Friday, 29 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Miserable Mill, Chapter 10

And so we’ve come to the last chapter for the week. This time next week we’ll be all done with The Miserable Mill and will be moving on to The Austere Academy the fifth book in the series. But we’re not there yet, so, moving swiftly on.

What Happens?

Violet decides to visit Sir to ask him for help. She and Sunny leave Klaus in the dormitory to sleep in his hypnotised state and head for Sir’s office. Sir is not at all helpful and warns the children that if they continue to cause trouble (and accidents) then he will pass them onto a local woman who wishes to adopt them. Of course that local woman is none other than Shirley, better known to the children as Count Olaf! Charles on the other hand offers a helping hand, though it’s just a token gesture and Violet soon realises that they will be on their own in this situation.

Thoughts as I read:

In this chapter we’re obviously going to be making a return visit back to Sir’s office because the chapter image is one of Sir sitting behind his desk, face wreathed in smoke. There’s a lot of paper stacked on his desk and he has a nameplate on it which says ‘The Boss’ so no further clue as to what his name is.

There are mixed reactions to the memo in the Baudelaire camp. Sunny bites her lip so hard that she draws blood, ouch. Meanwhile Klaus doesn’t really seem to hear it at all and instead just sits there looking vacant. Phil tries to get them to stay positive, this time by pointing out that it might be ‘a blessing in disguise’. Except it obviously isn’t because if the choice is between living in a lumbermill, doing a hard dangerous job, or living with Count Olaf, where you might be murdered or have your fortune stolen, then there’s not really any good in either option!

Finally Violet decides that she has to see Sir but she is concerned about what instructions Klaus might have been given when he was hypnotised. Considering what has happened to every other guardian placed in charge of them, and what happened to Phil the previous day, she decides that she can’t risk it. “Dinel” says Sunny and Violet responds that Klaus will have to stay with Phil.

Violet instructs Klaus to get some sleep and tells him that she hopes he’ll feel better the next day. Sunny’s “Wub” means “I hope so, too.” Klaus says goodbye to them and although he gets Violet’s name right, he calls Sunny Susan. Poor kids.

They leave Klaus to sleep and head off to see Sir who is found sitting at his desk. And that nameplate from earlier, also made of chewed up bits of gum just like the big sign outside. Lovely. Sir is not exactly pleased to see them as they do not have an appointment. The Baudelaires are also his least favourite people since as far as he’s concerned they caused the accident (I won’t repeat the whole issue of slave labour and asking children to do an adults job).

When Violet explains about what has really been going on Charles immediately grasps the seriousness of the situation, but Sir tells Violet that the solution is for them not to cause any more accidents or they’ll be thrown out of the mill to be taken in by Shirley. Sunny responds to this with “Palsh!” and Violet has to explain that Shirley and Count Olaf are one and the same. Sir does not believe this and failed to examine Shirley’s legs for an eye tattoo as this would be bad manners.

Besides, Shirley has a nameplate that says “Shirley” on it. Sunny once again repeats “Fiti!” meaning “That nameplate doesn’t prove anything, of course!” Yay, I like it when we get a Sunny word that has been used before.

Sir wants the girls out of his office because he’s obviously a bad guy, though a bad guy in the same sort of vein as Mr Poe, who doesn’t do anything to help or listen, rather than an Olafian bad guy who actually does bad things. But Violet thinks of something quickly and asks permission to call Mr Poe.

It’s a good idea but Sir says no. Charles does point out that he should be treating the children like family but Sir points out that he is treating them like family, after all, many of his own cousins are employed in the mill. Geez, would not want to be a member of that family!

So the children give up and leave the office, but outside Charles offers to help them. Violet asks how and suggests he calls Mr Poe or hide them from Shirley. Sunny asks “Ulo?” meaning “Will you have Dr. Orwell arrested?” and “Henipul?” meaning “Will you undo Klaus’s hypnotism?” But no, Charles cannot do any of those things. Instead he can bring them raisins for lunch. Which will be a great help!

And so it is left to Violet to try to figure out a way to get them out of this situation, all by herself, well, with Sunny’s help of course.

We’ll give her the weekend to think things over.

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