Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 51

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 51


  • (Esther, Esther, Esther.)
  • True to his word, Woodcourt tries to meet up with Richard in London. He doesn't know where he's staying, so he goes to Vholes's office to find out.
  • Their conversation goes something like this:
  • W: Where does Richard live?
  • V: Let's just say that he owes me a lot of money.
  • W: Um, OK. But where does he live?
  • V: He owes money to other people too.
  • W: Dude, seriously, I'm just asking for his address.
  • V: So as I was saying, money, money, money, money.
  • And so on. Vholes is pretty annoying.
  • Finally Vholes shows Woodcourt Richard's room, which is just upstairs. He's just as depressed and crazed as ever. Woodcourt is nice to him, and Richard tells him how stressed he is that Ada's money is tied up in the court case too.
  • After Caddy starts getting better, Esther suggests going to visit Richard. Ada is kind of not into it, which is surprising and strange.
  • But still, they go.
  • Another surprise – Ada is very easily able to figure out where Richard lives without asking for directions.
  • Miserable as always, Richard is happy to see them but depressed about life overall.
  • After some complaining, Ada goes to hug him and says she's not going back to Bleak House because...they're married!
  • Apparently, two months ago, as soon as Richard said no to Ada's letter offering him all of her money, she decided to marry him instead so that her money would be his legally. Oh, and of course because of all the love.
  • Esther cries and cries and cries. Then she leaves and cries some more. She's not really expecting anything too good to come out of this marriage, and she feels bad for them.
  • That night she and Charley sneak back to Richard's place and lurk around outside a little bit. For some reason, this makes her feel better.
  • Back at Bleak House, Jarndyce figures out the truth when Ada doesn't come home for dinner. He wishes them well, but expects only ill.
  • Esther tries to cheer him up by talking about becoming mistress of the house, but that attempt flags too. Esther feels guilty that their own marriage is so not an exciting topic for conversation.

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