Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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Lippy finishes his song and sits down with Gus, Lorena, and Dish. He’s another of the strange characters of Lonesome Dove, with a lower lip the size of a saddlebag (hence his nickname), a terrible habit of eating with slurping noises and always breathing through his mouth, and wearing a bowler hat that had had so many things spilled on it that it made everyone gag. Xavier was repulsed by the hat and strove to attempt to find civility within this saloon he ran.
Meanwhile, Dish is becoming frustrated by everyone sitting at his table. He
has high hopes of a night with Lorena and having others sitting there
is cramping his style. Gus observes that Dish acts like he has a sour
stomach and that what he needs is a good, satisfying game of cards. Dish
boldly responds that he needs nothing of the kind, glancing sideways at
Lorena. Finally, Gus convinces Dish, Wanz and Lorena to get into a game.
He loves when Lorena plays, because when she wins, she ceases to be a
“sulky whore” for a little while, and the child in her is briefly reborn.
They play until the rustler’s moon has crossed to the other side of town,
and Wanz has taken half of Dish’s next month’s pay. As they go outside,
Gus finds out Dish will be driving the trail with Shanghai Pierce’s bunch,
so he hands the boy the two dollars he had asked to borrow. He even offers
the front porch of his ranch house if Dish needs a place to bunk down
for the night. Dish stammers that he forgot something back in the Dry
Bean, and Gus watches him sneak up the outside stairs to Lorena’s room.
It occurs to him that it’s “best to help such boys have their moment of
fun, before life’s torments snatch them away.”
This chapter is again a microcosm of the type of people who live in a town like Lonesome Dove, and how despite the hardships of their lives, they, too, have hopes and dreams and need others to think enough of them to look after them. Characters like Lippy do things that are impolite and even disgusting, but at the same time, he is endearing in some ways. Lorena is the town whore, but she is loved by the best of them and the worst of them. Xavier never liked his wife, but still feels the need to honor her memory each year. And Gus is like a benevolent father who watches over them and finds a way to make their lives just a little easier. So, they meet up with each other at the Dry Bean, they play cards together and take each other’s money, they long for what they can’t have, and sometimes receive a little they never would expect. Seeing these characters helps us see life in this post-Civil War part of America, and how people are just people no matter where they live.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017