Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jellyby closets

A Dickens catalogue:

Poor Mr Jellyby, who very seldom spoke, and almost always sat when he was at home with his head against the wall, became interested when he saw that Caddy and I were attempting to establish some order among all this waste and ruin, and took off his coat to help. But such wonderful things came tumbling out of the closets when they were opened — bits of mouldy pie, sour bottles, Mrs Jellyby's caps, letters, tea, forks, odd boots and shoes of children, firewood, wafers, saucepan-lids, damp sugar in odds and ends of paper bags, footstools, black-lead brushes, bread, Mrs Jellyby's bonnets, books with butter sticking to the binding, guttered candle-ends put out by being turned upside down in broken candlesticks, nutshells, heads and tails of shrimps, dinner-mats, gloves, coffee-grounds, umbrellas — that he looked frightened, and left off again. But he came in regularly every evening, and sat without his coat, with his head against the wall; as though he would have helped us, if he had known how.

Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853)
Other Bleak House posts
At Peffer and Snagsby's
"It must be a strange state"
Reading don't pay

comments: 1

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I always perk up at the word "guttered." Like-minded readers (they could exist!)might check out the Wilfred Owen poem, "Dulce et Decorum Est" to see the word used in a very different context.