Bleak House – Charles Dickens – Google Books
”With a buoyancy and hopefulness and a gaiety that hardly ever flagged, Richard had a carelessness in his character that quite perplexed me— principally because he mistook it, in such a very odd way, for prudence. It entered into all his calculations about money, in a singular manner, which I don’t think I can better explain than by reverting for a moment to our loan to Mr. Skimpole. Mr. Jarndyce had ascertained the amount, either from Mr. Skimpole himself or from Coavinses, and had placed the money in my hands with instructions to me to retain my own part of it and hand the rest to Richard.
The number of little acts of thoughtless expenditure which Richard justified by the recovery of his ten pounds, and the number of times he talked to me as if he had saved or realised that amount, would form a sum in simple addition.
“My prudent Mother Hubbard, why not ?” he said to me, when he wanted, without the least consideration, to bestow five pounds on the brickmaker.
“I made ten pounds, clear, out of Coavinses’ business.”
“How was that ?” said I.
“Why, I got rid of ten pounds which I was quite content to get rid of, and never expected to see any more. You don’t deny that ?”
“No,” said I.
“Very well! Then I came into possession of ten pounds—”
“The same ten pounds,” I hinted.
“That has nothing to do with it!” returned Richard. “I have got ten pounds more than I expected to have, and consequently I can afford to spend it without being particular.”
In exactly the same way, when he was persuaded out of the sacrifice of these five pounds by being convinced that it would do no good, he carried that sum to his credit and drew upon it.
“Let me see!” he would say.
“I saved five pounds out of the brickmaker’s affair; so, if I have a good rattle to London and back in a post-chaise, and put that down at four pounds, I shall have saved one. And it’s a very good thing to save one, let me tell you: a penny saved, is a penny got!”