Mr Woodcourt rather sternly rejoined that he was glad to hear it.
I wish, sir, said Mr Vholes, to leave a good name behind me. Therefore I take every opportunity of openly stating to a friend of Mr C, how Mr C is situated. As to myself, sir, the labourer is worthy of his hire. If I undertake to put my shoulder to the wheel, I do it, and I earn what I get. I am here for that purpose. My name is painted on the door outside, with that object.
And Mr Carstones address, Mr Vholes?
Sir, returned Mr Vholes, as I believe I have already mentioned, it is next door. On the second story you will find Mr Cs apartments. Mr C desires to be near his professional adviser; and I am far from objecting, for I court inquiry.
Upon this, Mr Woodcourt wished Mr Vholes good day, and went in search of Richard, the change in whose appearance he began to understand now but too well.
He found him in a dull room, fadedly furnished; much as I had found him in his barrack-room but a little while before, except that he was not writing, but was sitting with a book before him, from which his eyes and thoughts were far astray. As the door chanced to be standing open, Mr Woodcourt was in his presence for some moments without being perceived; and he told me that he never could forget the haggardness of his face, and the dejection of his manner, before he was aroused from his dream.
Woodcourt, my dear fellow, cried Richard, starting up with extended hands, you come upon my vision like a ghost.
A friendly one, he replied, and only waiting, as they say ghosts do, to be addressed. How does the mortal world go? They were seated now, near together.
Badly enough, and slowly enough, said Richard; speaking at least for my part of it.
What part is that?
The Chancery part.
I never heard, returned Mr Woodcourt, shaking his head, of its going well yet.
Nor I, said Richard, moodily. Who ever did?
He brightened again in a moment, and said with his natural openness:
Woodcourt, I should be sorry to be misunderstood by you, even if I gained by it in your estimation. You must know that I have done no good this long time. I have not intended to do much harm, but I seem to have been capable of nothing else. It may be that I should have done better by keeping out of the net into which my destiny has worked me; but I think not, though I dare say you will soon hear, if you have not already heard, a very different opinion. To make short of a long story, I am afraid I have wanted an object; but I have an object now or it has me and it is too late to discuss it. Take me as I am, and make the best of me.
A bargain, said Mr Woodcourt. Do as much by me in return.
Oh! You, returned Richard, you can pursue your art for its own sake; and can put your hand upon the plough, and never turn; and can strike a purpose out of anything. You, and I, are very different creatures.
He spoke regretfully, and lapsed for a moment into his weary condition.
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