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Mrs. Joe tries to antagonize Orlick into insulting her just so she can watch Joe come to her rescue.
“You're a foul shrew, Mother Gargery,” growled the journeyman.
“What did you say?” cried my sister, beginning to scream. “What did you say? What did that fellow Orlick say to me, Pip? What did he call me, with my husband standing by? O! O! O!”
Mr. Joe is forced to say something to defend her even though his heart is not in it. In this case Joe and Orlick end up having a fistfight. Joe knocks Orlick out.