Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 24

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"Accept my blessing, Gridley," said Miss Flite in tears.  "Accept my blessing!"

"I thought, boastfully, that they never could break my heart, Mr. Jarndyce.  I was resolved that they should not.  I did believe that I could, and would, charge them with being the mockery they were until I died of some bodily disorder.  But I am worn out.  How long I have been wearing out, I don't know; I seemed to break down in an hour.  I hope they may never come to hear of it.  I hope everybody here will lead them to believe that I died defying them, consistently and perseveringly, as I did through so many years."

Here Mr. Bucket, who was sitting in a corner by the door, good-naturedly offered such consolation as he could administer.

"Come, come!" he said from his corner.  "Don't go on in that way, Mr. Gridley.  You are only a little low.  We are all of us a little low sometimes.  I am.  Hold up, hold up!  You'll lose your temper with the whole round of 'em, again and again; and I shall take you on a score of warrants yet, if I have luck."

He only shook his head.

"Don't shake your head," said Mr. Bucket.  "Nod it; that's what I want to see you do.  Why, Lord bless your soul, what times we have had together!  Haven't I seen you in the Fleet over and over again for contempt?  Haven't I come into court, twenty afternoons for no other purpose than to see you pin the Chancellor like a bull-dog?  Don't you remember when you first began to threaten the lawyers, and the peace was sworn against you two or three times a week?  Ask the little old lady there; she has been always present.  Hold up, Mr. Gridley, hold up, sir!"

"What are you going to do about him?" asked George in a low voice.

"I don't know yet," said Bucket in the same tone.  Then resuming his encouragement, he pursued aloud: "Worn out, Mr. Gridley?  After dodging me for all these weeks and forcing me to climb the roof here like a tom cat and to come to see you as a doctor?  That ain't like being worn out.  I should think not!  Now I tell you what you want.  You want excitement, you know, to keep YOU up; that's what YOU want.  You're used to it, and you can't do without it.  I couldn't myself.  Very well, then; here's this warrant got by Mr. Tulkinghorn of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and backed into half-a-dozen counties since.  What do you say to coming along with me, upon this warrant, and having a good angry argument before the magistrates?  It'll do you good; it'll freshen you up and get you into training for another turn at the Chancellor.  Give in?  Why, I am surprised to hear a man of your energy talk of giving in.  You mustn't do that.  You're half the fun of the fair in the Court of Chancery.  George, you lend Mr. Gridley a hand, and let's see now whether he won't be better up than down."

"He is very weak," said the trooper in a low voice.

"Is he?" returned Bucket anxiously.  "I only want to rouse him.  I don't like to see an old acquaintance giving in like this.  It would cheer him up more than anything if I could make him a little waxy with me.  He's welcome to drop into me, right and left, if he likes.  I shall never take advantage of it."

The roof rang with a scream from Miss Flite, which still rings in my ears.

"Oh, no, Gridley!" she cried as he fell heavily and calmly back from before her.  "Not without my blessing.  After so many years!"

The sun was down, the light had gradually stolen from the roof, and the shadow had crept upward.  But to me the shadow of that pair, one living and one dead, fell heavier on Richard's departure than the darkness of the darkest night.  And through Richard's farewell words I heard it echoed: "Of all my old associations, of all my old pursuits and hopes, of all the living and the dead world, this one poor soul alone comes natural to me, and I am fit for.  There is a tie of many suffering years between us two, and it is the only tie I ever had on earth that Chancery has not broken!"