In case you didn’t know, I love to read. I am never without a book close by, typically fiction, but sometimes nonfiction, and also some classics. Remember how boring and hideous some of those “classics” were when we had to read them in school? Who really wanted to read “The Canterbury Tales” anyways or “Great Expectations”? Well, is it possible that we resisted those readings because they were foisted on us? I thought so, which is why I have endeavored, on occasion, to pick up a classic and see if any part of it still resonates. I found that “A Tale of Two Cities” definitely did (a love story set against the backdrop of political strife) and I thought that maybe “Bleak House”, perhaps Charles Dickens’ best-reviewed novel, would as well. Couldn’t have been more true, especially in the context of my profession.
“Bleak House” is a 900 pager examining the court system and the people affected by a lengthy probate matter (of which the actual facts are never completely explained) and if you can stomach a novel of that size, you will see throughout the novel Dickens lashing out at the court system, how its sole purpose is to create work for itself, and how everyone associated with it ends up miserable. Still true today in some respects, don’t you agree?
But one passage obviously hit me hard and I wanted to share it with you. It is Dickens’ characterziation of one of the attorneys involved in the case:
“Mr. Vholes is a very respectable man. He has not a large business, but he is a very respectable man. He is allowed by the greater attorneys who have made good fortunes or are making them to be a most respectable man. He never misses a chance in his practice, which is a mark of respectability. He never takes any pleasure, which is another mark of respectability. He is reserved and serious, which is another mark of respectability. His digestion is impaired, which is highly respectable.”
I absolutley love the fact that one of the main charactertistics of a “respectable” attorney is that he has bad digestion and that this is something to be savored.
While I won’t get into whether I qualify as “respectable” against Dickens’ standards, I just found it amusing.
Have a good week and pray that my digestion is impaired.