Mrs. Jellyby, whose face reflected none of the uneasiness which we could not help showing in our own faces as the dear child's head recorded its passage with a bump on every stair — Richard afterwards said he counted seven, besides one for the landing — received us with perfect equanimity.Doesn't that sentence make you feel like diagramming it... just for fun?
I like sentences like that — I think — because I like conversational side roads especially when they get you back to the main road. That relates to the way I feel about blogging. For example, the reason I was out there in Project Gutenberg searching for "Africa" on a webpage that contained the entire text of what is — in paperback — a 544-page book is that — like everyone else who checked Memeorandum today — I got waylaid by a NY Post story titled "Florida banker's wife left family to join Wall Street protesters."
A married mother of four from Florida ditched her family to become part of the raggedy mob in Zuccotti Park -- keeping the park clean by day and keeping herself warm at night with the help of a young waiter from Brooklyn.
“I’m not planning on going home,” an unapologetic Stacey Hessler, 38, told The Post yesterday.
“I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever,” said Hessler, whose home in DeLand sits 911 miles from the tarp she’s been sleeping under.
Hessler — who ironically is married to a banker — arrived 12 days ago and planned to stay for a week, but changed her plans after cozying up to some like-minded radicals, including Rami Shamir, 30, a waiter at a French bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.Hey, check the dashes: "— who ironically is married to a banker —." Ironic? Or not ironic at all? It's just what you'd expect if you were reading a novel about a woman married to a banker. Stacey Hessler immediately called to mind Mrs. Jellyby. Remember Mrs. Jellyby? She's a minor character in "Bleak House." Here's a summary/spoiler:
[Mrs. Jellyby] resolutely devotes every waking hour to the “Borrioboola-Gha venture.” The reader never discovers the details of the endeavor except that it involves the settlement of impoverished Britons among African natives with the goal of supporting themselves through coffee growing.Like a sentence with well-deployed dashes, it all comes together in the end.
Mrs. Jellyby is convinced that no other undertaking in life is so worthwhile, or would solve so many problems at a stroke. Dickens’s interest is not in the project, however, but rather in Mrs. Jellyby, who is so wedded to her work that she has no time for her several children, with the exception of Caddy, a daughter she has conscripted as her secretary. Ink-spattered Caddy puts in nearly as many hours as her mother in the daily task of answering letters and sending out literature about Borrioboola-Gha.
Caddy, however, has come to hate the very word “Africa” or any word that has the remotest suggestion of causes. For her, causes simply mean the ruin of family life. Mrs. Jellyby’s husband eventually becomes suicidal and, though surviving despair, is last seen in the book with his head resting despondently on a wall.
In the book’s postscript, we discover that the Borrioboola-Gha project failed after the local king sold the project’s volunteers into slavery in order to buy rum. Mrs. Jellyby quickly found another cause to occupy her time, “a mission with more correspondence than the old one,” thus providing a happy ending for a permanent campaigner.