Six of Swords, Dickens Style

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.

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