Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Currently Reading...Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (Part 4)

Chapter the Thirty-First – Chapter the Fortieth: Well, Joe signed up for the military and, according to p. 261, bought himself a roll.  I guess it was a celebratory one.  In Chapter the Thirty-First he also tried to get some kind of emotion for himself out of Dolly, who is way too (as Dickens describes it) “coquettish”.  That was a really annoying part, because then she cried after he left.  I was like “Gurrrrl, decide what it is you want.”

 Edward Chester and his father by Phiz.

  Next comes Edward’s misfortunes, which was so expertly described:
“Misfortunes, saith the adage, never come singly. There is little doubt that troubles are exceedingly gregarious in their nature, and flying in flocks, are apt to perch capriciously; crowding on the heads of some poor wights until there is not an inch of room left on their unlucky crowns, and taking no more notice of others who offer as good resting-places for the soles of their feet, than if they had no existence. It may have happened that a flight of troubles brooding over London, and looking out for Joseph Willet, whom they couldn’t find, darted down haphazard on the first young man that caught their fancy, and settled on him instead. However this may be, certain it is that on the very day of Joe’s departure they swarmed about the ears of Edward Chester, and did so buzz and flap their wings, and persecute him, that he was most profoundly wretched.” – Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens, p. 266

  Mr. Chester kicks Edward out of his house, after Edward is trying to talk to him about their problems.

  Problems also arise at the Maypole, when Solomon reports hearing a voice at the graveyard – as he said, “It came upon me all at once that this was the nineteenth of March,” which is apparently the night someone died long ago (probably Reuben Haredale and Mr. Rudge).  John tells everyone to keep this story quiet, but then tells Mr. Haredale so as to show how wise he is.  It's funny how Mr. Haredale mentions that he doesn’t trust Hugh because it looks like he has an evil eye.

  On the way back, Willet and Hugh meet three men – Lord George Gordon, his secretary Mr. Gashford, and John Grueby – who are looking for a place to stay. Lord Gordon was a real person in real life (true story), and had to do with the Gordon Riots that this book portrays (which is coming up shortly).  You can read it about it here.

  We also meet Dennis, another gruff Protestant who is prejudiced against the Catholics.  I actually didn’t care much for the last few chapters of this section that dealt with Lord Gordon, although I did find the history about the Gordon Riots interesting.

Pictures from Google Images.