Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Chapters 30 and 31 brought a mood of great sadness to the story, and I was often close to tears as I turned the pages. First David and his circle of friends lost the inimitable Barkis, the husband of Peggotty, David's nurse in his younger years. His death couldn't have been described more gently and artistically: the sentences seemed to move with doleful serenity, making death seem at the same time more real and more harmonious than I'd ever before imagined it. Then, as if echoing Shakespeare's words that 'sorrows come not singly, but in battalions', in the next chapter little Em'ly, Peggotty's beloved neice, runs off in the night with Steerforth, whom David had considered his best and most cherished friend. It's an overwhelming blow to David and the Peggottys -- a time of intense sadness for them (and for this reader).