Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 48

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 48

Closing In

  • (Third-person narrator. He gets all the juiciest chapters.)
  • OK, things are starting to happen hard and fast now, people.
  • Lady Dedlock is talking to Rosa. She's always very sweet and maternal to her, since Rosa is kind of a replacement Esther.
  • Rosa loves Lady Dedlock too.
  • Lady Dedlock tells Rosa that she's going to send her away, and that this is for the best. Rosa protests, but she's kind of a weakling and goes along to get along.
  • Lady Dedlock then goes to see Sir Dedlock, but he's in with Tulkinghorn.
  • She announces that she's sending Rosa away up north to go to Mr. Rouncewell's school. In fact, Mr. Rouncewell is coming that afternoon to discuss it.
  • Mr. Rouncewell arrives and exchanges some tense words with Sir Dedlock.
  • In any case, the situation is settled, and Rosa is all set to go that very night.
  • Tulkinghorn comes to see Lady Dedlock that evening. As usual, he's calm, threatening, and borderline sociopathic all at the same time.
  • Basically he tells her that all bets are off now, since by sending away her maid she is reneging on the agreement to proceed as though nothing were wrong. She's all, what's the problem with sending away my maid? But Tulkinghorn thinks it looks suspicious that she's suddenly getting rid of this maid that she loves so much.
  • Shmoop kind of thinks Tulkinghorn was just waiting for any excuse. This one seems kind of flimsy.
  • In any case, he says he won't tell Sir Dedlock that night and instead goes home.
  • Lady Dedlock decides to go out for a walk alone.
  • Suddenly a shot is heard in Tulkinghorn's neighborhood.
  • The next morning, the cleaning people find Tulkinghorn...dead in a pool of blood!
  • Above him there is a painting of a guy in a toga pointing a finger. Usually he's pointing at nothing, but now he points at the corpse.
  • Yowza!

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