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Dombey and Son > Dombey, Chapters 23 - 25

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Tristram Shandy Dear Dickens Friends,

this is the new thread, but since I have not managed to read Chapters 23 - 25 yet, I cannot give you any summary nor can I throw in some questions and suggestions. The night being still young, I am going to give my Sunday the highlight of sitting down in my armchair with a jug of punch and three Dickens chapters ;-)

See you all tomorrow!


message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim

Solemn Reference Is Made to Mr. Bunsby

Chapter 23


message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim


Mr. Carker Introduces Himself to Florence and the Skettles Family to Mr. Bunsby

Chapter 24


Peter Is there much finer writing than the first part of this chapter? Florence, the house, the ooze of loneliness and despair that is just a moment away. As much as the crypt-like house tries to swallow all within its walls, Florence still survives, still shines.

OK. So I was trying to be dramatic, but I cannot recall such powerful writing and description in any of our earlier novels. It seems that as the reasons compound for Florence to be worn down by her fate the more she rallies against her fate.

Walter's fate is unknown, Carker makes another appearance in this section of reading and Dombey may be hearing the Siren's call to his next fate and yet Florence still moves on, moves forward.


message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Do you know what I kept thinking as I read Chapter 23? Where in the world is everyone? I know Susan Nipper is still there, also according to Chapter 3 there is:

"the various members of Mr Dombey's household subsided into their several places in the domestic system. That small world, like the great one out of doors, had the capacity of easily forgetting its dead; and when the cook had said she was a quiet-tempered lady, and the house-keeper had said it was the common lot, and the butler had said who'd have thought it, and the housemaid had said she couldn't hardly believe it, and the footman had said it seemed exactly like a dream, they had quite worn the subject out, and began to think their mourning was wearing rusty too."

I know that Dombey ordered all the furniture covered up years ago but does no one ever enter any room, does no one ever clean anything? In Chapter 23 there is this:

"Keys rusted in the locks of doors. Damp started on the walls, and as the stains came out, the pictures seemed to go in and secrete themselves. Mildew and mould began to lurk in closets. Fungus trees grew in corners of the cellars. Dust accumulated, nobody knew whence nor how; spiders, moths, and grubs were heard of every day. An exploratory blackbeetle now and then was found immovable upon the stairs, or in an upper room, as wondering how he got there. Rats began to squeak and scuffle in the night time, through dark galleries they mined behind the panelling".

Damp, rust, mold, mildew, dust, spiders, moths, grubs and most especially rats. What are the servants doing all day long? Can't they even bother to chase away the spiders and moths and kill the rats by any means they can think of. And why in the world does no one ever bother talking to Florence once in a while. These people are getting paid too much.


Linda | 712 comments Kim wrote: "Do you know what I kept thinking as I read Chapter 23? Where in the world is everyone?"

Ha ha! I was thinking the same thing, Kim.

What are the servants doing all day long?.....And why in the world does no one ever bother talking to Florence once in a while. These people are getting paid too much.

And I also thought along these lines. Too funny!

Well, when Florence finally went away to visit the Skettles, I immediately thought "who is going to take care of Diogenes?" But then I had to remind myself that there ARE servants at the Dombey house, it's just this last chapter made it sound like there was absolutely no one there.


message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Chapter 23 gave me something to go look up. The line is:

"Mrs MacStinger's eloquence having rendered all other sounds but imperfectly distinguishable, he had looked for no rarer visitor than the potboy or the milkman; wherefore, when Florence appeared, and coming to the confines of the island, put her hand in his, the Captain stood up, aghast, as if he supposed her, for the moment, to be some young member of the Flying Dutchman's family."

Now I get to go see who the Flying Dutchman is:

"The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The myth is likely to have originated from 17th-century nautical folklore. The oldest extant version dates to the late 18th century. Sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries reported the ship to be glowing with ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman will try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom."

According to some sources, the 17th century Dutch captain Bernard Fokke is the model for the captain of the ghost ship. Fokke was renowned for the speed of his trips from the Netherlands to Java and was suspected of being in league with the Devil. The first version of the legend as a story was printed, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for May 1821, which puts the scene as the Cape of Good Hope. This story introduces the name Captain Hendrick Vanderdecken for the captain and the motifs (elaborated by later writers) of letters addressed to people long dead being offered to other ships for delivery, but if accepted will bring misfortune; and the captain having sworn to round the Cape of Good Hope though it should take until the day of judgment.



Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Damp, rust, mold, mildew, dust, spiders, moths, grubs and most especially rats. What are the servants doing all day long? Can't they even bother to chase away the spiders and moths and kill the rats by any means they can think of. And why in the world does no one ever bother talking to Florence once in a while. These people are getting paid too much. "

Oh dear, oh dear! I have to agree with you here, Kim. When I read that I was wondering how it could be possible the house was going to pot so quickly only because Mr. Dombey was away for some months. After all, the house is not uninhabited and there must be a bunch of servants loitering about. Maybe they simply do not do their duty; when you remember how they lead a Sunday life on the occasion of little Paul's funeral and its aftermath, this might be a very plausible conclusion. By the way, I liked the descriptions of the servant's life on that occasion because there is some truth in it.

I also have to agree with Peter, which I do with mirth and relief: That passage in uncommonly fine writing, and it might be taken as symbolic rather than literal in that it could be taken as some foreshadowing of an impending blow to Mr. Dombey's social position and wealth.


Tristram Shandy Linda wrote: "when Florence finally went away to visit the Skettles"

But aren't the Skettleses brilliant characters, Linda? Mr. Skettles is almost a modern day Internet user with his preoccupation of getting to know new people just for the sake of increasing the circle of his acquaintances. That is so much like those people on Facebook et al. who simply collect friends without ever entering into any deeper exchange of words, let alone thoughts, with them.


message 10: by Tristram (last edited Nov 04, 2014 12:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tristram Shandy Apart from the description of the Skettleses, Chapter 24 is rather dark and sad, though: Florence is actually studying other children in order to learn what they do to elicit their parents' affection and love. In other words, she puts all the blame for not being loved like other children on herself rather than on her father, and she even tries to find a thousand excuses for her father's coldness towards her. It made me shudder to put myself into Florence's shoes, here.

And yet, this might actually be how a child in Florence's position might feel.


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Chapter 23 gave me something to go look up. The line is:

"Mrs MacStinger's eloquence having rendered all other sounds but imperfectly distinguishable, he had looked for no rarer visitor than the ..."


Kim,

thanks for that excursion into sea lore. There is even an opera in which the Flying Dutchman plays an important role and in which he is redeemed by the love of an honest woman. Saying that, I wonder how difficult it must be to fall in love with a ghost. The opera is by Richard Wagner, a composer I personally do not really like, and this goes also for his pompous music.


Tristram Shandy Seeing that there is already such a lively discussion going on, I will refrain from summarizing the three chapters in question for once. I have always hated doing summaries at school, and even as a teacher I hardly ever exact that dry duty from my students.

Once again, I could not help but notice how everybody is picking on poor Rob the Grinder. Susan rubs it in with him that he should be grateful for what other people do for him, and even the benevolent Captain Cuttle does not hide his suspicions against him, thinking him capable of having killed Mr. Gills. I daresay it is no wonder that Rob turns to somebody like Carker when he finds nothing but distrust, scorn and arrogance. After all, we have never seen him do any real harm, have we?

Another thought: At first, I was not too enthusiastic of re-reading this novel but now I must say that I am inclined to rank it amongst my favourite Dickens novels. There is a very vivid microcosm of interesting and lifelike characters Dickens has created, and the humour is very serene and benevolent, in short: a novel like a summer's day.


message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "The opera is by Richard Wagner, a composer I personally do not really like, and this goes also for his pompous music."

Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt? You said you don't like Wagner so it comes to my mind that you must like Wagner he's German isn't he? After all if there is an American guy running around out there writing opera (I have no idea if there is) then I would be required to love him, so I had to go look up Wagner, and yes he's from Germany. Now this is why my brain hurts, in the biography which I'm not even close to finishing yet it says:

"Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas."

Now I had to go and look up what in the world a polemicist was and the definition is:

"A polemic is a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific understanding and the falsity of the contrary position. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about very controversial topics. The art or practice of such argumentation is called polemics. A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is a polemicist or a polemic."

