Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 14

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Deportment

Richard left us on the very next evening to begin his new career, and committed Ada to my charge with great love for her and great trust in me.  It touched me then to reflect, and it touches me now, more nearly, to remember (having what I have to tell) how they both thought of me, even at that engrossing time.  I was a part of all their plans, for the present and the future.  I was to write Richard once a week, making my faithful report of Ada, who was to write to him every alternate day.  I was to be informed, under his own hand, of all his labours and successes; I was to observe how resolute and persevering he would be; I was to be Ada's bridesmaid when they were married; I was to live with them afterwards; I was to keep all the keys of their house; I was to be made happy for ever and a day.

"And if the suit SHOULD make us rich, Esther—which it may, you know!" said Richard to crown all.

A shade crossed Ada's face.

"My dearest Ada," asked Richard, "why not?"

"It had better declare us poor at once," said Ada.

"Oh!  I don't know about that," returned Richard, "but at all events, it won't declare anything at once.  It hasn't declared anything in heaven knows how many years."

"Too true," said Ada.

"Yes, but," urged Richard, answering what her look suggested rather than her words, "the longer it goes on, dear cousin, the nearer it must be to a settlement one way or other.  Now, is not that reasonable?"

"You know best, Richard.  But I am afraid if we trust to it, it will make us unhappy."

"But, my Ada, we are not going to trust to it!" cried Richard gaily.  "We know it better than to trust to it.  We only say that if it SHOULD make us rich, we have no constitutional objection to being rich.  The court is, by solemn settlement of law, our grim old guardian, and we are to suppose that what it gives us (when it gives us anything) is our right.  It is not necessary to quarrel with our right."

"No," Said Ada, "but it may be better to forget all about it."

"Well, well," cried Richard, "then we will forget all about it!  We consign the whole thing to oblivion.  Dame Durden puts on her approving face, and it's done!"

"Dame Durden's approving face," said I, looking out of the box in which I was packing his books, "was not very visible when you called it by that name; but it does approve, and she thinks you can't do better."

So, Richard said there was an end of it, and immediately began, on no other foundation, to build as many castles in the air as would man the Great Wall of China.  He went away in high spirits.  Ada and I, prepared to miss him very much, commenced our quieter career.

On our arrival in London, we had called with Mr. Jarndyce at Mrs. Jellyby's but had not been so fortunate as to find her at home.  It appeared that she had gone somewhere to a tea-drinking and had taken Miss Jellyby with her.  Besides the tea-drinking, there was to be some considerable speech-making and letter-writing on the general merits of the cultivation of coffee, conjointly with natives, at the Settlement of Borrioboola-Gha.  All this involved, no doubt, sufficient active exercise of pen and ink to make her daughter's part in the proceedings anything but a holiday.