Monday, December 7, 2009


I am going to go out on a real literary limb here and assert that Charles Dickens is a very great author. I was minded this morning to revisit Bleak House, of which I was thinking because I was wondering if -- now that I'm no longer interested in the martial arts -- I might use this venue to narrate the ongoing epic saga of Berlinski v. Sargın Construction. But after re-reading the first chapter of Bleak House, I realized that it would be simpler just to refer you to it. Just swap a few local details -- mosques for churches, headscarves for bonnets, sütlaç for plum cake, that sort of thing -- and you'll understand the whole story perfectly.

How many people out of the suit Jarndyce and Jarndyce has stretched forth its unwholesome hand to spoil and corrupt would be a very wide question. From the master upon whose impaling files reams of dusty warrants in Jarndyce and Jarndyce have grimly writhed into many shapes, down to the copying clerk in the Six Clerks’ Office who has copied his tens of thousands of Chancery folio-pages under that eternal heading, no man’s nature has been made better by it. In trickery, evasion, procrastination, spoliation, botheration, under false pretences of all sorts, there are influences that can never come to good. The very solicitors’ boys who have kept the wretched suitors at bay, by protesting time out of mind that Mr Chizzle, Mizzle, or otherwise was particularly engaged and had appointments until dinner, may have got an extra moral twist and shuffle into themselves out of Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The receiver in the cause has acquired a goodly sum of money by it but has acquired too a distrust of his own mother and a contempt for his own kind. Chizzle, Mizzle, and otherwise have lapsed into a habit of vaguely promising themselves that they will look into that outstanding little matter and see what can be done for Drizzle — who was not well used — when Jarndyce and Jarndyce shall be got out of the office. Shirking and sharking, in all their many varieties have been sown broadcast by the ill-fated cause; and even those who have contemplated its history from the outer-most circle of such evil have been insensibly tempted into a loose way of letting bad things alone to take their own bad course, and a loose belief that if the world go wrong it was in some off-hand manner never meant to go right.

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