J. Cuming Walters: His Last Mystery

Отправлено 1 мая 2013 г., 05:43 пользователем Sven Karsten

HERE were two plots upon which Dick­ens un­doubt­ed­ly prid­ed him­self. The value of one we shall never con­clu­sive­ly as­cer­tain; the other we can ap­praise.

Per­son­al­ly I think the plot of Our Mu­tu­al Friend to be poor, un­con­vinc­ing, and occa­sionally clum­sy. The se­cret of John Har­mon should ei­ther have been bet­ter kept, or there should have been no air of mys­tery at all. Bof­fin's meth­ods are not only prim­i­tive and re­pug­nant, but they lead us to doubt whether they would have been ef­fec­tive. Why should the girl he dis­gust­ed with his af­fect­ed miser­li­ness nec­es­sar­i­ly fly to the arms of the man she de­spised? Could a man of Bof­fin's sim­ple na­ture have acted so schem­ing­ly, and have adopt­ed so round­about a course to ful­fil his ob­ject? Too much is left to chance, and too many peo­ple are made mis­er­able that one per­son should be made happy. Bof­fin's char­ac­ter un­der­goes vi­o­lent change, and we can­not rec­on­cile the sim­ple old soul of the ear­li­er chap­ters with the con­sum­mate actor of the lat­ter chap­ters. John Har­mon him­self is stagey, and his in-and-out busi­ness, his ap­pear­ances and dis­ap­pear­ances, his dis­cov­ery and recog­ni­tion by some, and his total eva­sion by oth­ers, make an undue strain upon creduli­ty. He is too much like the actor with loud "aside" speech­es which every one hears ex­cept those who are near­est to him; and the plot fails be­cause it is main­ly com­posed of make-be­lieve. Then the story is over-weight­ed with de­tached in­ci­dents and by groups of dis­con­nect­ed char­ac­ters. It de­gen­er­ates into med­ley. Yet Dick­ens un­doubt­ed­ly thought his plot sub­tle, in­ge­nious, and clever — which is one more proof that as a maker of plots he lacked craft.

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