A funny-cynical moment occurs in David Copperfield, Chapter XXVI, "I Fall into Captivity", where (in a passage perhaps presaging Bleak House?) Charles Dickens comments on how legal proceedings can eat up an inheritance:

I asked Mr. Spenlow what he considered the best sort of professional business? He replied, that a good case of a disputed will, where there was a neat little estate of thirty or forty thousand pounds, was, perhaps, the best of all. In such a case, he said, not only were there very pretty pickings, in the way of arguments at every stage of the proceedings, and mountains upon mountains of evidence on interrogatory and counter-interrogatory (to say nothing of an appeal lying, first to the Delegates, and then to the Lords), but, the costs being pretty sure to come out of the estate at last, both sides went at it in a lively and spirited manner, and expense was no consideration. ...

TopicLiterature - TopicHumor - 2006-07-17

(correlates: GentlemenPreferBlondes, PunishmentAndCrime, FourHoursDaily, ...)