That makes no sense. Of course two people arguing are trying to prove they are right and the other person is wrong why else would they be arguing in the first place? You can't argue if you both agree in the first place unless there is something wrong with you. Also it says they are argueing about a specific thing. No kidding. Would we be arguing about nothing at all or everything there is? No, about one thing at a time. Now my head hurts. I'm going to find out why Wagner didn't like his first name. Thanks.


Peter Tristram wrote: "Seeing that there is already such a lively discussion going on, I will refrain from summarizing the three chapters in question for once. I have always hated doing summaries at school, and even as a..."

Tristram

I certainly agree with your assessment of D&S. The characters are finely drawn, the plot interesting and the writing ... well, it is much more powerful than anything we have read before. And to think what lies ahead!


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Linda wrote: "Well, when Florence finally went away to visit the Skettles, I immediately thought "who is going to take care of Diogenes?" But then I had to remind myself that there ARE servants at the Dombey house,"

Oh no, I didn't even think of that. Now I'm going to worry about whether those lazy servants let the dog die of hunger and thirst.


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "I am going to give my Sunday the highlight of sitting down in my armchair with a jug of punch and three Dickens chapters ;-)"

And don't forget the pretty wench!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH0CfZ...


Everyman | 2034 comments I love Captain Cuttle trying to evade Mrs. MacStinger. As though he had no right to go live anywhere other than under her roof.


Linda | 712 comments Everyman wrote: "I love Captain Cuttle trying to evade Mrs. MacStinger. As though he had no right to go live anywhere other than under her roof."

Yes, I was a little confused by his evasion of Mrs. MacStinger, especially after he prepaid three months rent in advance with no real intent to go back and live there?! But then I just had to laugh...


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "I love Captain Cuttle trying to evade Mrs. MacStinger. As though he had no right to go live anywhere other than under her roof."

Hmmm, to be sure, I found this kind of exaggeration going a bit over the top but then that's the nature of exaggerations in the first place. Even if I may be the only person here who feels that way, I prefer the Major to the Captain, as literary characters, that is.


message 20: by Tristram (last edited Nov 05, 2014 05:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I am going to give my Sunday the highlight of sitting down in my armchair with a jug of punch and three Dickens chapters ;-)"

And don't forget the pretty wench!

http://www.youtub..."


Absolutely brilliant, the Clancy Brothers. I was actually thinking of that, somewhere in the back of my mind when I was musing about the punch. Your link does not work in Germany, though, for copyright reasons (I think), but this one does:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFYOPy...


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

Count yourself lucky that I did not post of photo of myself in my profile, or your eyes would hurt, too!

About Wagner, it never entered my mind I would have to like him because he was a German. There are a great many German artists I don't like: Thomas Mann, for starters, but that's neither here nor there. Whenever something becomes too pompous, too solemn, too full of itself, I'd like to stick a needle into it and watch it deflate, and Wagner as well as Mann were definitely too full of themselves, without the slightest sense of humour. Another example is detective stories from Sweden: Nearly everyone in Germany loves them because they are so sinister and gritty, but I miss this tongue-in-cheek humour that is typical of the English crime novel so often.


message 22: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

Count yourself lucky that I did not post of photo of myself in my profile, or your eyes would hurt, too!

About Wagner, it never entered..."


Why don't you have a new pumpkin picture anyway?


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "Even if I may be the only person here who feels that way, I prefer the Major to the Captain, as literary characters, that is.
"


I don't know if you're the only person, or I'm the only person to feel the opposite, but I much prefer the Captain. He seems to me sincere, caring, genuinely nice. The Major seems to me manipulative, and guilty of trying too hard, which for me is a major fault in both author and characters.


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "Absolutely brilliant, the Clancy Brothers. "

Absolutely. I actually had the privilege of playing with them a couple of times in little pubs here and there in New York. They were magicians at finding hole in the wall bars that really were more English pub than American bar, and on their tours of the States sometimes invited me and a couple of their other friends to join them in an informal sing-along after their performances. Their stamina for singing and drinking was legendary, and even though I was only drinking soft drinks, being then (and now) abstemious in drink as in all things, I had trouble outlasting them.

Wonderful people as well as marvelous musicians.


