The day finally arrives when the case Jarndyce and Jarndyce may be settled once and for all. Esther, accompanied by her husband-to-be Allan Woodcourt, goes to Chancery Court to be there in person. She has hopes the case will be settled on Ada and Richard’s behalf, making them rich. However, Mr. Jarndyce, consistent with his policy to have nothing to do with the case if he could help it, stays behind.
Presently, Esther is waylaid by Caddy Jellyby who is riding in a carriage which she regularly hires now to attend to her pupils who have multiplied exponentially. For the longest time, Esther and Caddy have only interacted through letters. As a result, Caddy is most eager to detain Esther as long as possible. Esther obliges. Caddy dotes on Esther, congratulating her on her engagement to Mr. Woodcourt. As to Mr. Woodcourt , Caddy reminds him of the flowers that she had delivered to Esther on his behalf. Consequently, Esther and Alan are late in arriving at the Chancery Court’s proceedings of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.
On account of the case’s great popularity, the courtroom is jam packed, and Esther and Alan are unable to gain admittance. They can hear the court’s proceedings, which are interspersed with a lot of laughter, but they can’t make heads or tails of what is actually being discussed. Esther and Alan consult a gentleman, who seems to know what’s what, and he informs the young couple that the case has, at long last, come to a definitive conclusion. Esther and Alan can’t quite believe the gentleman’s assertion when people begin to file out of the courtroom. With the people come great bundles of paper which are ferried out by a number of clerks who must set their bundles down in the Hall pavement so that they might ferry more bundles of paper.
By and by, Esther and Alan espy Mr. Kenge who is accompanied by Mr. Vholes. Anxious to know, Esther and Alan eagerly ply Mr. Kenge with their questions. Has the case Jarndyce and Jarndyce really come to a definitive conclusion? Was the Will certified as genuine? Noting that Mr. Jarndyce isn’t present, Mr. Kenge makes an irrelevant remark as to how Mr. Jarndyce, had he been present today at the proceedings, would’ve been impressed with England’s system of law and equity before explaining in a roundabout way that the cost of trying the case had exhausted the inheritance money in dispute, rendering a decision either way irrelevant. At this point Mr. Vholes departs, and Esther has the distinct impression that Mr. Vholes has just chewed and digested his “last morsel of the client,” namely Richard Carstone.
Deathly afraid for Richard, informing Esther he will attend to Richard, who is still in the courtroom, for now, Alan urges Esther to tell Mr. Jarndyce of what has occurred before meeting him at Ada and Richard’s apartment.
When Esther tells Mr. Jarndyce what has occurred, he is of two minds: He is relieved that the case has finally ended, but he laments for Ada and Richard whose hopes of finding financial relief have been dashed. They talk about what might be done for them before heading out to Symond’s Inn. Upon arrival, Mr. Jarndyce remains outside while Esther attends to Richard who is gravely ill. According to Allan, he had found Richard in a virtual catatonic state when suddenly he made as if to berate the judge only to cough up blood.
Presently, Richard congratulates Esther on her engagement to Allan and tells her that he would not miss their wedding ceremony for the world. Despite his illness, he promises her that he will manage to attend with Ada’s help. Subsequently, Mr. Jarndyce approaches Richard who had long regarded Mr. Jarndyce his enemy on account of Mr. Jarndyce’s disapproval of Richard’s preoccupation with the Chancery suit. Richard apologizes and acknowledges the error of his ways. Mr. Jarndyce forgives and encourages Richard, who promises to start his life anew when he is recovered. Indeed, Richard wonders if he might be removed to Bleak House where he believes his recovery will be best served what with Esther and Allan’s presence there. Mr. Jarndyce agrees that that would for the best. Alas, Richard dies, while embracing Ada.