But first: a couple of Dickens-related links for your edification and enjoyment. Commenter V sent me this one: Dickens literary artifacts. He also sent this: a Dickens online role-playing game. As I Lay Frying finds a way to illustrate Dickens with doughnuts.
Sorry for the delay! I usually read my Dickens portion over the weekend, but last weekend turned out to be full of errands and driving through snowstorms to see a movie about tornadoes and hear a Christmas concert. Followed by much shoveling. Which today seems moot, as it is all melting, much to my snow-loving heart's dismay.
Is anyone else starting to feel a little weary with the introduction of more new characters, no matter how cleverly they might be named? Pretty soon I'm going to need some kind of character tree. Don't get me wrong, I'm still really enjoying this book, but the delight I felt in earlier chapters when some new name appeared is waning. Rapidly.
Mr. Jobling, Mr. Bucket (did anyone else flash on the name Charlie Bucket at this point?), I'm sure you're both delightful. But personally, it was a relief to get back to the utterly dysfunctional Smallweed family (and you remember, they're a relatively new acquaintance too). Maybe my Dickens reading time was just too cramped this week.
Anyway, I by far enjoyed the Smallweed family chapter the most, and this is perhaps my favorite set of lines:
"Everything that Mr. Smallweed's grandfather ever put away in his mind was a grub at first, and is a grub at last. In all his life he has never bred a single butterfly."
Maybe my recalcitrance at keeping track of more names comes because I'm worried I won't remember them when I should. Surely Mr. Bucket has more of a purpose than just to find Jo and identify the now-unemployed Frenchwoman who used to serve Lady Dedlock. Just as Charley, the orphan trying to take care of her siblings, now appears to have more of a role, as she appeared in the Smallweed household as a much-berated and poorly treated servant.
And it's not to say Mr. Bucket wasn't somewhat amusing. What a player. He appears well-versed in the ways of dealing with any member of society. I loved the intrigue when he passes another officer on the street and they act as if they don't see each other.
So, I dunno. Maybe I just hit a slump this week, maybe I was just too pressed for time. Even Mr. Gorey's illustrations for this section failed to cheer me. Fortunately, we have only one week until our holiday break. Chapters 23-25 for next Monday, y'all!