Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bleak House Readalong

Lackluster performance in this Bleakalong so far, in terms of linking up and commenting on other posts and being aware of hilarious drama. BUT I have been Bleaking.

Where were we. 'It has left off raining down on Lincolnshire at last.'

Lady Deadlock is bored. I am right there with her. 'Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man to have so inexhaustible a subject.'


Ok so the Lord and Lady are rattling back home and the voyage lasts 'through the greater part of three days' and I had A Moment here, because these two are SEEEEEEW RICH but they still have to sit in a (very luxurious, I'm sure) carriage for three days just to get from here to there. Holy shit, history. You occasionally blow my mind.

So. Mrs Rouncewell (of the stomacher) thinks that if Lady Deadlock 'had had a daughter now, a grown young lady, to interest her,' she would have been more excellent still (or something. I sort of stopped paying attention because I was all like, IS THIS FORESHADOWING, CHARLES? I know your tricks. Poor, suspiciously motherless Esther...).

The description of the French maid's 'feline mouth' and 'uncomfortable tightness of face' made me think of this woman, but also HA HA HA HORTENSE. I mean, I have been looking for baby names...

Could be worse.

The Deadlock company is free of dandies, which means no jack-towel neckcloths or stays or FALSE CALVES. Please let that mean what I think it means.

We are all going to comment on the Dr Seussian nature of the Coodle-Doodle-Foodle passage? As well as its INEXORABLE BORINGNESS? Stop being boring, Charles. Oh thank goodness, Esther again. Esther is a lot smarter of mouth in this section. 'I thought it much to be regretted that Richard's education had not counteracted [the influence of the Chancery case].' Ooooh, mild burn. 'If I add to the little list of her accomplishments that she rouged a little, I do not mean that there was any harm in it.' HA HA, very gentle zing! I love it.

Mr Guppy I do not love. Stop showing up places with your flat hair and your drooping collar and your sad-sack face. The Dowager-Countessy old lady at the Turveydrops', though! She's a feisty bitch. '"Oh!" said the old lady, apostrophizing him with infinite vengeance. "I could bite you!"'


Hey, remember how good J K Row was at description? Gander at THIS: 'Mr Gusher, being a flabby gentleman with a moist surface and eyes so much too small for his moon of a face that they seemed to have been originally made for somebody else' - LOL but also ew, that is disturbingly evocative.

Richard wants to get into law to keep an eye on the Jarndyce case. Ruh roh, Richard. That way madness lies, and you aren't, like, a super-sturdy individual. Like, mentally. Or emotionally. Or in any way, really.

FINALLY our two storylines Venn themselves, and Esther (upon witnessing Lady D) is weirdly reminded of dressing at her mirror, and I am like, HA HA NICE TRY AT SUBTLETY CHARLES, and then she looks at LD again and Esther 'seemed to arise before [her] own eyes' and I am like

and then I took some time out to hate on Skimpole for being like, Oh, I'm sure slaves don't like slaving, but they MUST like being such a picturesque view and I am like

but then Esther and Her Deadlockness meet fortuitously and 'again, in a moment, there arose before my mind innumerable pictures of myself.'

And then there's a super long and boring chapter involving Joblings and Smallweeds and that the 'little men and women whom it has produced have been observed to bear a likeness to old monkeys with something depressing on their minds' is the only thing worth mentioning.

Bleak on!


de Pizan said...

False calves probably does mean what you think it means. Men would pad their stockings to make their calves look all muscly, especially with the knee-length breeches. They also wore their suit jackets as tight as possible to also try and show off the muscles.

Kayleigh vW said...

OH SNAP because Laura totally mentioned Lady Dedlock maybe being Esther's mother in her post and oooh. I did not catch that bit from Rouncewell, and I think you.

Mister Dickens can certainly rock a character description. My favourite was of Mr Chadband, who "moves softly and cumbrously, not unlike a bear who has been taught to walk upright. He is very much embarrassed about the arms, as if they were inconvenient to him, and he wanted to grovel..." VERY MUCH EMBARRASSED ABOUT THE ARMS.

Reading Rambo said...


Also, I definitely did false calf research after that line. Because wow, Regency, you were ridiculous. Also I am SORRY it ended in boring land, but the next couple chapters were boring and people were barely keeping up with the reading as it was, SO. Smallweeds. Who I'm actually vastly entertained by because cushion-throwing.


Red said...

I love your posts/recaps. And YES those ending chapters were SO BORING and I'm sure I missed important information with Joblings and Quale and Smallweeds and Guppy but ugh. Don't care. Here's to the next chapters being more focused on Esther and Lady D. And maybe Boythorn and his "no trespassing" signs.