Mr. Woodcourt’s declaration of love is so momentous that Esther cannot help but to cry in gratefulness and sorrow, gratefulness for her all her good fortunes and sorrow for Mr. Woodcourt. (Indeed, Esther cries herself to sleep.) The next morning, however, Esther wakes up early and in a cheerful mood. She goes for a walk with Charley and then tutors Charley in English grammar. Alas, Charley is as hopeless as ever in grasping proper English grammar. During breakfast, Mr. Jarndyce comments upon Esther’s cheerfulness, and Mrs. Woodcourt regales everyone with a translated passage from the Mewlinwillinwodd (which is very likely a Welsh epic poem or story).
After breakfast, Esther goes to have a chat with Mr. Jarndyce who is busy reading letters. Esther reminds Mr. Jarndyce of the day when she had returned Mr. Jarndyce’s letter, consenting to be the mistress of Bleak House. She mentions of how since then Mr. Jarndyce had referred to that event only once and that in connection with the sad observation that Bleak House was losing its inhabitants (Ada and Richard). Presently, Esther tells Mr. Jarndyce that she still would like to be the mistress of Bleak House. When will it be formalized? Delighted as always with Esther, Mr. Jarndyce informs Esther that they’ll formalize their relationship next month. Esther is content.
Suddenly, Mr. Bucket announces his presence before Mr. Jarndyce and Esther. Mr. Bucket proceeds to have an old man, who is unable to walk, brought in on his chair (Mr. Smallweed) and then has the door closed and bolted. Apparently, Mr. Bucket has something important and confidential to impart. He apprises Mr. Jarndyce of Mr. Smallweed’s relevance, explaining how the latter has become the inheritor of Krook’s mass of junk. He speaks of a Will which Mr. Smallweed found among the mass of junk. He speaks of how the Will makes a direct reference to Mr. Jarndyce as a benefactor. Presently, Mr. Bucket has Mr. Smallweed surrender the Will and hands it to Mr. Jarndyce. Mr. Jarndyce, who wants nothing to do with Chancery, refuses to read the Will, however. He does assure Mr. Bucket, however, that the Will would be passed on to his lawyer who will see to it that the Will be honored to the letter and the spirit. Satisfied, Mr. Bucket leaves with Mr. Smallweed.
Presently, Mr. Jarndyce and Esther go towards Lincoln’s Inn to pay Mr. Kenge, Mr. Jarndyce’s lawyer, a visit. Upon greeting one another, Mr. Jarndyce hands Mr. Kenge the Will as if getting rid of a burden. Indeed, Mr. Jarndyce can’t help himself but to disparage England’s system of law and equity. Naturally, Mr. Kenge speaks highly of his profession and tries to persuade Mr. Jarndyce to see it his way, but in vain. By and by, at Mr. Jarndyce’s behest, Mr. Kenge reads the Will. Having read it, Mr. Kenge informs Mr. Jarndyce that though the Will mentions Mr. Jarndyce as a benefactor that the lion share of benefits will actually go to Ada and Richard. Mr. Jarndyce avers that that is good news if it were indeed the case. Subsequently, Mr. Kenge confers with Mr. Vholes with regard the content of the Will. By and by, Mr. Kenge informs Mr. Jarndyce that the Will seems to be legitimate, but that it would have to be certified by the court. Mr. Jarndyce asks how long that that would take. A month, Mr. Kenge replies. Mr. Jarndyce is satisfied.