whimple the owner of the house. She is described as,

an elderly woman of a pleasant and thriving appearance

"Whimple" is a Celtic word meaning "white pool or stream."

"Wimple" means "a cloth wound around the head by medieval women."

She is obviously a prosperous lady who perhaps wears a cloth around her head. She is a kind hearted lady who helps Clara to look after her father.

Another important lodger in this house is Herbert's sweet heart's father, whom Herbert calls "old Gruffandgrim." This person whose real name is Mr.Barley is very possessive of his daughter Clara who looks after him with great love and affection in spite of her  being ill treated by him.  Clara Barley of course is his daughter and the fiancée of Pip's friend Herbert.

Right on top of this house is Magwitch who has been secretly lodged here under the alias of Mr. Provis. Mrs. Whimple is happy that she has Magwitch as a tenant because he does not mind the nuisance which Mr. Barley creates.


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Great Expectations

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