Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 41

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 41

In Mr. Tulkinghorn's Room

  • (Third-person narrator.)
  • Whoa.
  • That was some crazy indirect showdown. Even Tulkinghorn needs a breather.
  • After a couple of minutes, Lady Dedlock comes to his room.
  • There's no beating around the bush anymore, but she still stays super calm and her face is totally non-responsive.
  • How long has he known her story?
  • A couple of days.
  • Does everyone else already know too?
  • No, that was just to show what would happen if the secret got out.
  • Can she make it so that Rosa isn't tainted by being associated with her?
  • He doesn't know. (Time out – talk about guilt by association! Poor Rosa.)
  • Lady Dedlock offers to sign any papers she needs to to confirm all the facts. She tells Tulkinghorn that all her jewels, money, and fancy clothes are in their places. She is ready to leave the house.
  • Whoa, not so fast, Tulkinghorn says.
  • He doesn't want the secret out just yet. If she leaves, the honor and reputation of the Dedlock family will be ruined forever. For now he just wants her to continue as if everything were the same.
  • Tulkinghorn says that he only wants what is best for the family, and the best way to preserve its place in the world is to keep up appearances.
  • Lady Dedlock agrees, shoots him a hateful look, and leaves.
  • He goes to sleep.
  • She goes to her room, paces, rips out her hair, screams, and cries. Good soundproofing in those old houses, though – no one hears her.
  • The next morning, everyone in Chesney Wold gets up as if nothing had happened.

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