I finished reading Little Dorrit last night, it was another off the large pile on my nightstand. The BBC adaptation that was on Masterpiece Theater this spring inspired me to read the book. Oh how I wish now that I had taped that series because they did such a wonderful job with it!
Dickens always amazes me with his writing. His settings, characters, and plots are amazing. Little Dorrit especially, was filled with intriguing characters--even 3/4 of the way through, new, and different people were being introduced. Someone, someday, should make a compilation of all his character sketches, it would make a very amusing read.
I especially like the description of Mr. F's Aunt, here are a few paragraphs that should entertain you.
"There was a fourth and most original figure, who also appeared before dinner. This was an amazing little old woman, with a a face like a staring wooden doll too cheap for expression, and a stiff yellow wig perched unevenly on the top of her head, as if the child who owned the doll had driven a tack through it anywhere, so that it only got fastened on. Another remarkable thing in this little old woman was, that the same child seemed to have damaged her face in two or three places with some blunt instrument in the nature of a spoon; her countenance, and particularly the tip of her nose, presenting the phenomena of several dints, generally answering to the bowl of that article. A further remarkable thing in this little old woman was, that she had no name but Mr. F's Aunt."
"The major characteristics discoverable by the stranger in Mr. F's Aunt, were extreme severity and grim taciturnity; sometimes interrupted by a propensity to offer remarks, in a deep warning voice, which, being totally uncalled for by anything said by anybody, and traceable to no association of ideas, confounded and terrified the mind."
"The Conversation still turned on the receipt of rents. Mr. F's Aunt, after regarding the company for ten minutes with a malevolent gaze, delivered the following fearful remark. 'When we lived at Henley, Barnes's gander was stole by tinkers.'"
Throughout the story Mr F's Aunt does not have a major part and could have just as easily been left out, but for some reason Dickens chose to give her a personality-no name-but character, and a very banged up face. I'm glad he did though, as it had me laughing for chapters afterward.