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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBleak House - Chapter V - A Morning Adventure
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Bleak House - Chapter V - A Morning Adventure Post by :rankwarforum Category :Long Stories Author :Charles Dickens Date :December 2010 Read :1245

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Bleak House - Chapter V - A Morning Adventure

Although the morning was raw, and although the fog still seemed
heavy--I say seemed, for the windows were so encrusted with dirt
that they would have made midsummer sunshine dim--I was
sufficiently forewarned of the discomfort within doors at that
early hour and sufficiently curious about London to think it a good
idea on the part of Miss Jellyby when she proposed that we should
go out for a walk.

"Ma won't be down for ever so long," she said, "and then it's a
chance if breakfast's ready for an hour afterwards, they dawdle so.
As to Pa, he gets what he can and goes to the office. He never has
what you would call a regular breakfast. Priscilla leaves him out
the loaf and some milk, when there is any, overnight. Sometimes
there isn't any milk, and sometimes the cat drinks it. But I'm
afraid you must be tired, Miss Summerson, and perhaps you would
rather go to bed."

"I am not at all tired, my dear," said I, "and would much prefer to
go out."

"If you're sure you would," returned Miss Jellyby, "I'll get my
things on."

Ada said she would go too, and was soon astir. I made a proposal
to Peepy, in default of being able to do anything better for him,
that he should let me wash him and afterwards lay him down on my
bed again. To this he submitted with the best grace possible,
staring at me during the whole operation as if he never had been,
and never could again be, so astonished in his life--looking very
miserable also, certainly, but making no complaint, and going
snugly to sleep as soon as it was over. At first I was in two
minds about taking such a liberty, but I soon reflected that nobody
in the house was likely to notice it.

What with the bustle of dispatching Peepy and the bustle of getting
myself ready and helping Ada, I was soon quite in a glow. We found
Miss Jellyby trying to warm herself at the fire in the writing-
room, which Priscilla was then lighting with a smutty parlour
candlestick, throwing the candle in to make it burn better.
Everything was just as we had left it last night and was evidently
intended to remain so. Below-stairs the dinner-cloth had not been
taken away, but had been left ready for breakfast. Crumbs, dust,
and waste-paper were all over the house. Some pewter pots and a
milk-can hung on the area railings; the door stood open; and we met
the cook round the corner coming out of a public-house, wiping her
mouth. She mentioned, as she passed us, that she had been to see
what o'clock it was.

But before we met the cook, we met Richard, who was dancing up and
down Thavies Inn to warm his feet. He was agreeably surprised to
see us stirring so soon and said he would gladly share our walk.
So he took care of Ada, and Miss Jellyby and I went first. I may
mention that Miss Jellyby had relapsed into her sulky manner and
that I really should not have thought she liked me much unless she
had told me so.

"Where would you wish to go?" she asked.

"Anywhere, my dear," I replied.

"Anywhere's nowhere," said Miss Jellyby, stopping perversely.

"Let us go somewhere at any rate," said I.

She then walked me on very fast.

"I don't care!" she said. "Now, you are my witness, Miss
Summerson, I say I don't care-but if he was to come to our house
with his great, shining, lumpy forehead night after night till he
was as old as Methuselah, I wouldn't have anything to say to him.
Such ASSES as he and Ma make of themselves!"

"My dear!" I remonstrated, in allusion to the epithet and the
vigorous emphasis Miss Jellyby set upon it. "Your duty as a child--"

"Oh! Don't talk of duty as a child, Miss Summerson; where's Ma's
duty as a parent? All made over to the public and Africa, I
suppose! Then let the public and Africa show duty as a child; it's
much more their affair than mine. You are shocked, I dare say!
Very well, so am I shocked too; so we are both shocked, and there's
an end of it!"

She walked me on faster yet.

"But for all that, I say again, he may come, and come, and come,
and I won't have anything to say to him. I can't bear him. If
there's any stuff in the world that I hate and detest, it's the
stuff he and Ma talk. I wonder the very paving-stones opposite our
house can have the patience to stay there and be a witness of such
inconsistencies and contradictions as all that sounding nonsense,
and Ma's management!"

