Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bleak House Readalong

Spoiler for all you chumps who didn't finish this week's assignment, it ends in SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION.

Dollars to donuts says Chancery Court has one of these.

And while I am like, LOL THAT, the scene leading up to it is actually fantastically creepy. WHYYYYYY is there a smeary black ash settling on things, and WHATTTT is this nastiness creeping down the window? Also, I like how spontaneous combustion is 'engendered in the corrupted humours of the vicious body itself,' i.e. you are so wicked that you burst into flames.

You were asking for it, basically. Now go sit over there.

So. The plot thickens to a stew in this section. Tulkinghorn, I don't know what your game is but it is SHADY, with your rusty clothes and your old wine. Also, you get hilariously angry when Mr George won't show you Hawdon's letters.

But I do not like how you 'pursue[ Lady Dedlock] doggedly and steadily, with no touch of compunction, remorse, or pity.' Also I find that whole passage super chilling.

I'm not totally sure how important Liz and Jenny (the two poor women with the abusive husbands and the babies [one dead]) are, but that scene where the one whose baby ISN'T dead is like, If he should turn bad in spite of all I could do, it'd be better if he had died too, FIRSTLY ugh that scene.

And secondly, this makes me think of Nemo, and how his mom would probably have been like, I don't wish he had died in infancy, but I kind of do? I mean, children can be such a disappointment when they overdose on opium.

Ok and Hortense flinging herself on Esther. YOU NEED A MAID I WILL WORK SLAVISHLY FOR YOU I WILL DO IT FOR FREE. That's...not suspicious or terrifying.

Is anyone sympathetic towards Richard or are we all like, This guy. Because I feel towards him the way people seem to feel towards the Shopaholic (REMEMBER THOSE BOOKS?) where I am like, Get your shit together and stop being a total doob about money and not really caring about it except for that one time when you cried over it and I didn't believe your tears, there are other people whose lives you affect. Richard is a knob. And not like Mr Quale's great big shining temple knobs, which I always think of as literal knobs because my brain doesn't always metaphor properly.

So like this, only the bolts are in the temples. This is how I picture Quayle.

So Caddy is my favorite. And she and Esther together are my favorite.

'"I didn't mean to use the expression to you, Esther," Caddy apologized, her faced suffused with blushes, "but I generally call Prince my darling child."
I laughed; and Caddy laughed and blushed and went on.
"This has caused him, Esther -- "
"Caused whom, my dear?"
"Oh, you tiresome thing!" said Caddy, laughing, with her pretty face on fire. "My darling child, if you insist upon it."'

I just...I love gal pals. LOVE them. Tease on, ladies.

Speaking of things I love: Charley as a maid as a present to Esther from Mr Jarndyce. OH CHARLEY AND ESTHER AND MR JARNDYCE AND EVERYONE (except Richard. Who is aptly named, because he is a dick).

FURTHER EXAMPLES OF DICKISHNESS: Mr Jarndyce very sagely advises Richard and Ada to not formalize anything because they are young and their future is uncertain, and this is WISDOM IN A BOX but Richard is obviously like

and Mr J keeps on keepin' on wisdoming and kindnessing at him even though it sucks when young people are young people about things.

So. Smallweed returns, and we are of split opinions on Mr George and his (admittedly kind of boring) scenes, but when Smallweed wants some handwriting of the mysterious and as-yet-unexplained Hawdon's handwriting to compare to something else, I was like, AH HA! Finkle is Einhorn! Hawdon is Nemo.

Also, I slightly retract what I said earlier about how boring Smallweed is, because I'd forgotten his shouting and cushion-throwing, but I was reminded of that by 'you crabbed image for the sign of a walking-stick shop' because LOL and also WUT.

MORE PLOT THICKENINGS when Guppy (that freaking guy) shows up to blackmail Lady Dedlock about perhaps being related to a little girl named, 'not Esther Summerson, but Esther Hawdon.'

Now, so do we think that Guppy keeps trying to marry Esther for her Possible Future Connections And Perhaps Dollars? I'm asking.

Mrs Woodcourt, you are not subtle. Oh, Esther, since you are a 'third party wholly disinterested' I can confide in you that my son (who will marry a person of rank, probably) has one abiding failing, and it is flirting with young ladies even though he doesn't care for you them at all. Like, even the littlest bit.

Mr Skimpole recommends turning a sickly Jo out into the cold, dark night.

Seriously, though, any holdouts on Skimpole NOT being terrible?

Charley gets sick, Esther gets sick, Esther is blind (NOOOOOO), and WHYYYYYYYY is there a portrait of Lady Dedlock over the mantle in Mr Weevle (formerly, like, Jobling or whoever)'s apartment? I AM ASKING.

Etc etc fatty blackish ash etc combustion the end. SOME GOOD STUFF IN HERE, CHARLES. I will keep reading, look you.


Reading Rambo said...


I love all scenes with Smallweed and his cushion-throwing.

MRS WOODCOURT MAKES ME SO FLAILY ANGRY. And also I don't remember why Weevle has the portrait. Hmmmmmm. Maybe 'cause she's pretty? Yeah, that seems like an exciting, mysterious reason.

Red said...

I am happy we both made Shopaholic references when discussing Richard. Cos, come on now. Although I still kinda want to pat him on the head. Like I did with the characters in CoaS so it works.

Guppy seems to be going through a lot of work to marry Esther for her possible dollars. I mean, to piece together this whole mystery seems like a lot of work. Not that I think it would be beyond him to try to marry her just for money. And what's Super Shady Tulks getting out of this?

Megs said...

Eeeexcellent GIF depiction of butt-hurt Tulkinghorn. He might as well have yelled, "I never liked you anyway!" and stomped up to his room.

IS spontaneous combustion really so run-of-the-mill? I had to reread that section a FEW times, because the narrator sounded positively bored describing it.

My opinion of John Jarndyce gets lower and lower the more times Skimpole is horrible, because no one should enable that man. NO ONE.

Laura said...

I thought that Guppy wanted to marry Esther SO MUCH that he'd dig deep into her past and find a way to do it, but nope, yeah, her probable future riches does seem much more his style. The douche.

That is a completely perfect gif for Skimpole, and also Richard could use that too. FFS PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, MAN.

phinnea said...

Lady D was a 19th century pin-up girl is my understanding. She's one of the Galaxy Gallery of British Beauties Jobling decorated the room with. This is part of her dubious past which Sir Leicester overlooked in marrying her.

Vicki Lee said...

Oh man, the Shopaholic books! Can you review them? Or even just one? Because that would be fantastic