Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bleak House Week 6: I'll be there for you (when you're wrongfully imprisoned for a murder you didn't commit)

This week, all my most favorite people got together and shared scenes, and it was like the emotional but slightly comedic lead-up to a sitcom series finale.

Mr. and Mrs. Bagnet (whom I did not think I could enjoy any more than I already did, but then there was Mrs. Bagnet’s traditional birthday celebration with her family preparing dinner and doing the housework badly while she sat in her best gown and provided direction by way of secret winks and twitches) and George all together are something. But add Detective Bucket to the mix, and you have a birthday party I would very much like to attend.

Granted, Bucket was there to arrest George on suspicion of Tulkinghorn’s murder (I told him not to call him a rusty carbine loudly in public), but he arrested him so considerately, and you could tell he didn’t really want to. So no hard feelings, I’m sure.

And George is being ever brave and stalwart through this whole being-wrongfully-imprisoned thing. I tend to agree with his admittedly na├»ve view of the matter, which is that if he can’t be set free according to the whole truth, he would rather not be set free at all. But knowing the limits of the justice system, I also tend to agree with his friends, who are urging him to hire a fleet of lawyers. Thanks to Bucket and his expert detectiving though, none of that matters at all, and we are free to discuss the way I've decided to imagine that arrest scene playing out:

No WONDER he's his mother's favorite son.

But going back to Mrs. Bagnet (and forever and always with hearts in our eyes), this is definitely in my Top 10 favorite moments of the whole book or maybe any book:
“Instantly Mrs. Bagnet put some pins into her mouth and began pinning up her skirts all round a little higher than the level of her gray cloak, which she accomplished with surpassing dispatch and dexterity.
‘Lignum,’ said Mrs. Bagnet, ‘you take care of the children, old man, and give me the umbrella! I’m away to Lincolnshire to bring that old lady here.’ . . .
And she actually set off while we three stood looking at one another lost in amazement. She actually trudged away in her grey cloak at a sturdy pace, and turned the corner, and was gone.”
Imma just handle this business.

And do you know, I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. Bagnet are the only functional, healthy married couple in this story after all. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket are quite on the same level of marital success, by all appearances. Aside from the part where he shoves a sheet in her mouth so she won’t exclaim and then leaves it there for the entire conversation. But even that fits nicely with my image of Detective Bucket as Columbo.

The way he puts it to Mr. Smallweed (“Now, don’t open your mouth too wide, because you don’t look handsome when you do it”) and then makes Hortense link arms with him on the couch when she so clearly wants to rip his throat out with her teeth, and the way he is a blue-collar detective investigating the lives of the rich and powerful and saying things like, “I am damned if I am a-going to have my case spoilt, or interfered with, or anticipated by so much as half a second of time by any human being in creation.”

"When Mr. Bucket has a matter of this pressing interest
under his consideration, the fat forefinger seems to rise
to the dignity of a familiar demon."

At first, when Ada was being all gloomy around Esther, I was afraid that she had secretly gotten engaged to Woodcourt, which would absolutely break The Girl Code. But it’s all good because it turns out Ada just ran off and tied her tugboat to the Titanic. So phew.

But really, if Ada were a smart girl, she would be flouncing around Woodcourt and trawling for a proposal as though her life depended on it, Girl Code be damned. Because he saved shipwrecked people and doctored Jo and said this right to Vholes’s weasely, pale face:
“You seem to forget that I ask you to say nothing and have no interest in anything you say.”
Everybody else talk about how sweet and heartbreaking Sir Leicester’s reaction to the Awful Truth About His Wife was. I have some Gerard Butler Google image search results to attend to.


  1. Yes. Columbo. Yes.

    " But it’s all good because it turns out Ada just ran off and tied her tugboat to the Titanic."

    I love you. Just fyi. BE AWARE. And WHERE did you get that Betty Grable gif? I'm astonished by the stuff people find sometimes.


  2. But but but what about when Mrs Bagnet was just poking George with her umbrella every time she was moved? WHAT ABOUT THAT?! (That was my favourite).

    Bucket is surely the best detective that ever detected. No matter what Alley says *blows raspberries*

  3. There are really just SO many great Mrs. Bagnet moments. And I suspect we're not done seeing her be awesome quite yet. I hope not, at least.

    Poor Alley. I do admire your resolve, Alley! *tumbles you into the dining room*

  4. Ahahaha! Now we're arguing about George in three places. Thanks, Internet.

    He didn't ROUGHLY arrest George. He steered him into a private room and told him what was what and then George submitted to being handcuffed. It was all so civilized. Bucket even brought a cloak so George wouldn't be embarrassed to walk handcuffed in public. HE IS SO CONSIDERATE.

  5. I thought Bucket roughly arrested George all of a sudden after they had left the party and George thought that they would be good buddies and THAT IS WAY LESS KIND. Bucket, I'm still watching you...

    That gif NAILS Mrs. Bagnet who is the best and I would like an entire story focused on just her and her family pleaseandthankyou.

    Oh Ada. Why would you go end up with Richard who is in the middle of self destructing when you have Esther RIGHT THERE. These people are messing things up.

  6. HEY, remember when Bucket said he was gonna get his wife and Mrs. Bagnet together and they would be best friends by the time her next birthday came around? That's totally gonna happen.