Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 13

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"You may rely upon it," said Richard in his off-hand manner, "that I shall go at it and do my best."

"Very well, Mr. Jarndyce!" said Mr. Kenge, gently nodding his head.  "Really, when we are assured by Mr. Richard that he means to go at it and to do his best," nodding feelingly and smoothly over those expressions, "I would submit to you that we have only to inquire into the best mode of carrying out the object of his ambition.  Now, with reference to placing Mr. Richard with some sufficiently eminent practitioner.  Is there any one in view at present?"

"No one, Rick, I think?" said my guardian.

"No one, sir," said Richard.

"Quite so!" observed Mr. Kenge.  "As to situation, now.  Is there any particular feeling on that head?"

"N—no," said Richard.

"Quite so!" observed Mr. Kenge again.

"I should like a little variety," said Richard; "I mean a good range of experience."

"Very requisite, no doubt," returned Mr. Kenge.  "I think this may be easily arranged, Mr. Jarndyce?  We have only, in the first place, to discover a sufficiently eligible practitioner; and as soon as we make our want—and shall I add, our ability to pay a premium?—known, our only difficulty will be in the selection of one from a large number.  We have only, in the second place, to observe those little formalities which are rendered necessary by our time of life and our being under the guardianship of the court.  We shall soon be—shall I say, in Mr. Richard's own light-hearted manner, 'going at it'—to our heart's content.  It is a coincidence," said Mr. Kenge with a tinge of melancholy in his smile, "one of those coincidences which may or may not require an explanation beyond our present limited faculties, that I have a cousin in the medical profession.  He might be deemed eligible by you and might be disposed to respond to this proposal.  I can answer for him as little as for you, but he MIGHT!"

As this was an opening in the prospect, it was arranged that Mr. Kenge should see his cousin.  And as Mr. Jarndyce had before proposed to take us to London for a few weeks, it was settled next day that we should make our visit at once and combine Richard's business with it.

Mr. Boythorn leaving us within a week, we took up our abode at a cheerful lodging near Oxford Street over an upholsterer's shop.  London was a great wonder to us, and we were out for hours and hours at a time, seeing the sights, which appeared to be less capable of exhaustion than we were.  We made the round of the principal theatres, too, with great delight, and saw all the plays that were worth seeing.  I mention this because it was at the theatre that I began to be made uncomfortable again by Mr. Guppy.

I was sitting in front of the box one night with Ada, and Richard was in the place he liked best, behind Ada's chair, when, happening to look down into the pit, I saw Mr. Guppy, with his hair flattened down upon his head and woe depicted in his face, looking up at me.  I felt all through the performance that he never looked at the actors but constantly looked at me, and always with a carefully prepared expression of the deepest misery and the profoundest dejection.

It quite spoiled my pleasure for that night because it was so very embarrassing and so very ridiculous.  But from that time forth, we never went to the play without my seeing Mr. Guppy in the pit, always with his hair straight and flat, his shirt-collar turned down, and a general feebleness about him.  If he were not there when we went in, and I began to hope he would not come and yielded myself for a little while to the interest of the scene, I was certain to encounter his languishing eyes when I least expected it and, from that time, to be quite sure that they were fixed upon me all the evening.