In Chapter 6 of Bleak House Charles Dickens introduces one of his fascinating characters — John Jarndyce — first via a brief note that Mr. Jarndyce has sent to each of three young travelers:

I look forward, my dear, to our meeting easily and without constraint on either side. I therefore have to propose that we meet as old friends and take the past for granted. It will be a relief to you possibly, and to me certainly, and so my love to you.

John Jarndyce

The young people discuss among themselves the qualities of this extraordinary gentleman:

The notes revived in Richard and Ada a general impression that they both had, without quite knowing how they came by it, that their cousin Jarndyce could never bear acknowledgments for any kindness he performed and that sooner than receive any he would resort to the most singular expedients and evasions or would even run away. Ada dimly remembered to have heard her mother tell, when she was a very little child, that he had once done her an act of uncommon generosity and that on her going to his house to thank him, he happened to see her through a window coming to the door, and immediately escaped by the back gate, and was not heard of for three months. ...

... echoing elements of the "Definition of a Gentleman" by Cardinal Newman (cf. ^zhurnal 4 Oct 2001).

TopicLiterature - 2007-07-15

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