"They have visitors in the high summer weather, when a grey cloak and umbrella, unknown to Chesney Wold at other periods, are seen among the leaves" - Bleak house, Dickens.

what he actually meant by "a grey cloak and umbrella are seen among the leaves"? How can you see an umbrella and cloak(one type of garment/dress whatever) among the leaves?? PS- I know the meanings of all words here.


3 Answers 3


During the high summer weather since it is very hot people use umbrella to protect their body and they usually stand beneath a tree wearing some grey cloak. Therefore it looks as if they were among the leaves. The sentence is a bit figurative

  • I believe both the cloak and umbrella are rain gear (the cloak is like a raincoat)- not used for hot weather. I don’t know what “high summer weather” means but I do know that England is generally known for its rainy weather.
    – Mixolydian
    Mar 19, 2019 at 22:25

It sounds like the grey cloak and umbrella belong to a particular visitor who only comes in the summer (not other periods in the year).

This grey cloak and umbrella are so distinctive that when you look through the trees with their summer leaves and you see that cloak and umbrella (while they are in use), then you know for sure that their owner is visiting.

It's a wordy way of saying that the person visits in the summer. I have heard that Charles Dickens was paid by his publisher based on word-count.

  • Lorel c @ you are a smart person. I am amazed by your competence in English.
    – user91565
    Mar 19, 2019 at 18:08
  • Lorel C - " I have heard that Charles Dickens was paid by his publisher based on word-count.". That is a myth. He did publish his novels by instalment, and was paid the same for each one. In any case, many people would say that each one of his words was fully worth its price. Mar 19, 2019 at 18:32

The "grey cloak and umbrella" is indeed signifying a particular person - refer back to the discussion between Mr Bagnet and Mr George in chapter 27. Dickens' dialogue is rather archaic and perhaps when written, was intended to be humorously bucolic in tone - it is not that easy to follow.

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