Bleak House by Charles Dickens
The plot thickens like a fine pudding! When Esther joins Mr. Jarndyce and Ada on a friendly visit to Mr. Boythorn’s home, even more questions are raised into the matter of her unknown origins.
Attending the Sunday service, Esther’s first glimpse of Lady Dedlock strikes a chord. While Esther knows she has never seen Lady Dedlock before, she finds that there is something strangely familiar between her and that lady. The hint of a previous association between Mr. Jarndyce, Lady Dedlock, and her sister stirs things further, while Lady Dedlock’s apathetic manner when she encounters Ada and Esther acts as a counterpoint to Esther’s increasing awareness of Lady Dedlock.
One of my favorites moments in this section is the introduction of Mr. Turveydrop and his Deportment (almost a character in itself). Sweet, neglected Caddy Jellyby has fallen in love with the estimable, young Prince Turveydrop, but it is his father who steals the scene. Between Mrs. Jellyby and Mr, Turveydrop, it is a wonder that Caddy or Prince have any idea what it means to make a match and maintain a household. But Caddy’s predicament does not begin to compare to poor Jo’s miserable existence. Every social ill comes to be embodied in Jo–illiterate, starving, orphaned, at the mercy of people both high and low. Of all the wretched, neglected youths in Bleak House, Jo is the most wretched of all.
Sooo much happened in these chapters, it’s difficult to summarize. Even the most repulsive, opportunistic characters–the Chadbands, Mr. Guppy, Mr. Turveydrop–are absurd enough to redeem themselves as comic fools, though only just.
The Bleak House Read-Along is hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf.