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Don't be so harsh on poor Esther! Girlfriend had SMALLPOX. No doubt she was temporarily blinded and could be horrifically scarred, particularly on her once beautiful Lady Dedlockesque face. More? I had scarletina as a small child and vividly recall the agony of being quarantined in a darkened back bedroom of the house, my mom the only visitor/nurse allowed to see me. Esther's confinement and fears filled me w/ a great deal of empathy.

Okay, happier stuff this section. Greatly pleased at the return of family Bagnet, if for no other reason than to remind us that parents may have once wistfully nicknamed children after the place names of their births, but had the rational good sense not to formally christen them as such. Additionally, Quebec and Malta's petname for Mr. George – Bluffy – reminds me of my own blustering, cussing, cigar-smoking "Uncle Huffy Puffy".

Loved ending this section w/ Esther's narrative. Expect much intrigue ahead, what with her relocation so close to Chesney Wold for her convalescence and the enigmatic visit of Miss Flite. (Y'all may be interested to know that while 'fitz' is historically an Anglo-Norman prefix meant to convey "son of" it was later applied to the ILLEGITIMATE sons of princes. Ahem. That Miss Flite is wiser than her outward manner would indicate.)


Girl Detective

H, "Girlfriend had smallpox." Good one.

Amy, I think you're too harsh on this. Did you really think she'd STAY blind?

These sentences amused me and made me woozy with admiration:

"the comrades sally forth on the hopeful errand of mollifying Mr. all the Smallweedy affairs of life."


I look at this as sort of "The Empire Strikes Back" portion of BH: Our good folk need to face some peril and the badies need to have some advancement, especially if they are to get their comeuppance. And it is interesting to have more hints at Richard's growing gloom and darkness. Propel that plot forward!

I'm also intrigued with how Dickens treated time. These serialized portions come out at regular intervals, but he jumps around. A chapter may last a night or span the time of weeks.

This also might have been a rare Esther portion that resonated with me. Maybe it was her reflections at the end. It's clear that she is looking back at this time, but rarely does it come through. Here is one of the rare narrative chapters where it does.

Amy Rea

I should clarify that my beef is not with Esther herself, but with Dickens using this sort of bait-and-switch cliffhanger. If I was back in Dickens day and had to wait a month for this installment, I would have been cranky. V, I agree that I like when we get that sense of Esther looking back, and it sounds like there's some sadness ahead. Maybe the so-called Bleak House will actually become more bleak than it's been so far.

Miss T

I agree, that was a season-finale sort of trick. Perhaps we've all just seen a few too many of those, but who knows how Dickens's original audience felt about it? My main beef with the blindness was that it wasn't explained well and was very sudden, as if he was struggling to find something to top spontaneous combustion.

Amy Rea

Really. Who tries to top spontaneous combustion??

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