Chapters 5-7 Summary

The following morning, Esther and Caddy Jellyby go for a walk with Ada and Richard. Caddy complains of Mr. Quayle, who joins Mrs. Jellyby in her obsessions with Africa. The young people encounter the old woman they had met at court the previous day. She invites them to her lodgings located about Krook’s Rag and Bottle Warehouse (also of Marine Supplies). Mr. Krook buys several different kinds of objects but never seems to sell anything. He has a cat, Lady Jane, who eyes Esther in a disturbing manner. Mr. Krook explains how Tom Jarndyce had shot himself in a nearby pub. Esther notices some legal papers with handwriting similar to that on the correspondence she received from Mr. Kenge. The old woman shows her collection of birds in cages; she explains that she plans to let them all free once she has received her judgment from Chancery. In the midst of all this talk of the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Ada and Richard vow to one another never to let the suit disturb their friendship even though they are technically enemies. They return to the Jellybys’, then Esther, Ada, and Richard soon leave to continue to Bleak House. On the way, the three young people are given letters from Mr. Jarndyce; he welcomes them to Bleak House.

Mr. Jarndyce kindly meets Esther, Ada, and Richard when they arrive. He gives the impression that he will leave the room if he is thanked. Esther is given the household keys, which signifies her new level of responsibility for Ada as well as the rest of the “family.” Mr. Skimpole, a friend of Mr. Jarndyce’s, joins them for dinner. He is completely irresponsible when it comes to money; he claims to be a “mere child”—and so it proves after dinner when he is arrested for debt. He appeals to Richard and Esther’s charity, who pay off his debt. When Mr. Jarndyce discovers this decision, he is quite displeased. He warns them never to do so again.

Mrs. Rouncewell has been housekeeper at Chesney Wold, the estate of the Dedlocks, for more than fifty years. She is now a widow, and she has two sons: one went off to be a soldier and the other became involved in metalworks and has a son named Watt. Watt visits Chesney Wold and takes notice of Rosa, the young maid. Mr. Guppy and a lawyer friend arrive at Chesney Wold. They request a tour of the house. Mrs. Rouncewell tells them the story of the Ghost Walk, which the spirit of a former Lady Dedlock haunts.