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Bleak House

Charles Dickens

Chapters 61–67

Chapters 56–60

Chapters 61–67, page 2

page 1 of 3

Summary: Chapter 61, “A Discovery”

Esther says that she can never forget the days when she visited Ada. She says she visits every day and often finds Skimpole there. She decides to confront him about his perpetual gaiety, which she feels is inappropriate given Ada’s dismal situation. When she does, however, he says there’s no way he can understand such worldly affairs. With twisted logic, he says he doesn’t want to give anyone pain, and so he’ll stay away from Ada and Richard. Esther then confronts him about the fact that he took money to show Bucket where Jo was hiding. She tells Skimpole he betrayed Mr. Jarndyce. Skimpole says he can’t be bribed and gives Esther a lengthy explanation of what happened. Esther never sees Skimpole again, but she tells us that he died five years after these events and that he had published a book about his life, in which he says that Mr. Jarndyce is selfish.

Esther says she will now tell part of her story that she found quite unexpected. Richard is getting worse, distracted only by Woodcourt. Woodcourt walks Esther home one night and confesses that he still loves her. Even though Esther had thought he’d pitied her, he’d actually been looking at her with love. Esther thinks Woodcourt is too late, and she explains that she is to marry Mr. Jarndyce. She says she will always remember his love for her and that it will make feel her better. Esther cries when he leaves, but she feels that she’ll be able to go move on more easily than Woodcourt.

Summary: Chapter 62, “Another Discovery”

Esther says she avoids everyone that night. The next day she asks Mr. Jarndyce if she has neglected any of her duties since she finds it strange that they haven’t spoken of their marriage. Mr. Jarndyce suggests they marry in a month, and Esther agrees.

Bucket arrives with Smallweed. He tells Mr. Jarndyce and Esther that Smallweed inherited Krook’s property and found a Jarndyce will. Bucket says he convinced Smallweed to come forward with the will and assured him that he’d be rewarded. Smallweed gives the will to Bucket, who gives it to Mr. Jarndyce. Mr. Jarndyce assures Smallweed he’ll reward him for it if it proves to have any worth. Smallweed and Bucket leave, and Mr. Jarndyce and Esther go to Lincoln’s Inn to see Mr. Kenge. Kenge studies the will and says it’s dated later than any other will under consideration in the suit. Kenge says that it decreases Mr. Jarndyce’s share but that it raises Ada’s and Richard’s shares. Vholes appears, reads the will, and agrees it’s important. Kenge says the case will be up again next month.

Summary: Chapter 63, “Steel and Iron”

The narrator says that George’s Shooting Gallery is closed now and that George lives at Chesney Wold. George rides into the iron country and seeks out the Rouncewells, who are well known in the town. A workman points George in the right direction to the Rouncewells’ factory. When George reaches the factory, he meets his brother’s son, who leads George to his brother. He doesn’t immediately identify himself, but his brother quickly recognizes him. His brother says they must celebrate their reunion and that a celebration has already been planned for his son Watt, who is going to be married. George accompanies them to their house and meets his nieces and Rosa.

The next day, the brother tells George how he might join the business, but George asks him to promise that he’ll get Mrs. Rouncewell to remove George from her will. He doesn’t want his brother’s and nieces’ inheritance to be reduced because of him, a wayward son. His brother refuses and says his mother will never agree. George assures him that their fortunes will not be reduced and that he’ll give up any part of the will he receives. He also says he can’t join the iron business.

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