"Villany is the matter; baseness is the matter; deception, fraud, conspiracy, are the matter; and the name of the whole atrocious mess is -- HEEP!"
I think this is the most satisfying sentence in the entire book so far.
This was a pretty satisfying section overall. It's book-ended with references to suicide: in the opening section, Martha has fallen so far that she wants the river to take her away forever, and at the end, we have the odious Miss Dartle urging Little Em'ly to kill herself. In between, we have the clear sense that Dora isn't long for the world, although she doesn't seem destined to die in childbirth:
"The spirit fluttered for a moment on the threshold of its little prison, and, unconscious of captivity, took wing."
OK, that is an absolutely beautiful and heart-rending description of miscarriage.
We learn the truth about the strange man and Aunt Betsey, which felt sort of anti-climactic along with everything else, although I very much liked her self-described "grumpy, frumpy story". But we also had the wonderfully dramatic story of the Micawbers. We don't know what's happened, exactly, but we know Uriah Heep is at the root of it, and dare we hope that Mr. Micawber actually has some proof to put down this villain once and for all, and release the Wickfields from his evil grasp? Now that's a worthy cliffhanger.
Do you think Twaddles will ever get married? And why didn't Davy rush in to protect Little Em'ly from the demonic Dartle? Why wait for Mr. Peggotty? What was the point of that?
Only three more weeks--chapters 51-53 for next week. Or maybe four weeks, if I get around to reading the introduction to my edition (Penguin Classic) and want to talk about it.