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Bleak House

Charles Dickens

Chapters 11–15

Chapters 6–10

Chapters 11–15, page 2

page 1 of 3

Summary: Chapter 11, “Our Dear Brother”

Krook joins Mr. Tulkinghorn in Nemo’s room, and they realize he is dead. Miss Flite, the mad old woman who is also one of Krook’s lodgers, arrives and calls for a doctor, who confirms that Nemo is dead. A young surgeon with a dark complexion says that Nemo bought opium from him and that he died of an overdose. Mr. Tulkinghorn stands close to the dead lodger’s coat, seemingly unconcerned with what’s going on around him.

Snagsby arrives, but he knows nothing about Nemo. He sends for a policeman, also known as a beadle. He says that Mrs. Snagsby had been the one to hire Nemo and that she had seen something in his manner that suggested she should help him. Snagsby looks around the room and sees the coat, and Mr. Tulkinghorn acts like he’s never seen it before. The beadle arrives, arousing the neighbors’ interest, but there is nothing anyone can do.

In court the next day, the coroner asks questions of certain neighbors as part of the investigation into Nemo’s death, but no one knows anything useful. A homeless child named Jo takes the stand and says that Nemo had given him money and lodging in the past. After the court session ends, Mr. Snagsby gives Jo a half-crown coin.

At home, Mr. Snagsby’s housekeeper, Guster, has several seizures from the upsets of the day.

Summary: Chapter 12, “On the Watch”

The narrator describes the rainy scene at Chesney Wold. Lady Dedlock and Sir Leicester are returning from Paris. Lady Dedlock couldn’t wait to leave Paris because she was so bored, a common complaint. In the carriage, Sir Leicester tells Lady Dedlock while looking through his mail that Mr. Tulkinghorn sends his greetings and has something to tell her when she returns.

At Chesney Wold, Mrs. Rouncewell introduces Rosa to Lady Dedlock, who thinks Rosa is beautiful and strokes her cheek before going upstairs. Later, Lady Dedlock’s maid, a Frenchwoman named Hortense, is bitterly jealous of Rosa. Hortense has worked for Lady Dedlock for five years, but Lady Dedlock has always distanced herself from Hortense.

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