Thanks to Amanda at The Zen Leaf for hosting this readalong!
Serials Summary:WOW-a lot happens! First 4/6 chapters are told in third person, which I think is displeasing to many of the other participants because they like Esther's style much more. I'm enjoying the omniscient narrator a lot more now that he's toned down the descriptive passages more. We meet a few new characters but for the most part focus on those we already know. I'm still confused how everything connects but I'm starting to see some characters interact with characters they hadn't met before.
Ch 20: Mr Guppy meets up with his friends Mr Smallweed and Mr Jobling (what kind of names are those?!) Jobling lost quite a sum on a horse and is in need of a job so Mr Guppy suggests that he could be hired as a law writer replacing Nemo as well as take his old room. Mr Krook accepts the new tenant.
Ch 21: This chapter describes Bart Smallweed's family with his grandparents and a twin sister Judy. They are a stingy lot who underpay Charley (remember how she's supporting her younger brother and sister?). A man called Mr. George apparently owes Grandfather Smallweed money-that scene was very confusing and also features Grandfather throwing a pillow at crazy Grandmother in a scene that I think was supposed to be funny but most certainly was not.
Ch 22: Mr Tulkinghorn enjoys port while pondering the secrets he knows. Mr Snagsby is to help Inspector Bucket track down Jo in order to find out more about his story about the lady. More commentary revealing the disgusting hygienic conditions of the poor part of town where typhoid is rampant. Jo comes with the men and sees a lady in the same clothes as THE lady but who is not. The second lady is Hortense, Lady Dedlock's French maid.
Ch 23: Shift back to Esther's perspective-Esther senses a condition between herself and Lady Dedlock. The French maid shows up and begs to be Esther's maid; is rejected. Richard continues to be shifty and improvident (He's probably my least favorite character at the moment). Esther goes in to town to help Caddy and Prince tell their respective parental units. Mr Turveydrop deigns to allow them to marry provided they continue to support him. Mrs Jellyby is most disappointed but does not forbid it. When Esther returns, she finds out that Charley will be her maid now. (There's a disgusting amount of fawning over Esther in this chapter. I could swallow it if I thought it was deserved but I don't.)
Ch 24: So Richard will be joining the army and he and Ada are encouraged by Mr Jarndyce to break off their engagement. They agree but Richard holds a grudge against Mr Jarndyce for making such a sensible suggestion. Then Mr George pops up as the owner of a shooting gallery where Richard visits. On Richard's last day, he and Esther go to court where Esther has a run-in with Mrs Chadband. Then Mr George shows up to ask Miss Flite to accompany him to Mr Gridley's deathbed. Esther and Richard come along where Inspector Bucket is masquerading as a doctor in order to arrest Gridley but he dies.
Ch 25: Mr Snagsby is vexed by the events of Ch 22 as he has promised not to tell his wife anything. Mrs Snagsby is suspicious and eventually decides that Mr Snagsby is the father of Jo (!) Jo is brought in to the house and is preached at by Mr. Chadband, in a scene where I think Dickens is making fun of something but I'm not sure what.