79 pages 2 hours read

Charles Dickens

Bleak House

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1853

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Chapters 51-60Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 51 Summary: “Enlightened”

Woodcourt checks on Richard, as he promised Esther. When he visits Vholes to ask for Richard’s address, Vholes confides in the doctor about Richard’s financial troubles and the “considerable funds” required to work on the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case. Richard lives in the house next to Vholes, who assures Woodcourt that he is doing everything he can to help. Richard is pleased to see Woodcourt and apologizes for his dilapidated state. He convinces Woodcourt that he is working hard to secure the inheritance for himself and Ada; their futures, he says, “can’t be separated” (715).

Ada hesitantly agrees to Esther’s suggestion that they visit Richard. To Esther’s surprise, she knows exactly where Richard lives. As usual, Richard is buried in papers concerning the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case. He speaks hopefully about the case, but his positivity upsets Esther. To Esther’s surprise, Ada announces that she and Richard married more than two months ago. Now, she plans to stay with her husband. Esther feels pity and embarrassment. She is sorry for her friend and embarrassed that she assumed Ada was worried about her. Esther returns home but feels “so lonely” that she returns to Richard’s house that evening and listens at the door, feeling a need to hear her friends’ voices.