SPOILERS FOR CHAPTERS 11-13
Chapter 11 was quite educational as there is an inquest to read through. It is bits like this that remind me that although as I am reading it now it is an historical novel, at the time of publishing it was a contemporary piece so many readers may have known what Dickens was talking about from first-hand experience and any humour and fun-making would have been more immediate and tongue in cheek for the original readers.
Lady Dedlock continues to be bored and Sir Leicester agreeable, at least until Mr Tulkinghorn returns to Chesney Wold to complete the tale of the handwriting (you know, the stuff that made her ‘faint’) – she really breaks character by showing interest at this point.
“Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society.”
Back with Esther, Richard has decided that he wants to study medicine and so the gang go to call on Mr Badger and his wife (Mr Badger is a doctor). This couple has got to be the strangest couple I have read about so far. Mr Badger is Mrs Badger’s third husband (she married each of her husbands on the same day and at the same time – if this was another genre I would think it would make the great start for a horror/murder subplot) and she has the portraits of her first two husbands hanging in the house, almost as part of the family. Now, maybe that isn’t weird, but the way Mr B is always going on about his predecessors is. I can’t tell if he wants her to know that he knows she had a life before him and this is his way of telling her he doesn’t mind by constantly mentioning them or what. But the sheer number of times he brings them up is very strange.
And last but not least, Esther has landed herself a stalker.
See you for chapters 14, 15 and 16.