Everyman | 2034 comments Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

To me it's not the why but the how. I'm jealous of Tristram being so successful at it. I wish I could learn his secret.


Linda | 712 comments Everyman wrote: "I don't know if you're the only person, or I'm the only person to feel the opposite, but I much prefer the Captain. He seems to me sincere, caring, genuinely nice. The Major seems to me manipulative, and guilty of trying too hard, which for me is a major fault in both author and characters."

I also prefer the Captain to the Major. I feel that if he were my friend, I would know he was on my side. Whereas if the Major were my friend, I couldn't be so sure, I feel it would depend on what the situation was and what was in it for him.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Ah, thanks Everyman and Tristram for putting up the Clancy bros and Tommy Makem link. It makes me feel homesick for Ireland and I'm here!

You lucky duck, Everyman, getting to sing with them. I have never even seen them play live. I particularly love Liam Clancy; he has a lot of stage presence.

Oh yes, a bit of trivia that I have just vaguely remembered: my older son used to teach Tommy Makem's grandson piano (I hope I've got that right!). Although, this is not so terribly out of the ordinary in such a small country - there are approx. 5m people in the whole island and approx. 1 and a half million in the North and Tommy Makem is the one Northerner in the group. I still haven't seen them play though ... :-(


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Just to justify my writing on here I'd better make reference to Dombey! It's simply a reiteration of what everyone has been saying. Poor, poor Florence. Eccentric Major and charming Captain. Slimy, slimy Carker. I despise him. Harsh but true ...


Everyman | 2034 comments Hilary wrote: " Slimy, slimy Carker. I despise him. Harsh but true ... "

I'm panting to get to the next set of chapters when I can pound the final nail in any chance of his being considered a decent person. After those chapters, anybody who still thinks there is any good in Carker will have me to deal with!


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Amen, Everyman!


message 31: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Everyman wrote: "Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

To me it's not the why but the how. I'm jealous of Tristram being so successful at it. I wish I could learn his secret."


You make other parts of me hurt.


message 32: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Here's another illustrator I just came across:

Frederick (Fred) Barnard was a Victorian illustrator, caricaturist and genre painter. He is noted for his work on the novels of Charles Dickens published between 1871 and 1879 by Chapman and Hall.

In 1871 Barnard was commissioned by Chapman and Hall to illustrate nine volumes of the Household Edition of Dickens' work. It included Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Sketches by Boz, Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, Dombey and Son and Martin Chuzzlewit. He followed in the footsteps of the respected illustrator Hablot Knight Browne who had worked with Dickens himself. Barnard created some 450 illustrations over an eight-year period, and became known as "the Charles Dickens among black-and-white artists."

Barnard concentrated on illustrating scenes other than those that Browne and Dickens had chosen to portray. Whereas Browne was inclined to create dramatic group scenes for his prints, Barnard was more interested in showing the relationships between pairs of characters. At the same time, Barnard also had to seamlessly blend the characters as visualised by Browne with his own style, trying not to deviate too much from their established appearance."


Here are the ones from these chapters:



"What do you want with Captain Cuttle, I should wish to know!" said Mrs. Macstinger. "Should you! Then I'm sorry that you won't be satisfied," returned Miss Nipper—Chap. 23



The flowers were scattered on the ground like dust; the empty hands were spread upon the face; and orphaned Florence, shrinking down upon the ground, wept long and bitterly -
Chapter 24



The Captain's voice was so tremendous, and he came out of his corner with such way on him, that Rob retreated before him into another corner; holding out the keys and packet, to prevent himself from being run down—Chap.25


Peter Kim wrote: "Here's another illustrator I just came across:

Frederick (Fred) Barnard was a Victorian illustrator, caricaturist and genre painter. He is noted for his work on the novels of Charles Dickens publi..."


These are powerful evocative portraits. I am going to search put more of his work. Thanks, as always, Kim.


Everyman | 2034 comments Kim wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

To me it's not the why but the how. I'm jealous of Tristram being so successful at it. I wish I could learn his secret."

You make other parts of me hurt. "


Hey, I didn't force you to take that fifth drink.