I could not but understand her to refer to Mr. Quale, the young
gentleman who had appeared after dinner yesterday. I was saved the
disagreeable necessity of pursuing the subject by Richard and Ada
coming up at a round pace, laughing and asking us if we meant to
run a race. Thus interrupted, Miss Jellyby became silent and
walked moodily on at my side while I admired the long successions
and varieties of streets, the quantity of people already going to
and fro, the number of vehicles passing and repassing, the busy
preparations in the setting forth of shop windows and the sweeping
out of shops, and the extraordinary creatures in rags secretly
groping among the swept-out rubbish for pins and other refuse.

"So, cousin," said the cheerful voice of Richard to Ada behind me.
"We are never to get out of Chancery! We have come by another way
to our place of meeting yesterday, and--by the Great Seal, here's
the old lady again!"

Truly, there she was, immediately in front of us, curtsying, and
smiling, and saying with her yesterday's air of patronage, "The
wards in Jarndyce! Ve-ry happy, I am sure!"

"You are out early, ma'am," said I as she curtsied to me.

"Ye-es! I usually walk here early. Before the court sits. It's
retired. I collect my thoughts here for the business of the day,"
said the old lady mincingly. "The business of the day requires a
great deal of thought. Chancery justice is so ve-ry difficult to
follow."

"Who's this, Miss Summerson?" whispered Miss Jellyby, drawing my
arm tighter through her own.

The little old lady's hearing was remarkably quick. She answered
for herself directly.

"A suitor, my child. At your service. I have the honour to attend
court regularly. With my documents. Have I the pleasure of
addressing another of the youthful parties in Jarndyce?" said the
old lady, recovering herself, with her head on one side, from a
very low curtsy.

Richard, anxious to atone for his thoughtlessness of yesterday,
good-naturedly explained that Miss Jellyby was not connected with
the suit.

"Ha!" said the old lady. "She does not expect a judgment? She
will still grow old. But not so old. Oh, dear, no! This is the
garden of Lincoln's Inn. I call it my garden. It is quite a bower
in the summer-time. Where the birds sing melodiously. I pass the
greater part of the long vacation here. In contemplation. You
find the long vacation exceedingly long, don't you?"

We said yes, as she seemed to expect us to say so.

"When the leaves are falling from the trees and there are no more
flowers in bloom to make up into nosegays for the Lord Chancellor's
court," said the old lady, "the vacation is fulfilled and the sixth
seal, mentioned in the Revelations, again prevails. Pray come and
see my lodging. It will be a good omen for me. Youth, and hope,
and beauty are very seldom there. It is a long, long time since I
had a visit from either."

She had taken my hand, and leading me and Miss Jellyby away,
beckoned Richard and Ada to come too. I did not know how to excuse
myself and looked to Richard for aid. As he was half amused and
half curious and all in doubt how to get rid of the old lady
without offence, she continued to lead us away, and he and Ada
continued to follow, our strange conductress informing us all the
time, with much smiling condescension, that she lived close by.

It was quite true, as it soon appeared. She lived so close by that
we had not time to have done humouring her for a few moments before
she was at home. Slipping us out at a little side gate, the old
lady stopped most unexpectedly in a narrow back street, part of
some courts and lanes immediately outside the wall of the inn, and
said, "This is my lodging. Pray walk up!"

