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18. Lady Dedlock
It was not so easy as it had appeared at first to arrange for Richard's making a trial of
Mr. Kenge's office. Richard himself was the chief impediment. As soon as he had it in
his power to leave Mr. Badger at any moment, he began to doubt whether he wanted to
leave him at all. He didn't know, he said, really. It wasn't a bad profession; he couldn't
assert that he disliked it; perhaps he liked it as well as he liked any other--suppose he
gave it one more chance! Upon that, he shut himself up for a few weeks with some
books and some bones and seemed to acquire a considerable fund of information with
great rapidity. His fervour, after lasting about a month, began to cool, and when it was
quite cooled, began to grow warm again. His vacillations between law and medicine
lasted so long that midsummer arrived before he finally separated from Mr. Badger and
entered on an experimental course of Messrs. Kenge and Carboy. For all his
waywardness, he took great credit to himself as being determined to be in earnest "this
time." And he was so good-natured throughout, and in such high spirits, and so fond of
Ada, that it was very difficult indeed to be otherwise than pleased with him.
"As to Mr. Jarndyce," who, I may mention, found the wind much given, during this
period, to stick in the east; "As to Mr. Jarndyce," Richard would say to me, "he is the
finest fellow in the world, Esther! I must be particularly careful, if it were only for his
satisfaction, to take myself well to task and have a regular wind-up of this business
The idea of his taking himself well to task, with that laughing face and heedless manner
and with a fancy that everything could catch and nothing could hold, was ludicrously
anomalous. However, he told us between-whiles that he was doing it to such an extent
that he wondered his hair didn't turn grey. His regular wind-up of the business was (as I
have said) that he went to Mr. Kenge's about midsummer to try how he liked it.
All this time he was, in money affairs, what I have described him in a former illustration--
generous, profuse, wildly careless, but fully persuaded that he was rather calculating
and prudent. I happened to say to Ada, in his presence, half jestingly, half seriously,
about the time of his going to Mr. Kenge's, that he needed to have Fortunatus' purse, he
made so light of money, which he answered in this way, "My jewel of a dear cousin, you
hear this old woman! Why does she say that? Because I gave eight pounds odd (or
whatever it was) for a certain neat waistcoat and buttons a few days ago. Now, if I had
stayed at Badger's I should have been obliged to spend twelve pounds at a blow for
some heart-breaking lecture-fees. So I make four pounds--in a lump--by the
It was a question much discussed between him and my guardian what arrangements
should be made for his living in London while he experimented on the law, for we had
long since gone back to Bleak House, and it was too far off to admit of his coming there
oftener than once a week. My guardian told me that if Richard were to settle down at