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Summary Chapter 7

It so rainy, wet, and miserable that even all the animals of Chesney Wold—both the wild and the domesticated—grumble about the weather and yearn for the sunny, pleasant days. Presently, Mrs. Rouncewell, the housekeeper who has been in service of the Dedlocks for over 50 years at Chesney Wold, welcomes her grandson Watt, who has been educated overseas and who has been named after James Watt the inventor of the steam engine. Mrs. Rouncewell declares that Watt resembles his Uncle George, who was Mrs. Rouncewell’s favorite son and who had died a soldier at a young age. When Watt argues that he actually resembles his father, Mrs. Rouncewell concedes that Watt does resemble his father and is glad to learn that Watt’s father is prospering.

By and by, Rosa, the pretty maid on whom Watt expresses a romantic interest, interrupts the grandmother and grandson and tells them that they have visitors who would be interested in taking a brief tour of Chesney Wold. At first Mrs. Rouncewell objects, but when apprised that the visitors are lawyers and are Mr. Tulkinghorn’s associates, Mrs. Rouncewell, whose will had been drafted by Mr. Tulkinghorn, consents to their visit.

Thus, the lawyers Mr. Guppy and an associate introduce themselves and are presently led through the rooms of Chesney Wold. The tour has only started but the lawyers find themselves tired and exhausted when a portrait of Lady Dedlock fascinates Mr. Guppy. Indeed, he avows that he knows the face. When Rosa draws Mr. Guppy’s attention to the portraits of Sir Leicester and his father, Mr. Guppy makes a perfunctory show of interest before returning his gaze to Lady Dedlock.

Having shown Lady Dedlock’s room, Rosa mentions that the terrace below, which one can see through a window, is called the Ghost’s Walk. When Mr. Guppy urges to be told the family story behind the name, Rosa says that she doesn’t know. Presently, Mrs. Rouncewell informs the lawyers that the story is a family affair and will not be made public.

When the lawyers leave, Mrs. Rouncewell tells Watt and Rosa the story behind Ghost’s Walk.

During the days of King Charles the First, Sir Morbury Dedlock was the owner of Chesney Wold. As it turned out, Sir Morbury Dedlock was wed to a lady who had no blood ties to the Dedlocks and who was rumored to have sympathized with the rebel cause that opposed King Charles the First. When the Lady’s favorite brother was killed by Sir Morbury’s kinsman during the civil war, it was said that the Lady harbored such a hatred of the Dedlocks that she made an attempt to lame the horses whenever Sir Morbury was slated to ride out with the King.

One morning, Sir Morbury followed his Lady in an attempt to prevent her from laming the horses. In the process, due to a frightened horse kicking, the Lady was rendered lame. Subsequently, the Lady made an effort to recover, walking on that very terrace with the help of a cane when one day she collapsed to the ground. Sir Morbury came to her aid only to be told that she will die right there and then and walk the terrace as a ghost until the day the Dedlock name was humbled and disgraced. Sure enough, the Lady died right there and then, and it is said that the sound one often hears in the terrace is the very ghost of the Lady walking the terrace.

Charles Dickens