She had stopped at a shop over which was written KROOK, RAG AND
BOTTLE WAREHOUSE. Also, in long thin letters, KROOK, DEALER IN
MARINE STORES. In one part of the window was a picture of a red
paper mill at which a cart was unloading a quantity of sacks of old
rags. In another was the inscription BONES BOUGHT. In another,
KITCHEN-STUFF BOUGHT. In another, OLD IRON BOUGHT. In another,
WASTE-PAPER BOUGHT. In another, LADIES' AND GENTLEMEN'S WARDROBES
BOUGHT. Everything seemed to be bought and nothing to be sold
there. In all parts of the window were quantities of dirty
bottles--blacking bottles, medicine bottles, ginger-beer and soda-
water bottles, pickle bottles, wine bottles, ink bottles; I am
reminded by mentioning the latter that the shop had in several
little particulars the air of being in a legal neighbourhood and of
being, as it were, a dirty hanger-on and disowned relation of the
law. There were a great many ink bottles. There was a little
tottering bench of shabby old volumes outside the door, labelled
"Law Books, all at 9d." Some of the inscriptions I have enumerated
were written in law-hand, like the papers I had seen in Kenge and
Carboy's office and the letters I had so long received from the
firm. Among them was one, in the same writing, having nothing to
do with the business of the shop, but announcing that a respectable
man aged forty-five wanted engrossing or copying to execute with
neatness and dispatch: Address to Nemo, care of Mr. Krook, within.
There were several second-hand bags, blue and red, hanging up. A
little way within the shop-door lay heaps of old crackled parchment
scrolls and discoloured and dog's-eared law-papers. I could have
fancied that all the rusty keys, of which there must have been
hundreds huddled together as old iron, had once belonged to doors
of rooms or strong chests in lawyers' offices. The litter of rags
tumbled partly into and partly out of a one-legged wooden scale,
hanging without any counterpoise from a beam, might have been
counsellors' bands and gowns torn up. One had only to fancy, as
Richard whispered to Ada and me while we all stood looking in, that
yonder bones in a corner, piled together and picked very clean,
were the bones of clients, to make the picture complete.

As it was still foggy and dark, and as the shop was blinded besides
by the wall of Lincoln's Inn, intercepting the light within a
couple of yards, we should not have seen so much but for a lighted
lantern that an old man in spectacles and a hairy cap was carrying
about in the shop. Turning towards the door, he now caught sight
of us. He was short, cadaverous, and withered, with his head sunk
sideways between his shoulders and the breath issuing in visible
smoke from his mouth as if he were on fire within. His throat,
chin, and eyebrows were so frosted with white hairs and so gnarled
with veins and puckered skin that he looked from his breast upward
like some old root in a fall of snow.

"Hi, hi!" said the old man, coming to the door. "Have you anything
to sell?"

We naturally drew back and glanced at our conductress, who had been
trying to open the house-door with a key she had taken from her
pocket, and to whom Richard now said that as we had had the
pleasure of seeing where she lived, we would leave her, being
pressed for time. But she was not to be so easily left. She
became so fantastically and pressingly earnest in her entreaties
that we would walk up and see her apartment for an instant, and was
so bent, in her harmless way, on leading me in, as part of the good
omen she desired, that I (whatever the others might do) saw nothing
for it but to comply. I suppose we were all more or less curious;
at any rate, when the old man added his persuasions to hers and
said, "Aye, aye! Please her! It won't take a minute! Come in,
come in! Come in through the shop if t'other door's out of order!"
we all went in, stimulated by Richard's laughing encouragement and
relying on his protection.

"My landlord, Krook," said the little old lady, condescending to
him from her lofty station as she presented him to us. "He is
called among the neighbours the Lord Chancellor. His shop is
called the Court of Chancery. He is a very eccentric person. He
is very odd. Oh, I assure you he is very odd!"

She shook her head a great many times and tapped her forehead with
her finger to express to us that we must have the goodness to
excuse him, "For he is a little--you know--M!" said the old lady
with great stateliness. The old man overheard, and laughed.

"It's true enough," he said, going before us with the lantern,
"that they call me the lord chancellor and call my shop Chancery.
And why do you think they call me the Lord Chancellor and my shop
Chancery?"

"I don't know, I am sure!" said Richard rather carelessly.

"You see," said the old man, stopping and turning round, "they--Hi!
Here's lovely hair! I have got three sacks of ladies' hair below,
but none so beautiful and fine as this. What colour, and what
texture!"

"That'll do, my good friend!" said Richard, strongly disapproving
of his having drawn one of Ada's tresses through his yellow hand.
"You can admire as the rest of us do without taking that liberty."

