[Coming into the blog-room rather late in the day like an ill-prepared tutorial student] “Like, what Pete said!”
No, honestly, there’s little to add, but my thanks. I’m just disappointed that Barsad doesn’t actually challenge Carton to explain which poker variant they’re playing (I believe there are some major differences between draw, stud, and ‘Texas hold ’em). Or is it a non-mock-heroic game of Ombre, with all the players bidding for trumps?
Sydney is certainly filling El Hombre’s boots, drinking liquor heroically (from that tiny glass).
Forgive me if this seems a digression, but, having forgotten my turn to post an ‘instigator’ installment of our blog today, and gone through the common variety of emotions from guilt to a general sense of annoyance at a Duty forgot, I suddenly glimpsed what it may have been like for the Big D, to have had the weekly responsibility of carrying the whole show (not just the serial itself but the whole All the Year Round enterprise) week in week out for such a stretch of time. I can barely remember April, when we started out: it’s most of this YEAR, isn’t it?
Admittedly, by October 1859, the writing of ATOTC was all sown up: the composition completed, apparently, on 4th October, and then on 6th he has that important letter to Wilkie Collins, distinguishing between his friend’s manner of presenting revelations in ‘too elaborately trapped, baited and prepared’ a fashion (harsh?!) and his own more, well, divine methods: “I think the business of Art us to lay all that ground carefully, but with the care that conceals itself [ars est celare artem–gosh a concealed arty reference! Will Wilkie get it? Surely yes, admiringly]–to shew, by a backward light, what everything has been working to–but only to SUGGEST [in capitals, mind], until the fulfilment comes. These are the ways of Providence–of which all Art is but a little imitation’
Lofty stuff, suggestive of Someone resting after a mighty labour of Creation. But, even so, there was still the weekly schedule of making up the weekly number, and then Proofing. I found about 6 errors lurking in DJO’s version of this week’s installment (perhaps a higher count than in previous weeks–what do you think?) and felt vaguely responsible: but thanks to the infinitely provisional nature of online editing, was able to remove them in 5 minutes. Back then, presumably, it could involve a last-minute panic and rush of marked-up galley proofs over to the printers….
Anyhow, don’t want to labour the point. But what a weight it must have been, and what a relief–is it almost palpable in the gathering pace and sense that Providence has arranged a long rest for everyone?–to feel that the home straight was in sight, and everyone would get disposed of.
I recall some critic or other writing about the mighty sweep of Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago that the first half is dedicated to giving an impression of the teeming multitude of Russia and the disconnectedness of everything, while the second–almost reneging on this worldview–carefully links up all the specks in the snow. Coincidences abound. There’s something of that going on as we hurtle to the not-too-but-quite-carefully-baited trap of the finale, when everyone will have to hold hands and take a bow.
I’ll be on my feet. Will you?