Well, it’s still Tuesday west of here. I almost forgot my book report is due.
So Esther finally shot Tulkinghorn – you go, girl! Save the world a lot of trouble. Oh, okay, it probably wasn’t Esther. I’m doing this report backwards. This came at the end of our reading. A little unorthodox to do away with the villain when there’s still 200 pages to go. Can’t say I’ll miss him, but who will put all our heroes in peril now?
Chapters 40 – 48: Tulkinghorn, if there was any previous doubt, reveals himself as a scurvy knave and tells milady’s story to all and sundry thinly disguised. They have a brief, but tense confab about what Tulkinhorn means to do later and he says nothing for the moment, carry on as you were. Don’t leave. Don’t change. Which is rather a lot to ask.
Snagsby complains to Tulkinghorn that the freaky French maid is stalking him and Tulkinghorn agrees to take care of this. Tulkinghorn after exchanging mutual threats with the maid appears to win and she goes off swearing revenge. (If she shot him, no one will care, but she’d be most grieved to know she’s done her Ladyship a big fat favor.)
Esther and John Jarndyce go visit the Skimpoles at their home. Apparently suffering from the delusion they can somehow influence Skimpole to behave the way they’d prefer, in this case, getting Rick to be a little less obsessed with the Chancery suit. Ha, they’re well-matched, aren’t they? Poor deluded souls. Skimpole takes advantage of this to live off them for a week or two, but first a merry story of how they destroyed their neighbor’s armchairs.
Sir Leicester Dedlock pays an awkward visit. Ada tries writing another letter to Richard. Jarndyce writes a letter to Esther. Esther accepts. She then goes to see Richard who’s well on the way to selling his commission and devoting himself to the suit full time. What he’ll live on, who knows? At least, he’s not far gone enough to take Ada’s money. Yet.
Then she runs into Woodcourt who is, I think, not much better than ol’ whathisname was when seeing the disaster that is now Esther’s face. He’s very sad, and she takes this as somehow speaking well for him, but Esther, remember how Ada kissed you and rolled around on the floor with you as though nothing had changed. Really, she’s the woman for you. Woodcourt agrees to befriend Richard. Good luck with that, Woodcourt.
And at last, we find out what happened to Jo, who survived his smallpox and somehow made it back to London more dead than alive having been kidnapped by Bucket on behalf of Tulkinghorn, because they aren’t so bad as to actually directly kill a child, but they’d rather not have any witnesses. Fortunately, Jo manages to tell several people before he finally gets to leave his vile life behind. Just as it was looking up, too.
Lady Dedlock, in order to preserve Rosa’s reputation, sends her packing. Tulkinghorn views this as a betrayal of their agreement and is going to tell Sir Leicester, at some point. But before he can do this, he is blown away without even having time to drink his wine. It doesn’t seem likely he’d have let the maid in to shoot him. Not sure who he would have let in.
I do like Mr. George. “I can assure you that I would willingly be knocked on the head at any time if it would be at all agreeable to Miss Summerson”