The old man darted at him a sudden look which even called my
attention from Ada, who, startled and blushing, was so remarkably
beautiful that she seemed to fix the wandering attention of the
little old lady herself. But as Ada interposed and laughingly said
she could only feel proud of such genuine admiration, Mr. Krook
shrunk into his former self as suddenly as he had leaped out of it.

"You see, I have so many things here," he resumed, holding up the
lantern, "of so many kinds, and all as the neighbours think (but
THEY know nothing), wasting away and going to rack and ruin, that
that's why they have given me and my place a christening. And I
have so many old parchmentses and papers in my stock. And I have a
liking for rust and must and cobwebs. And all's fish that comes to
my net. And I can't abear to part with anything I once lay hold of
(or so my neighbours think, but what do THEY know?) or to alter
anything, or to have any sweeping, nor scouring, nor cleaning, nor
repairing going on about me. That's the way I've got the ill name
of Chancery. I don't mind. I go to see my noble and learned
brother pretty well every day, when he sits in the Inn. He don't
notice me, but I notice him. There's no great odds betwixt us. We
both grub on in a muddle. Hi, Lady Jane!"

A large grey cat leaped from some neighbouring shelf on his
shoulder and startled us all.

"Hi! Show 'em how you scratch. Hi! Tear, my lady!" said her
master.

The cat leaped down and ripped at a bundle of rags with her
tigerish claws, with a sound that it set my teeth on edge to hear.

"She'd do as much for any one I was to set her on," said the old
man. "I deal in cat-skins among other general matters, and hers
was offered to me. It's a very fine skin, as you may see, but I
didn't have it stripped off! THAT warn't like Chancery practice
though, says you!"

He had by this time led us across the shop, and now opened a door
in the back part of it, leading to the house-entry. As he stood
with his hand upon the lock, the little old lady graciously
observed to him before passing out, "That will do, Krook. You mean
well, but are tiresome. My young friends are pressed for time. I
have none to spare myself, having to attend court very soon. My
young friends are the wards in Jarndyce."

"Jarndyce!" said the old man with a start.

"Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The great suit, Krook," returned his
lodger.

"Hi!" exclaimed the old man in a tone of thoughtful amazement and
with a wider stare than before. "Think of it!"

He seemed so rapt all in a moment and looked so curiously at us
that Richard said, "Why, you appear to trouble yourself a good deal
about the causes before your noble and learned brother, the other
Chancellor!"

"Yes," said the old man abstractedly. "Sure! YOUR name now will
be--"

"Richard Carstone."

"Carstone," he repeated, slowly checking off that name upon his
forefinger; and each of the others he went on to mention upon a
separate finger. "Yes. There was the name of Barbary, and the
name of Clare, and the name of Dedlock, too, I think."

"He knows as much of the cause as the real salaried Chancellor!"
said Richard, quite astonished, to Ada and me.

"Aye!" said the old man, coming slowly out of his abstraction.
"Yes! Tom Jarndyce--you'll excuse me, being related; but he was
never known about court by any other name, and was as well known
there as--she is now," nodding slightly at his lodger. "Tom
Jarndyce was often in here. He got into a restless habit of
strolling about when the cause was on, or expected, talking to the
little shopkeepers and telling 'em to keep out of Chancery,
whatever they did. 'For,' says he, 'it's being ground to bits in a
slow mill; it's being roasted at a slow fire; it's being stung to
death by single bees; it's being drowned by drops; it's going mad
by grains.' He was as near making away with himself, just where
the young lady stands, as near could be."

We listened with horror.

