Seven happy years have passed since Esther has been mistress of Bleak House. During that time, many things have happened. Ada has given birth to a son who is named after his father Richard. At first, Ada and Richard spend their time with Esther and Allan, but eventually they move in to the old Bleak House, as Mr. Jarndyce had made Ada and Richard the heirs to his estate. There Ada fully recovers from her grief, gaining all the inspiration that she needs from Mr. Jarndyce’s kindness and generosity, and of course, from the manifestation of her husband in her son.
Esther’s personal handmaid Charley has gotten married to a miller while Emma, Charley’s younger sister, has taken Charley’s place. As to Charley’s younger brother Tom, he is apprenticed to the miller. Caddy Jellyby now owns a carriage of her own with which she makes the rounds of her students. She is as busy as ever as her husband Prince is unable to do much work on account of being lame. She has a daughter besides who is autistic and hearing impaired which requires Caddy to work all that more to alleviate her child’s affliction. Meanwhile, old Mr. Truveydrop is, as ever, a model of deportment and solicitous of Peepy’s welfare. He has bequeathed Peepy, who now works at the Custom-House, a French clock.
Meanwhile, Caddy’s mother Mrs. Jellyby has moved on from Borrioboola-Gha to another charitable cause, which requires her to correspond more than ever before. (The Borrioboola-Gha charitable cause had failed on account of the Borrioboola king’s investment in rum at the expense of all else.) As to Mr. Jellyby, he spends his time at Caddy and Prince’s new residence, leaning his head against a wall as a token of eternal resignation at his wife’s indefatigable engagement in charitable affairs.
But all is well with Esther, who has two happy, bright daughters of her own. She and Allan have built a Growlery at Bleak House in order that Mr. Jarndyce would feel more at home when he visits.
One early evening, Esther sits on the porch where she greets Allan returning home from work. Allan asks, what’s up. Esther wonders if her looks, which had changed for the worse on account of her illness, was actually a blessing in disguise. After all, Allan couldn’t possibly love Esther more than the way he loves her at present. Subsequently, Allan assures Esther that she is prettier now than she ever was.