Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 27

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 27

More Old Soldiers than One

  • (Third-person narrator continues.)
  • The fancy lawyer who wants Captain Hawdon's handwriting sample is...OK, obviously it's Tulkinghorn.
  • Mr. George is impressed with Tulkinghorn's nice office and checks out the portrait of Sir Dedlock.
  • When Tulkinghorn finally comes in, he is his usual totally indifferent-seeming self.
  • Mr. George asks what the deal is with the handwriting. Tulkinghorn doesn't want to say, other than that it's something really minor and that Mr. George would be paid. Oh, that doesn't sound fishy in the least.
  • Mr. George says no to the whole thing because he's feeling sort of trapped.
  • Smallweed is furious and whispers to Tulkinghorn that Mr. George has a piece of Hawdon's handwriting in his breast pocket! Right now! Too bad they can't just beat it out of him!
  • But Tulkinghorn is chill.
  • Finally Mr. George says he's going to go consult an old army buddy about what to do. He let's it slip that Hawdon is dead, which seems to get a teeny tiny reaction out of Tulkinghorn.
  • Mr. George heads out to another part of London, to the house of the Bagnets.
  • Matthew Bagnet is a bassoon player now and his wife is a super-competent, super-awesome woman who takes care of the house and kids and is generally the brains of the whole operation. (This is kind of a recurring character type in Victorian novels – check out Mrs. O'Dowd in Vanity Fair.)
  • All of them go way back, and Bagnet reminds George that it's his wife who gives the advice while pretending it's coming from himself. It sounds kind of condescending, but it's played for cuteness.
  • Anyway, after dinner Mrs. Bagnet tells Mr. George to stay as far away as possible from Tulkinghorn and his shenanigans. He's psyched because this confirms his own feelings about the matter.
  • They hang out all night, and as Mr. George watches the very perfect Bagnet family (they've got some super-cute, super-awesome kids as well), he feels lonely and sad.
  • Mr. George leaves and goes over to Tulkinghorn's office to give him a final no.
  • When he gets there, he fumbles with the locked door, and Tulkinghorn comes out and yells at him about it. He also yells at him about hiding the fugitive Gridley earlier.

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