Rounding on the conclusion of Dickens’ Bleak House, and Mr. Bucket, that early literary instance of the deducing detective, puts the finger on the French maid Hortense as the killer of Mr. Tulkinghorn. She had hoped to shift the blame to Lady Dedlock, whom she despises, but Mr. Bucket is not deceived. After revealing all in a tense confabulation with Sir Leicester Dedlock, he handcuffs Hortense, and moves to get her out of the house, quiet like.
“Mr. Bucket gets her out, but he accomplishes that feat in a manner so peculiar to himself, enfolding and pervading her like a cloud, and hovering away with her as if he were a homely Jupiter and she the object of his affections.”
Right to left, above: Correggio’s version; Visconti’s take on it in L’Innocente, and a humorous drawing of the dome of the Cathedral of Parma, painted by Correggio, that I found at a the webpage of an art dealer, accompanied by this text noting Dickens’ opinion of the work:
Indeed, many descriptions of the dome note the wry comments provoked by the imagery of the Assumption over the years, with one of Correggio’s contemporaries comparing it to a “hash of frogs’ legs” and Charles Dickens asserting that the jumble of figures was something “no operative surgeon gone mad could imagine in his wildest delirium.” In this spirit, the artist is apparently demonstrating his sense of humor by introducing into this study a real schoolboy bursting into the dome through one of the round windows, looking up and marveling at the writhing sea of bare legs that Correggio included in the fresco.