Everyman | 2034 comments Kim wrote: "Here's another illustrator I just came across:

Frederick (Fred) Barnard was a Victorian illustrator, caricaturist and genre painter. He is noted for his work on the novels of Charles Dickens publi..."


I like his work.


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "After those chapters, anybody who still thinks there is any good in Carker will have me to deal with! "

Hmmm I think his teeth are very good, and they are in him. Q.e.d.


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "Kim wrote: "Why is it always you that makes my brain hurt?"

To me it's not the why but the how. I'm jealous of Tristram being so successful at it. I wish I could learn his secret."


I do not know about the mechanism of that secret, either. It just seems to come naturally for me.


Tristram Shandy Hilary wrote: "Ah, thanks Everyman and Tristram for putting up the Clancy bros and Tommy Makem link. It makes me feel homesick for Ireland and I'm here!

You lucky duck, Everyman, getting to sing with them. I..."


"The Jug of Punch" just happened to be one of the songs I used to sing to my son when he was very little and would not go to bed without any music. He did not understand the words, otherwise I would have thought twice before glorifying spirits to a child, though ;-) Another regular song, anyway the first I ever sang to him was the "Londonderry Air".


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Why don't you have a new pumpkin picture anyway?"

I did, in fact, carve another pumpkin with my son, but it looked so much like last year's that I did not bother taking a photo. There is a limited range of facial expressions you can get into a pumpkin; in that respect it's a bit like Harrison Ford ;-)


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Absolutely brilliant, the Clancy Brothers. "

Absolutely. I actually had the privilege of playing with them a couple of times in little pubs here and there in New York. They were..."


Everyman,

I surely envy you these experiences!


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Here's another illustrator I just came across:

Frederick (Fred) Barnard was a Victorian illustrator, caricaturist and genre painter. He is noted for his work on the novels of Charles Dickens publi..."


Wow, these are really very impressive sketches, especially the second one: There's so much power in it. And as to the first one, you just have to look at it in order to know that the figure in the middle is supposed to be the excellent Nipper.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Awh Tristram, I love that you sang those songs to your little boy! The Londonderry Air was first heard being played on the streets of Derry by an anonymous fiddler. It's such a beautiful tune that I always thought it a pity that the words of 'Danny Boy' were ever put to it. Not that I dislike Danny Boy, it's very popular here, but I just felt that the tune was too beautiful to be tampered with.


message 43: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Hilary wrote: "Awh Tristram, I love that you sang those songs to your little boy! The Londonderry Air was first heard being played on the streets of Derry by an anonymous fiddler. It's such a beautiful tune tha..."

I know all kinds of words to that "song". We learned a version of "Amazing Grace" to that tune in church, also a song called "I Cannot Tell" and also in church. Everybody is tampering with it, just like Christmas carols. :-}


message 44: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "He did not understand the words, otherwise I would have thought twice before glorifying spirits to a child, though ;-)"

I will have you know that the very first song I can remember my dad singing to me, and probably the very last song was "In Heaven There Is No Beer", and I turned out perfectly normal. Here are the very easy to remember words:

"In Heaven there is no beer,
That's why we drink it here,
And when we're gone from here,
Our friends will be drinking all the beer."


Then just sing "la, la, la, la" until you're sick of it and sing the verse again. I hate beer by the way. :-}


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Kim, I'm having difficulty imagining Amazing Grace fitting the metre of that tune. Ah well, whatever floats people's boats!
Hahaha to your last comment. Your dad was obviously a hoot. I am sure there'll be wine, beer et al. in heaven ... For the Irish at least. :)


Everyman | 2034 comments Hilary wrote: " I am sure there'll be wine, beer et al. in heaven.."

As long as there's also real tea. A good selection of Keemun, Darjeeling, Assam, et al.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) Oh Everyman, I shall not turn up my nose at good tea ... Mmm Earl Grey, Lspsang Souchong and those that you've mentioned ; even though I don't know them all! :)


message 48: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim And a really, really big Christmas store.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) The biggest, Kim! It will out-Bronner Bronners!!


message 50: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I just came from the Bronner's website, the commercial side of course, I'm looking for some 3d snowflake ornaments, one or two or three, to hang from the beams in the living room. The largest they have is 43". Here's what they look like, I know the grumps will be wondering, so I'll just post it now. :-}




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