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Summary Chapter 49

It is Mrs. Bagnet's birthday. Subsequently, Mr. Bagnet and his children will see to the day's meal and chores while Mrs. Bagnet is expected to sit at leisure and be served.

Determined not to undermine her husband's and her children's good intentions, Mrs. Bagnet does her best to be at leisure. In truth, she communicates all the things the children are doing wrong with regard the roasting of the fowls via her gestures and facial expressions. Not surprisingly, the fowls do not come off as well as they might, but Mrs. Bagnet maintains her outward calm and the children enjoy the meal despite its less than ideal cooked state. After the meal, the cleaning is done, and again, Mrs. Bagnet watches with anxiety while pretending to be at leisure as her husband and children go about it in a manner that is hardly the most ideal or efficient.

With the cleaning done, the family settles in the parlor. For the first time during this day, Mrs. Bagnet is at peace. They are expecting a guest; namely, Mr. George. Mr. George has been a guest every year on Mrs. Bagnet's birthday. Presently he arrives, and he takes his place in the parlor when Mrs. Bagnet notices that Mr. George is very pale and out of sorts. Mr. George explains that it's due to the death of the boy Jo the day before. Mrs. Bagnet consoles Mr. George, arguing that he had the goodness of taking the boy in and that was all that he could have done. Mr. George tries to change the tenor of the gathering by presenting a gift to Mrs. Bagnet (a brooch), but even that proves in vain as Mr. George fails to humor the family when they urge him to put the brooch on himself.

Suddenly, an unexpected guest arrives. It is Mr. Bucket who explains that he has been shopping for a violincello for a friend when looking in the Bagnet's shop, he noticed an old friend Mr. George in the Bagnet's parlor. Indeed, Mr. Bucket makes himself so agreeable--doting on the Bagnet children and livening things up at the gathering with his good cheer--that the Bagnets decide to have Mr. Bucket visit them every year on Mrs. Bagnet's birthday. Before parting in the company of Mr. George, Mr. Bucket informs the Bagnets that he will return tomorrow to buy a violincello. The Bagnets assure Mr. Bucket that they'll have a selection of violincellos ready for his--Mr. Bucket's--perusal.

While walking with Mr. George, Mr. Bucket suddenly directs Mr. George into a public house and there confronts him with an astounding fact. Mr. Tulkinghorn had been murdered last night at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Furthermore, Mr. Bucket suspects Mr. George of being the murderer. Informing Mr. George of his rights to remain silent, Mr. Bucket explains his reason for suspecting Mr. George. Mr. George, who had lately been frequenting Lincoln's Inn Fields and who had been at Lincoln's Inn Fields last night when Mr. Tulkinghorn had been murdered, had been accused of being a "threatening, murdering, dangerous fellow" by Mr. Tulkinghorn. Mr. George doesn't deny Mr. Bucket's explanation and puts his hands out to be handcuffed. When handcuffed, Mr. George asks Mr. Bucket to have his hat lowered so that passerbys won't get a clear look at his face. Mr. Bucket obliges Mr. George, and together they head off to the police station.

Charles Dickens