Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 64


Not long after Esther has spoken to Mr. Jarndyce about formalizing her status as Bleak House’s mistress, Mr. Jarndyce gives Esther an envelope within which contains two hundred pounds. Esther uses the money to prepare for their wedding, which Mr. Jarndyce assures Esther will take place next month after the results of the court’s finding with regard the Will are disclosed. Though Mr. Jarndyce maintains his belief that nothing good would ever come out of Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit, Esther hopes that the Will would make Richard and Ada more prosperous. (Ada’s attendance of the wedding will be more pleasant for Ada should the Will finally reward Richard vis-à-vis Jarndyce and Jarndyce.)

The time for the results of the court’s finding with regard the Will to be disclosed is close at hand when Mr. Jarndyce goes to Yorkshire to attend to a matter concerning Mr. Woodcourt. Not long after, Esther, who has just returned from visiting Ada, receives a short letter from Mr. Jarndyce urging her to go to Yorkshire. Subsequently, early next morning, Esther sets out for Yorkshire. It’s a long journey, lasting nearly the entire day, during which Esther wonders why she is being summoned. On account of the letter’s briefness, Esther worries that perhaps Mr. Jarndyce had fallen ill.

Presently, as night falls, Esther arrives at Yorkshire and at Mr. Jarndyce’s lodgings—a hotel. Mr. Jarndyce greets Esther with his usual cheerful disposition, and over supper, he explains the reason for his having summoned Esther to Yorkshire. Ever since Mr. Woodcourt’s kind service on behalf of the boy Jo, Mr. Jarndyce had wanted to reciprocate the doctor in kind. He got his chance when Mr. Woodcourt was looking for a suitable place to live in Yorkshire, where the doctor would soon begin his medical practice. Mr. Jarndyce offered to find a place for Mr. Woodcourt, and his offer being accepted, Mr. Jarndyce had found one. Alas, Mr. Jarndyce was unsure whether the house was really ready to be inhabited in terms of its housekeeping preparations. And so he has summoned Esther to be his consultant. The news delights Esther who weeps.

Next morning, after breakfast, Esther and Mr. Jarndyce go to see the house. It’s a beautiful day, and as they arrive at the house for inspection, Esther sees that most everything, including the garden, is in good order. At the mention of the house’s name, Esther wonders what it could be. Mr. Jarndyce directs Esther to the porch, and there she reads the inscription BLEAK HOUSE. Presently, in a seat nearby, Mr. Jarndyce and Esther sit and Mr. Jarndyce explains. Ever since Mr. Woodcourt’s arrival from his trip overseas, Mr. Jarndyce had known that Mr. Woodcourt would make Esther the ideal husband. Indeed, they had been in confidence about this matter since Mr. Woodcourt’s arrival. To persuade Mrs. Woodcourt that Esther would make her the ideal daughter-in-law, Mr. Jarndyce had invited Mrs. Woodcourt to be a live-in guest so that she might observe Esther’s worth first-hand. As it stands, she would be delighted to have Esther as her daughter-in-law. Mr. Jarndyce tells Esther that Mr. Woodcourt is in love with her, and that Esther loves Mr. Woodcourt, but that she would never admit it for Mr. Jarndyce’s sake. Presently, Mr. Woodcourt emerges, and Mr. Jarndyce gives Esther his blessings, and urges her to take Mr. Woodcourt as her husband. Speechless with joy and sorrow, Esther can only weep.

When Esther, Mr. Jarndyce, and Mr. Woodcourt return to London, Mr. Woodcourt goes to see Richard. Still in a bit of a shock, Esther defers visiting Ada, choosing to stay close to Mr. Jarndyce. By and by, Esther learns that a visitor has called on three occasions, begging to see Esther. Upon learning that the caller was Mr. Guppy, Esther tells Mr. Jarndyce of their past interaction and informs the servants to admit Mr. Guppy when he returns. Sure enough, Mr. Guppy returns for the fourth time. He is accompanied by his mother and his friend Jobling. Though unsettled by Mr. Jarndyce’s presence, Mr. Guppy proceeds to explain the purpose of his visit. He renews his proposal of marriage to Miss Summerson. He argues that his position has been improved since the last time he had proposed to Miss Summerson. He is now a certified lawyer, and he has acquired a house near Walcot Square, Lambeth. Will Miss Summerson accept? Speaking on behalf of Esther, Mr. Jarndyce flatly rejects Mr. Guppy’s proposal.

Consequently, Mr. Guppy’s mother takes offense. She is flabbergasted that her son and his credentials are not good enough for Miss Summerson. She demands that Mr. Jarndyce and Esther leave the premises at once, never mind that they are in Mr. Jarndyce’s apartment. Mr. Guppy and Jobling restrain Mr. Guppy’s mother who persists to demand that Esther and Mr. Jarndyce leave the premises at once.

Charles Dickens