"He come in at the door," said the old man, slowly pointing an
imaginary track along the shop, "on the day he did it--the whole
neighbourhood had said for months before that he would do it, of a
certainty sooner or later--he come in at the door that day, and
walked along there, and sat himself on a bench that stood there,
and asked me (you'll judge I was a mortal sight younger then) to
fetch him a pint of wine. 'For,' says he, 'Krook, I am much
depressed; my cause is on again, and I think I'm nearer judgment
than I ever was.' I hadn't a mind to leave him alone; and I
persuaded him to go to the tavern over the way there, t'other side
my lane (I mean Chancery Lane); and I followed and looked in at the
window, and saw him, comfortable as I thought, in the arm-chair by
the fire, and company with him. I hadn't hardly got back here when
I heard a shot go echoing and rattling right away into the inn. I
ran out--neighbours ran out--twenty of us cried at once, 'Tom
Jarndyce!'"

The old man stopped, looked hard at us, looked down into the
lantern, blew the light out, and shut the lantern up.

"We were right, I needn't tell the present hearers. Hi! To be
sure, how the neighbourhood poured into court that afternoon while
the cause was on! How my noble and learned brother, and all the
rest of 'em, grubbed and muddled away as usual and tried to look as
if they hadn't heard a word of the last fact in the case or as if
they had--Oh, dear me!--nothing at all to do with it if they had
heard of it by any chance!"

Ada's colour had entirely left her, and Richard was scarcely less
pale. Nor could I wonder, judging even from my emotions, and I was
no party in the suit, that to hearts so untried and fresh it was a
shock to come into the inheritance of a protracted misery, attended
in the minds of many people with such dreadful recollections. I
had another uneasiness, in the application of the painful story to
the poor half-witted creature who had brought us there; but, to my
surprise, she seemed perfectly unconscious of that and only led the
way upstairs again, informing us with the toleration of a superior
creature for the infirmities of a common mortal that her landlord
was "a little M, you know!"

She lived at the top of the house, in a pretty large room, from
which she had a glimpse of Lincoln's Inn Hall. This seemed to have
been her principal inducement, originally, for taking up her
residence there. She could look at it, she said, in the night,
especially in the moonshine. Her room was clean, but very, very
bare. I noticed the scantiest necessaries in the way of furniture;
a few old prints from books, of Chancellors and barristers, wafered
against the wall; and some half-dozen reticles and work-bags,
"containing documents," as she informed us. There were neither
coals nor ashes in the grate, and I saw no articles of clothing
anywhere, nor any kind of food. Upon a shelf in an open cupboard
were a plate or two, a cup or two, and so forth, but all dry and
empty. There was a more affecting meaning in her pinched
appearance, I thought as I looked round, than I had understood
before.

"Extremely honoured, I am sure," said our poor hostess with the
greatest suavity, "by this visit from the wards in Jarndyce. And
very much indebted for the omen. It is a retired situation.
Considering. I am limited as to situation. In consequence of the
necessity of attending on the Chancellor. I have lived here many
years. I pass my days in court, my evenings and my nights here. I
find the nights long, for I sleep but little and think much. That
is, of course, unavoidable, being in Chancery. I am sorry I cannot
offer chocolate. I expect a judgment shortly and shall then place
my establishment on a superior footing. At present, I don't mind
confessing to the wards in Jarndyce (in strict confidence) that I
sometimes find it difficult to keep up a genteel appearance. I
have felt the cold here. I have felt something sharper than cold.
It matters very little. Pray excuse the introduction of such mean
topics."

She partly drew aside the curtain of the long, low garret window
and called our attention to a number of bird-cages hanging there,
some containing several birds. There were larks, linnets, and
goldfinches--I should think at least twenty.

"I began to keep the little creatures," she said, "with an object
that the wards will readily comprehend. With the intention of
restoring them to liberty. When my judgment should be given. Ye-
es! They die in prison, though. Their lives, poor silly things,
are so short in comparison with Chancery proceedings that, one by
one, the whole collection has died over and over again. I doubt,
do you know, whether one of these, though they are all young, will
live to be free! Ve-ry mortifying, is it not?"

Although she sometimes asked a question, she never seemed to expect
a reply, but rambled on as if she were in the habit of doing so
when no one but herself was present.

"Indeed," she pursued, "I positively doubt sometimes, I do assure
you, whether while matters are still unsettled, and the sixth or
Great Seal still prevails, I may not one day be found lying stark
and senseless here, as I have found so many birds!"

