Simon Armitage

My favourite passage from Dickens… | 7 February 2012

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There is one scene that I remember reading, and it often crops up in my mind despite never having gone back to it. There is a character in Bleak House called Mr Vholes. And there is a description of him removing his gloves as if they were a layer of skin. It’s such a brilliant image of meanness, so suggestive of negative traits. Sinister, too. It has always stuck with me.

Mr. Vholes and Richard Carstone return to the former's Chambers

Mr. Vholes, quiet and unmoved, as a man of so much respectability ought to be, takes off his close black gloves as if he were skinning his hands, lifts off his tight hat as if he were scalping himself, and sits down at his desk. The client throws his hat and gloves upon the ground - tosses them anywhere, without looking after them or caring where they go; flings himself into a chair, half sighing and half groaning; rests his aching head upon his hand, and looks the portrait of Young Despair.