It seems fitting that I spent Family Day long weekend visiting family both here and in BC, while reading Dombey & Son, which is very much centered on family concerns. I’m reaching the latter part of the first volume, and I hate to mention it, but I’m questioning your choice of title again; because unless Dombey Sr. has another offspring in the wings, you’ve gone and rather tragically excised the ‘& Son’ from your narrative, with three quarters of the story to go.
Not that I’m complaining about your homicidal tendencies (although I am a little surprised, after the pain of Little Nell, that you chose to off another innocent so soon). We could kinda see the writing on the wall as fall as Paul Jr. was concerned, and I figured it was just a matter of time before the dear boy succumbed to the Heavenly voices bourn on the waves (I also suspect that this is the first and only instance in literature of death by homework). I was genuinely sad to see him go – he was a sweet little thing, and it would have been interesting to see him interact with his frighteningly single-minded father when the time came for him to take his place in the family business. But with Paul gone, Walter MIA on the way to Barbados, and poor, poor Florence abandoned in her own house, you’ve rather effectively cleared the stage of the characters we’ve come to care about. There are only so many pages you can fill with Florence wandering from room to room.
On this less populated stage, then, we have Carker, the very dangerous and feline Manager, clearly up to no good, while Dombey and the purple-faced Major are making new friends in Leamington. But we’re kind of back to where we were in Martin Chuzzlewit – watching characters with few redeeming features start to set things in motion we’d rather they didn’t. To borrow some nautical terms from Captain Cuttle, I feel we’ve been becalmed and are waiting for a stiff breeze to blow us forward in the narrative.
However, dear Charlie, I do have faith that new and interesting plot developments are in the works, so I’ll stop complaining and get back to the reading. I have faith, and am ever,