Richard, answering what he saw in Ada's compassionate eyes, took
the opportunity of laying some money, softly and unobserved, on the
chimney-piece. We all drew nearer to the cages, feigning to
examine the birds.

"I can't allow them to sing much," said the little old lady, "for
(you'll think this curious) I find my mind confused by the idea
that they are singing while I am following the arguments in court.
And my mind requires to be so very clear, you know! Another time,
I'll tell you their names. Not at present. On a day of such good
omen, they shall sing as much as they like. In honour of youth," a
smile and curtsy, "hope," a smile and curtsy, "and beauty," a smile
and curtsy. "There! We'll let in the full light."

The birds began to stir and chirp.

"I cannot admit the air freely," said the little old lady--the room
was close, and would have been the better for it--"because the cat
you saw downstairs, called Lady Jane, is greedy for their lives.
She crouches on the parapet outside for hours and hours. I have
discovered," whispering mysteriously, "that her natural cruelty is
sharpened by a jealous fear of their regaining their liberty. In
consequence of the judgment I expect being shortly given. She is
sly and full of malice. I half believe, sometimes, that she is no
cat, but the wolf of the old saying. It is so very difficult to
keep her from the door."

Some neighbouring bells, reminding the poor soul that it was half-
past nine, did more for us in the way of bringing our visit to an
end than we could easily have done for ourselves. She hurriedly
took up her little bag of documents, which she had laid upon the
table on coming in, and asked if we were also going into court. On
our answering no, and that we would on no account detain her, she
opened the door to attend us downstairs.

"With such an omen, it is even more necessary than usual that I
should be there before the Chancellor comes in," said she, "for he
might mention my case the first thing. I have a presentiment that
he WILL mention it the first thing this morning"

She stopped to tell us in a whisper as we were going down that the
whole house was filled with strange lumber which her landlord had
bought piecemeal and had no wish to sell, in consequence of being a
little M. This was on the first floor. But she had made a
previous stoppage on the second floor and had silently pointed at a
dark door there.

"The only other lodger," she now whispered in explanation, "a law-
writer. The children in the lanes here say he has sold himself to
the devil. I don't know what he can have done with the money.
Hush!"

She appeared to mistrust that the lodger might hear her even there,
and repeating "Hush!" went before us on tiptoe as though even the
sound of her footsteps might reveal to him what she had said.

Passing through the shop on our way out, as we had passed through
it on our way in, we found the old man storing a quantity of
packets of waste-paper in a kind of well in the floor. He seemed
to be working hard, with the perspiration standing on his forehead,
and had a piece of chalk by him, with which, as he put each
separate package or bundle down, he made a crooked mark on the
panelling of the wall.

Richard and Ada, and Miss Jellyby, and the little old lady had gone
by him, and I was going when he touched me on the arm to stay me,
and chalked the letter J upon the wall--in a very curious manner,
beginning with the end of the letter and shaping it backward. It
was a capital letter, not a printed one, but just such a letter as
any clerk in Messrs. Kenge and Carboy's office would have made.

"Can you read it?" he asked me with a keen glance.

"Surely," said I. "It's very plain."

"What is it?"

"J."

With another glance at me, and a glance at the door, he rubbed it
out and turned an "a" in its place (not a capital letter this
time), and said, "What's that?"

I told him. He then rubbed that out and turned the letter "r," and
asked me the same question. He went on quickly until he had formed
in the same curious manner, beginning at the ends and bottoms of
the letters, the word Jarndyce, without once leaving two letters on
the wall together.

"What does that spell?" he asked me.

When I told him, he laughed. In the same odd way, yet with the
same rapidity, he then produced singly, and rubbed out singly, the
letters forming the words Bleak House. These, in some
astonishment, I also read; and he laughed again.

"Hi!" said the old man, laying aside the chalk. "I have a turn for
copying from memory, you see, miss, though I can neither read nor
write."

