I hope we’re still on speaking terms after my last letter. Not that you’ve been hugely conversational since we started our journey, being dead and all, but I don’t hold it against you.
Now that I’m well into Bleak House, and well away from English Monarchs Doing Un-Victorian Things, my equanimity has been restored. And here you are, clearly, back in your element! Another intriguing story, full of a multitude of moving parts, and with a grave social issue at its core. The English legal system, eh? I’m not sure you’d find it a great deal improved today, but it is hopefully a little less labyrinthine than it was when you sought to call attention to the kinds of painfully drawn-out Chancery cases that destroyed the lives of whole families. I wonder if that means there were more lawyer jokes in your day?
So far, though, there’s been an astonishing lack of bleakness. Other than one mysterious but so far peripheral death, everyone else seems to be getting along swimmingly. Esther’s been rescued from her joyless childhood and her guardian is a genuinely nice guy, Clara and Richard are lovely and in love, Bleak House as a residence has turned out to be quite cozy and endearing, and so far the big bad Chancery case has had very little impact on anyone. Even the little feud between Sir Leicester and Baythorn seems more suited to the pages of the Pickwick Club. Part of me wants to leave the book closed where it is and leave everyone suspended in relative peace.
Of course I won’t do that. You’ve scattered enough mysterious breadcrumbs already to ensure that curiosity will overrule my desire to keep your ensemble in suspended animation. That mysterious death of an apparently minor character has created little ripples in the lives of some very important people, including the perpetually bored Lady Dedlock and the super secretive Mr. Tulkinghorn. There’s more going on here than meets the eye, and eventually the paths of the Deadlocks and the Jarndyce crew will cross, I’m sure. I’m even curious to see what happens to Mr. Guppy and his posse.
But to do that I have to keep reading. And so, my friend, I shall bid you a fond farewell, and remain,