This week, for the Bleak House read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I read until Chapter XXIV. Compared with last week’s reading, this week, the pace seemed to slow down a bit, but there were some things that caught my attention this week regardless.
To begin with, I can’t get too far into my thoughts this week without talking about Richard first. I know the last couple of weeks, I may have been a little hard on Richard and his actions in Bleak House, to date, but Richard is really starting to drive me crazy with his jumping to and fro for what he really wants to do. In this week’s reading, he’s decided that law isn’t the profession for him and instead wants to purchase a commission in the royal army. Now, 15 years ago, when I was what Richard’s age is in the book, I really didn’t have a real solid idea of what I wanted to do with my life either; however, I was attending GW at the time, but Richard doesn’t seem to have any interest at all in school. He’s just jumping from one job to the next. By this point, I’m pretty much 100% convinced that all he’s wanting to do is bide his time until the Jarndyce vs Jarndyce lawsuit is at an end and he won’t have to work. Or maybe he’s wanting to become a lot like Mr. Skimpole where he lives off the generosity of others and not have to contribute one iota toward society’s well-being. Regardless, if he’s truly wanting to marry Ada, he’s not doing a good enough job of demonstrating to her that he’s “marriage” material. One thing’s for sure, my dislike for Richard’s character in this book is at an all-time high.
Aside from that, there were two items of particular note that really caught my eye. The first was the announcement of the engagement between Caddy and Prince to their respective parents. I thought Prince’s father, Mr. Turveydrop, was going to be dead set against it at first, but I was pleasantly surprised that he was persuaded that this match was going to be very good for both of them. On the other hand, I was really quite disappointed with Mrs. Jellyby’s reaction. Mrs. Jellyby just proved to me that all she cares about, more than anything else in this world, is her philanthropy and nothing else comes close. She seemed really quite put out that she was going to be marrying someone and it seemed to take time out of her busy day. How disappointing for Caddy!
Finally, at the end of this week’s reading something occurred that really caught my eye. It was when Mr. Jarndyce presented Esther with the gift of Charley to work for her with a great majority of the housekeeping duties. Now, ordinarily, that sort of action would tell me that he thinks Esther may be overwhelmed with some of the housework that Esther is doing and she simply needs help. However, what completely changed my opinion of this act of kindness was that Charley mentioned she was a gift of love from Mr. Jarndyce. That comment certainly raised an eyebrow for me and really started getting me to thinking that perhaps Mr. Jarndyce has deeper feelings than for Esther than I originally thought.
I’m certainly looking forward to learning more about what’s going on with the Jarndyce vs Jarndyce case, but more importantly, how all these characters are truly connected. I don’t think I’ve quite reached the point where I can see all the connections yet!