Chapters 30-32 Summary
Mrs. Woodcourt, the mother of the physician who was a friend of Mr. Jarndyce’s, comes to visit. She makes Esther a confidante, much to Esther’s annoyance. Mrs. Woodcourt expounds on her family history and states that her son must marry someone of good family to carry on the noble line unsullied. Esther is annoyed, but it is important that Mrs. Woodcourt like her despite her lack of good family background.
Caddy Jellyby also comes to visit. She tells Esther that she is to be married in a month but knows nothing about housekeeping. Esther gives her some lessons and then returns to London to attend the ceremony. Mrs. Jellyby remains indifferent; she thinks the idea of Caddy’s being married is ridiculous. Esther helps prepare the lodgings where the young couple will live. Mr. Jellyby advises his daughter never to have a Mission. Prince and Caddy are married and leave for a week’s wedding trip.
Charley tells Esther that she has received news of a poor boy who is ill. The two of them go to see him and discover it is Jo. Esther takes him back home with her, but Mr. Skimpole, who once studied medicine, urges Mr. Jarndyce to put Jo out of the house because his illness is highly contagious. Mr. Jarndyce puts Jo out in a room in the stable, but Jo is gone the next morning. Charley falls ill, and Esther tends her for many days, fearing that the girl will die. When she recovers, Esther falls ill. She pleads with Charley to keep Ada out of her sick room. Esther falls deeper into the illness and goes temporarily blind.
Mr. Snagsby goes to Krook’s shop but finds that Krook has retired for the night. He meets Weevle there, for Weevle has taken lodgings in the room in which Nemo died. Mr. Snagsby wonders at the coincidence that both men in this room have been writers. Mrs. Snagsby still feels suspicious, so she follows her husband to Krook’s. After Mr. Snagsby leaves, Mr. Guppy arrives. Weevle confesses that his room bothers him. There is also a smell of cooking grease, which Mr. Snagsby had also noticed. Mr. Guppy has come to get the packet of letters from Mr. Krook; they arranged to meet at midnight. Mr. Guppy plans on making copies of the letters. Mr. Weevle goes downstairs to get the letters but returns and says Mr. Krook is gone. Mr. Guppy goes down to investigate. He finds Mr. Krook dead on the floor, consumed by spontaneous combustion.