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Surely,” said I. It’s very plain

by JOHN TUROLDO 3 months ago in art
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Surely,” said I. It’s very plain

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.”

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.

He looked so disagreeable and his cat looked so wickedly at me, as if I

art

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JOHN TUROLDO

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