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Summary Chapter 14


Before Richard Carstone departs to begin his new career, he makes a remark that distresses Ada; namely, the idea that the Chancery suit will be decided in his and Ada’s favor, making their life, when they eventually get married, an easy one in terms of material comforts. Esther shares Ada’s disapproval, compelling Richard to dismiss the idea that the Chancery suit could ever yield a benefit--it will never.

When Mr. Jarndyce and his wards first arrived in London, one of the first things they did was to pay Mrs. Jellyby a visit. Alas, it was in vain, for at the time, Mrs. Jellyby, attended by Caddy, had gone to a tea-drinking. So upon Richard’s departure, Mr. Jarndyce, Ada, and Esther again pay Mrs. Jellyby a visit. But again it is to no avail: Mrs. Jellyby, attended by Caddy, has gone out on a business related to her African project.

However, the next day Caddy pays Mr. Jarndyce and his wards a visit at their London lodgings. She has brought Peepy, the big headed baby, with her. Esther notices that Caddy looks prettier than before. Presently, Caddy imparts a secret. In her desperate desire to improve herself, she has taken dancing lessons and in the process has fallen in love with her instructor, a Mr. Prince Turveydrop. Indeed, unbeknownst to Mr. and Mrs. Jellyby, Caddy and Prince Turveydrop are now engaged to be married. Furthermore, Caddy has paid repeated visits to Miss Flite, the little crazy old lady, who has taught Caddy how to make coffee among other good housekeeping secrets. Thus, Caddy makes a plea to be sympathized with.

Mr. Jarndyce, Ada, and Esther do sympathize with Caddy and to that end the following is proposed. As Mr. Jarndyce had always been meaning to meet with Miss Flite, whose plight and circumstance had been made known to him by his concerned young wards, he proposes that Esther accompany Caddy to the dancing academy, where Caddy will make her daily, clandestine visit of her lover, after which Esther and Caddy will meet Mr. Jarndyce and Ada at Miss Flite’s apartment. Caddy agrees to this on the condition that she may join Mr. Jarndyce and his wards for dinner afterwards. Mr. Jarndyce accedes to Caddy’s condition and the proposal is put in motion.

By and by, Esther makes the acquaintance of Prince Turveydrop and his father Mr. Turveydrop. As it turns out, Prince, who has been thus named on account of his father’s high regard for the Prince Regent, is a delicate young man who works tirelessly to support his father. Mr. Turveydrop, alas, is a superficial and a supercilious man who does nothing the livelong day but prink and preen. Indeed, according to an old lady, whose child is a pupil of Prince Turveydrop, Esther learns Prince’s father’s wife had worked herself to death to support Mr. Turveydrop’s idle lifestyle. For whatever reason, the late Mrs. Turveydrop had believed in her husband and his deportment and it was this slavish devotion which the mother had conferred unto the son. When Caddy and Esther leave the dancing academy, Esther’s heart goes out to Prince Turveydrop who works so tirelessly for his father.

Presently, Esther and Caddy meet Mr. Jarndyce and Ada at Miss Flite’s apartment. There is someone else present however. He is a Mr. Woodcourt who is a doctor and who is the dark young man who was present at the scene when Nemo’s death was first pronounced. Apparently, Mr. Woodcourt has been looking after Miss Flite since Nemo’s death which death had traumatized Miss Flite. Needless to say, Miss Flite is grateful to Mr. Woodcourt as she is to the Chancery Chancellor who she believes is anonymously sending her money in modest installments so as to compensate for the interminable length of time her suit is taking in court. Esther surmises, however, that her Guardian Mr. Jarndyce is the actual source of Miss Flite’s supplementary funds.

Mr. Jarndyce contemplates Miss Flite’s caged birds when Mr. Krook intrudes. Since he knows about the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit as much as the actual Chancellor, Mr. Krook claims that he is the Chancellor and presumes to make Mr. Jarndyce’s acquaintance. He informs Mr. Jarndyce and the rest of Miss Flite’s guests of the names of Miss Flite’s birds. He then ominously proclaims that if the suit is ever settled and the birds are released, that the birds would die at the mercy of predatory birds. Mr. Jarndyce asserts that the wind is blowing from the east.

The day ends on a good note, however, as Caddy and Peepy partake of dinner with Mr. Jarndyce, Ada, and Esther.

Charles Dickens