Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The great Grasp

'You are to reflect, Mr. Woodcourt,' observed Mr. Kenge, using his silver trowel, persuasively and smoothingly, 'that this has been a great cause, that this has been a protracted cause, that this has been a complex cause. Jarndyce and Jarndyce has been termed, not inaptly, a Monument of Chancery practice.'

'And Patience has sat upon it a long time,' said Allan.

'Very well indeed, sir,' returned Mr. Kenge, with a certain condescending laugh he had. 'Very well! You are further to reflect, Mr. Woodcourt,' becoming dignified almost to severity, 'that on the numerous difficuties, contingencies, masterly fictions, and forms of procedure in this great cause, there has been expended study, ability, eloquence, knowledge, intellect, Mr. Woodcourt, high intellect. For many years, the--a--I would say the flower of the Bar, and the--a--I would presume to add, the matured autumnal fruits of the Woolsack--have been lavished upon Jarndyce and Jarndyce. If the public have the benefit, and if the country have the adornment of this great Grasp, it must be paid for in money or money's worth, sir.'

'Mr. Kenge,' said Allan, appearing enlightened all in a moment. 'Excuse me, our time presses. Do I understand that the whole estate is found to have been absorbed in costs?'

'Hem! I believe so,' returned Mr. Kenge. 'Mr. Vholes, what do you say?'

'I believe so,' said Mr. Vholes.

'And that the suit lapses and melts away?'

'Probably,' returned Mr. Kenge. 'Mr. Vholes?'

'Probably,' said Mr. Vholes.

Charles Dickens, Bleak House, chapter lxv