|Mary Boxley Bullington, "Red Tyger-Cat." Collage|
of 3 acrylic collographs of the same collage on paper
(drawing in black gesso) 22 1/4" x 27."
At this point in the tale (p. 101), Pip has run away from the orphanage. After adventure and misadventure riding the rails, he has found a resting place with a sort of family. In this paragraph, they are all at a meeting with Pip's teacher, who is a contrast to a prior one. Pip has been thinking about Tecumseh and the Red Sticks and the Creek War just before this passage; he has a passion for history. "Mrs. Shook" is Clemmie, "the big-bellied girl."
Here it is:
Pip wondered what she meant by "Mrs. Shook" for a moment; then the voices blurred and lapped at the edge of his consciousness. He was still thinking about the Red Sticks, but he smiled as he watched them chat, not because he was remembering the bad meeting of the year past and comparing it to this--when he put something aside, he put it aside completely--but because he felt suddenly content. Another boy might have been ashamed of the Countess or the retired trainman or even of the big-bellied girl, but the thought never occurred to him. The room brightened as if the sun had suddenly fallen a great deal closer to the earth, and the figures became indistinct in the light. Years later, he could remember almost nothing of that half hour except the Red Sticks, pounding along the riverbank, and how the teacher had touched him as if anointing him for a task.