He looked so disagreeable and his cat looked so wickedly at me, as
if I were a blood-relation of the birds upstairs, that I was quite
relieved by Richard's appearing at the door and saying, "Miss
Summerson, I hope you are not bargaining for the sale of your hair.
Don't be tempted. Three sacks below are quite enough for Mr. Krook!"

I lost no time in wishing Mr. Krook good morning and joining my
friends outside, where we parted with the little old lady, who gave
us her blessing with great ceremony and renewed her assurance of
yesterday in reference to her intention of settling estates on Ada
and me. Before we finally turned out of those lanes, we looked
back and saw Mr. Krook standing at his shop-door, in his
spectacles, looking after us, with his cat upon his shoulder, and
her tail sticking up on one side of his hairy cap like a tall
feather.

"Quite an adventure for a morning in London!" said Richard with a
sigh. "Ah, cousin, cousin, it's a weary word this Chancery!"

"It is to me, and has been ever since I can remember," returned
Ada. "I am grieved that I should be the enemy---as I suppose I am
--of a great number of relations and others, and that they should be
my enemies--as I suppose they are--and that we should all be
ruining one another without knowing how or why and be in constant
doubt and discord all our lives. It seems very strange, as there
must be right somewhere, that an honest judge in real earnest has
not been able to find out through all these years where it is."

"Ah, cousin!" said Richard. "Strange, indeed! All this wasteful,
wanton chess-playing IS very strange. To see that composed court
yesterday jogging on so serenely and to think of the wretchedness
of the pieces on the board gave me the headache and the heartache
both together. My head ached with wondering how it happened, if
men were neither fools nor rascals; and my heart ached to think
they could possibly be either. But at all events, Ada--I may call
you Ada?"

"Of course you may, cousin Richard."

"At all events, Chancery will work none of its bad influences on
US. We have happily been brought together, thanks to our good
kinsman, and it can't divide us now!"

"Never, I hope, cousin Richard!" said Ada gently.

Miss Jellyby gave my arm a squeeze and me a very significant look.
I smiled in return, and we made the rest of the way back very
pleasantly.

In half an hour after our arrival, Mrs. Jellyby appeared; and in
the course of an hour the various things necessary for breakfast
straggled one by one into the dining-room. I do not doubt that
Mrs. Jellyby had gone to bed and got up in the usual manner, but
she presented no appearance of having changed her dress. She was
greatly occupied during breakfast, for the morning's post brought a
heavy correspondence relative to Borrioboola-Gha, which would
occasion her (she said) to pass a busy day. The children tumbled
about, and notched memoranda of their accidents in their legs,
which were perfect little calendars of distress; and Peepy was lost
for an hour and a half, and brought home from Newgate market by a
policeman. The equable manner in which Mrs. Jellyby sustained both
his absence and his restoration to the family circle surprised us
all.

She was by that time perseveringly dictating to Caddy, and Caddy
was fast relapsing into the inky condition in which we had found
her. At one o'clock an open carriage arrived for us, and a cart
for our luggage. Mrs. Jellyby charged us with many remembrances to
her good friend Mr. Jarndyce; Caddy left her desk to see us depart,
kissed me in the passage, and stood biting her pen and sobbing on
the steps; Peepy, I am happy to say, was asleep and spared the pain
of separation (I was not without misgivings that he had gone to
Newgate market in search of me); and all the other children got up
behind the barouche and fell off, and we saw them, with great
concern, scattered over the surface of Thavies Inn as we rolled out
of its precincts.

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We were to pass the night, Mr. Kenge told us when we arrived in his room, at Mrs. Jellyby's; and then he turned to me and said he took it for granted I knew who Mrs. Jellyby was."I really don't, sir," I returned. "Perhaps Mr. Carstone--or Miss Clare--"But no, they knew nothing whatever about Mrs. Jellyby. "In-deed! Mrs. Jellyby," said Mr. Kenge, standing with his back to the fire and casting his eyes over the dusty hearth-rug as if it were Mrs. Jellyby's biography, "is a lady of very remarkable strength of character who devotes herself entirely to
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