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Ida's Amazing Surprise Post by :pnyhw Category :Essays Author :Robert Cortes Holliday Date :November 2011 Read :3577

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Ida's Amazing Surprise

IN "Bleak House," I think it is, that Poor Joe keeps "movin' along." One of the atoms of London, he passes his whole life in the midst of thousands upon thousands of signs. Printed letters, painted letters, carved letters, words, words, words, blaze upon him all about. Yet not a syllable of them all speaks to him; seen but all unheard by him they clothe his path. Poor Joe cannot read. How must he regard these strange, unmeaning signs? What is it goes on in this head which so little can enter? What has filtered in where the great main avenue of approach remains, as far from the first, black and unopened? What does this mind, sitting there far off in the dark, looking out, comprehend of the pageant? And how does it strike him? Some such a mysterious mind looks out from Ida's eyes.

Ida is "colored." It is my belief that though she is grown and well formed a little child dwells in her head. I know that when I ask her to bring me another cup of coffee and she pauses, slightly bends forward, her lips a trifle parted, and fastens her clear, utterly innocent, curious eyes upon me, waiting to hear repeated what she has already heard, she sees me as a sort of toy balloon on a string, whose incomprehensible movements excite a pleasurable wonder. As regularly as the dinner hour comes around Ida asks, with that same amazingly unsophisticated, interested look, if each of us will have soup. If it were our custom occasionally not to take soup, if we had declined soup a couple of times even, a good while ago, if even we had declined soup once--but, as Mr. MacKeene says, what could have put it into her head that we might not take soup? It is the same with dessert, with cereal at breakfast. I hardly know why it is not the same with having our beds made.

It is easy to give Ida pleasure. She has not been satiated, perhaps, with pleasure. A very little quite overjoys her. I turn about in my chair to reach a book, and discover Ida silently dusting the furniture. "Why! I didn't know you were in here," I say to Ida. Ida breaks into great light at this highly entertaining situation. "Didin you know I was in here! Didin you!" Her eyebrows go up with delight. Her pose might be the original of Miss Rogson's "Merely Mary Ann."


(The end)
Robert Cortes Holliday's essay: Ida's Amazing Surprise

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