Well, that went on more or less forever. (66 pages, in fact.) There was a long introduction, a dedication, several prefaces, a table of contents, a list of characters, etc. But I persevered and now I am into the actual novel! The introduction was very interesting, but I felt that parts of it would have been more useful to read after I'd read the book, as many of the references to characters and plot points were going totally over my head. This seems like a common thing; perhaps with classics it is assumed that readers have either read the book before or know a lot about it, and so can understand these introductions? And yes, I know that I could skip it and read it afterward (or skip it entirely) but I'm afraid the ability to do that just isn't in my make-up. It would bother me too much, knowing I'd skipped something, and I'd be distracted for the rest of the book.
After all that, I was only able to read the first chapter of the novel today, but it was pretty hilarious already, so that's a good sign. But boy, are the sentences complicated. That's one of the things I like best about Victorian writing, actually: it makes me slow down and really concentrate, and I think it's a good exercise. I feel like it uses a different part of my brain, or something.