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Summary Chapter 52

Through Mr. Woodcourt, Esther and Mr. Jarndyce learn of Mr. George's imprisonment. Subsequently, they visit Mr. George at prison. There Mr. Jarndyce tries in vain to persuade Mr. George to take on a lawyer in his own defense. Mr. George's argument is that he would rather be punished to the full extent of the law while dealing with the matter in his soldierly, honest way than be got off with a lawyer's tricks and equivocations. Mr. Jarndyce argues that Mr. George needs a lawyer as his case is a criminal one and not a civil one like Gridley's but to no avail.

Presently, Mr. and Mrs. Bagnet arrive with a basket of food which Mr. George graciously accepts. However, when they are apprised of Mr. George's unwillingness to take on the service of a lawyer, Mrs. Bagnet chides Mr. George's mule-like obstinancy. By and by, she asks to have a private word with Mr. George.

As Mr. Jarndyce, Mr. Woodcourt, and Esther make their way out of the prison cell, Mr. George remarks upon Esther's figure and form; of how on the very night Mr. Tulkinghorn was murdered, Mr. George, who was waiting outside Mr. Tulkinghorn's office, saw a similar figure and form to Esther Summerson's on the way out from visiting Mr. Tulkinghorn. The remark disturbs Esther who knows the fear and dread her mother had of Mr. Tulkinghorn.

It isn't long before the Bagnets join Mr. Jarndyce, Mr. Woodcourt, and Esther, outside the prison. Mrs. Bagnet laments for Mr. George and argues that there is only person who could persuade him to take on a lawyer: Mr. George's mother who is alive and well despite Mr. George's pretense that he has no living relatives. Presently, Mrs. Bagnet resolves to go find Mrs. George and, to Mr. Jarndyce's dismay, sets off on foot to do exactly that. Mr. Bagnet assures Mr. Jarndyce that Mrs. Bagnet will be all right.

Charles Dickens