Bleak House ch. 26-32

Dear J-

I knocked out another chapter waiting in line this morning for Target to open. Odd that of the two stores closest to us, the bigger, shinier, newer Target didn’t have the LEGO set advertised, but the smaller one, which seems better organized, did.

  1. Sharpshooters
  2. More Old Soldiers than One
  3. The Ironmaster
  4. The Young Man
  5. Esther’s Narrative
  6. Nurse and Patient
  7. The Appointed Time

Progress: 53%

I couldn’t help but bring it along in line this morning; the pieces are now falling into place. Mr. Guppy, through his tireless devotion to Esther, has managed to uncover an unexpected link between the Dedlocks and our original orphan Esther. If you remember, it was Lady Dedlock who wanted to know more of the mysterious clerk Nemo based on the handwriting; it was, in all likelihood, Lady Dedlock who went to Jo in disguise asking to be shown the places clerk Nemo had gone. The end of chapter 29 seems to represent another natural break in publication, understanding that Dickens published this as a serial novel.

While we’re pulling that thread, Caddy gets married, and we learn the circle of Jellyby (Mrs. Jellyby)’s friends are similarly afflicted with their own narrow minds. It’s as important to keep balance and perspective in our lives as it is to affect the lives of those around us.

One other singularity was that nobody with a mission—except Mr. Quale, whose mission, as I think I have formerly said, was to be in ecstasies with everybody’s mission—cared at all for anybody’s mission. Mrs. Pardiggle being as clear that the only one infallible course was her course of pouncing upon the poor and applying benevolence to them like a strait-waistcoat; as Miss Wisk was that the only practical thing for the world was the emancipation of woman from the thraldom of her tyrant, man. Mrs. Jellyby, all the while, sat smiling at the limited vision that could see anything but Borrioboola-Gha.

I’m sure that plot lines are being thrown in with an eye to tying them all together eventually, but I’m an impatient reader; most of what I usually read is short fiction, where you get concentrated story in one sharp shot. I’m not acclimated to this meandering between a story I want to know more about and others that seem irrelevant, at least so far. Patience, I suppose; the Esther-Dedlock connection is bound to come up again and with it, the avalanche of story will wrap up more threads.



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