A lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper—a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable.

Background.

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itemA lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper—a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable.” is a quotation from Barnaby Rudge (Chapter 7).

item Barnaby Rudge was the fifth novel from Charles Dickens, first published in 1841. It is the first of Dickens’s two historical novels and is largely set around the time of the Gordon Riots of 1780.

 

Context.

item This quotation is a description of the character Martha Varden. Mrs. Varden is the manipulative wife of Gabriel Varden, the locksmith.

item Taken from the following passage in Chapter 7 of Barnaby Rudge:

Mrs Varden was a lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper—a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable. Thus it generally happened, that when other people were merry, Mrs Varden was dull; and that when other people were dull, Mrs Varden was disposed to be amazingly cheerful. Indeed the worthy housewife was of such a capricious nature, that she not only attained a higher pitch of genius than Macbeth, in respect of her ability to be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral in an instant, but would sometimes ring the changes backwards and forwards on all possible moods and flights in one short quarter of an hour; performing, as it were, a kind of triple bob major on the peal of instruments in the female belfry, with a skilfulness and rapidity of execution that astonished all who heard her..

 

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