the emptiness within

by Andrea Elizabeth

Mr. Tulkinghorn, private confidence man, peacefully steeped in the secrets that ruin.

He does not lament empty chairs at tables or empty houses. He profits from them.

But what if the houses were always beyond the occupant’s means?

What if too many out-of-reach houses were built?

Once something is built, we are loathe to tear it down. It means we are fallible. It bespeaks that there isn’t enough love. We do not want to step backwards. You can never go back. At least not to something smaller. If a plot of land hosts a grand house and no one buys it, it seems depressing to waste the materials and make a smaller one. We believe there will be a person with enough means to eventually occupy it. To redeem the mistakes of another. This isn’t what Dickens was talking about. He lamented debtor’s prisons. Now we have credit and bankruptcy to bail us out. They give an appearance of freedom, but the shackles are still there. Creditors have gotten nicer, collection agencies are less threatening. But no matter what, debt causes stress. One can deny it, but it still damages relationships. Relationships built on lies and denial may not be worthless, but I have trouble with them.

Read Dickens to hear complaints about the ones who lord it over others and profit from their weakness. At the same time, at least he doesn’t make debtors out to be saints. There’s a problem with them too.