(OK, smooth out your pinafore – Esther is back as narrator.)
Mrs. Woodcourt comes to visit Bleak House for a couple of weeks. Which...OK, imagine you really like somebody, who may or may not like you back, and then his or her mother comes to stay at your house. Yeah, a little stressful.
Mrs. Woodcourt is constantly harping on how super awesome their family tree is and how Alan is the descendant of some long-ago king.
Esther claims not to really understand what she's getting at, but she's also crazily anxious about everything the old lady says and does.
Mrs. Woodcourt then busts out with the prediction that Esther will marry some rich older dude.
Finally she leaves, much to everyone's relief.
Caddy comes to visit, and everyone starts trying to help plan the wedding and her future. The Jellybys have had to move, since Mr. Jellyby has lost everything and declared bankruptcy. He makes Caddy promise to keep a decent house when she and Prince are married. Apparently the state of his own house makes him want to kill the whole family, which is super sad, but also funny, because he is the meekest, mildest, nicest man ever.
The bankruptcy also means that he can't outfit Caddy for her marriage – literally. Back in the day the bride would have to bring a bunch of clothes, linens, and things (called a trousseau) with her when she got married.
Esther, Ada, and Caddy do their best to work out a wardrobe for her.
Also, Esther and Caddy try to straighten up the Jellybys' house so the wedding brunch can be held there. This is a monumental task, since the place is crazy dirty – like, Hoarders level.
They also try to make Mrs. Jellyby look presentable. She is, as usual, totally distracted by Africa and couldn't care less about the whole "my daughter is getting married" thing. She's kind of psycho.
Mr. Jellyby, cheered up by all the effort, tells Caddy to "never have a Mission" (30.82) (in other words, never to be like her mother).
Caddy cries about how unhappy her parents' marriage is and promises to make her house a second home for her dad.
The wedding itself is lovely and uneventful.
The wedding brunch guests are Mrs. Jellyby's activist friends and the super-self-important Mr. Turveydrop. Each only cares about his or her own pet project, and no one can hold a normal conversation.
It's a good thing Jarndyce is there. He is somehow able to create conversation among these self-absorbed idiots.
Mr. Turveydrop makes the newlyweds promise yet again to always take care of him, then lets them go on their weeklong honeymoon. Mrs. Jellyby lets Caddy go with barely a second thought or glance. They really haven't had such good parental models, these two.