Short summary - Bleak House - Charles Dickens

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Short summary - Bleak House
Charles Dickens

Childhood Esther Summerston takes place in Windsor, in the house of her godmother, Miss Barbury. The girl feels lonely and often condemns, turning to her best friend, a ruddy doll: "You know perfectly well, doll, that I am a fool, so be kind, do not be angry with me." Esther seeks to know the secret of her origin and begs the godmother to tell at least something about her mother. Once Miss Barbery does not stand it and severely says: «Your mother covered herself with shame, and you brought shame on her. Forget about her ... »Once, after returning from school, Esther finds herself in the house of an unfamiliar important gentleman. Looking around the girl, he says something like «Ah!», Then «Yes!» And leaves ...

Esther was fourteen years old when her godmother suddenly died. What could be worse than orphaned twice! After the funeral, the same gentleman by the name of Kenge appears and, on behalf of a certain Mr. Jarndis, who is aware of the sad situation of the young lady, offers to place her in a first-class educational institution, where she will not need anything and will prepare for "performing a duty in the public arena." The girl gratefully accepts the offer and a week later, in abundance equipped with everything necessary, she leaves for the city of Reading, in Miss Donny's boarding house. Only twelve girls study in it, and the future teacher Esther, with her kind character and desire to help, wins their love and affection. This is the six happiest years of her life.

Upon graduation, John Jarndis (the guardian, as Esther calls him) identifies the girl as a companion to his cousin Ada Kleir. Together with a young relative of Ada, Mr. Richard Karston, they go to the guardian's estate, known as the Cold House. Once upon a time, the house belonged to Mr. Jarndis's cousin, the unfortunate Sir Tom, and was called The Spiers. Almost the most famous case of the so-called Chancellor's Court «Jarndis v. Dzharndisov» was connected with this house. The Chancellor's Court was created in the era of Richard II, who ruled from 1377–1399 to control the Common Law Court and correct its mistakes. But the British hopes for the appearance of the «Court of Justice» were not destined to come true: red tape and abuse of officials led to the fact that the processes lasted for decades, plaintiffs, witnesses, lawyers die, thousands of papers accumulate, and the end of litigation is not foreseen. Such was the dispute over the Dzharndisov’s inheritance - a long-standing trial in which the owner of the Cold House, mired in court cases, forgets about everything, and his home deteriorates under the influence of wind and rain. «It seemed that the house shot a bullet in the forehead, like its desperate owner.» Now, thanks to the efforts of John Jarndis, the house looks transformed, and with the advent of young people comes to life even more. Clever and judicious Esther handed the keys to rooms and pantries. She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... Such was the dispute over the Dzharndisov’s inheritance - a long-standing trial in which the owner of the Cold House, mired in court cases, forgets about everything, and his home deteriorates under the influence of wind and rain. «It seemed that the house shot a bullet in the forehead, like its desperate owner.» Now, thanks to the efforts of John Jarndis, the house looks transformed, and with the advent of young people comes to life even more. Clever and judicious Esther handed the keys to rooms and pantries. She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... Such was the dispute over the Dzharndisov’s inheritance - a long-standing trial in which the owner of the Cold House, mired in court cases, forgets about everything, and his home deteriorates under the influence of wind and rain. «It seemed that the house shot a bullet in the forehead, like its desperate owner.» Now, thanks to the efforts of John Jarndis, the house looks transformed, and with the advent of young people comes to life even more. Clever and judicious Esther handed the keys to rooms and pantries. She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... and his dwelling decays under the influence of wind and rain. «It seemed that the house shot a bullet in the forehead, like its desperate owner.» Now, thanks to the efforts of John Jarndis, the house looks transformed, and with the advent of young people comes to life even more. Clever and judicious Esther handed the keys to rooms and pantries. She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... and his dwelling decays under the influence of wind and rain. «It seemed that the house shot a bullet in the forehead, like its desperate owner.» Now, thanks to the efforts of John Jarndis, the house looks transformed, and with the advent of young people comes to life even more. Clever and judicious Esther handed the keys to rooms and pantries. She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ... She perfectly copes with difficult household chores - not without reason sir John affectionately calls her Hassle! Life in the house proceeds steadily, visits alternate with trips to London theaters and shops, the reception of guests is replaced by long walks ...

Their neighbors are Sir Leicester Deadlock and his wife, who are twenty years younger than him. According to experts, milady has "a flawless exterior of the most groomed mare in the entire stable." Secular chronicle marks her every step, every event in her life. Sir Leicester is not so popular, but does not suffer from this, because he is proud of his aristocratic family and cares only about the purity of his honest name. Neighbors sometimes meet in church, on walks, and Esther for a long time cannot forget the emotional excitement that gripped her at first glance at Lady Deadlock.

The same excitement is experienced by the young employee of the Kenge office, William Gappy: when he sees Esther, Ada and Richard in London on the way to Sir John's estate, at first sight he falls in love with a pretty tender Esther. Being in those parts of the company, Gappi visits the Deadlock Manor and, amazed, stops at one of the family portraits. The face of Lady Dedlock, who was first seen, seems to the clerk strangely familiar. Soon, Gappi arrives at the Cold House and confesses Esther love, but receives a decisive rebuff. Then he hints at the amazing similarities between Esther and Milady. «Honor me with your pen,» William persuades the girl, «and what can I think of to protect your interests and make up your happiness!» Why don’t I scout about you! »He kept his word. Letters of an unknown gentleman fall into his hands, who died of an excessive dose of opium in a dirty, miserable closet and buried in a common grave in a cemetery for the poor. From these letters, Guppy learns about the connection of Captain Houdon (that was the name of this gentleman) and Lady Dedlock, about the birth of their daughter. William immediately shares his discovery with Lady Deadlock, which leads her to extreme embarrassment. But, not giving in to panic, she aristocratically coldly rejects the clerk's arguments and only after his departure exclaims: «Oh, my child, my daughter! So she did not die in the very first hours of her life! » she aristocratically coldly rejects the clerk's arguments and only after his departure exclaims: «Oh, my child, my daughter! So she did not die in the very first hours of her life! » she aristocratically coldly rejects the clerk's arguments and only after his departure exclaims: «Oh, my child, my daughter! So she did not die in the very first hours of her life! »

Esther is seriously ill with smallpox. This happened after the orphaned daughter of a court official, Charlie, appeared on their estate, becoming for Esther both a grateful pupil and a devoted maid. Esther nurses a sick girl and becomes infected herself. Households hide mirrors for a long time so as not to upset Khlopotunya with the look of her turned face. Lady Deadlock, having waited for Esther to recover, secretly meets with her in the park and admits that she is her unhappy mother. In those early days, when Captain Houdon left her, she - as she was convinced - gave birth to a dead child. Could she have suggested that the girl would come to life in the arms of her older sister and be raised in complete secrecy from her mother ... Lady Deadlock sincerely repents and begs forgiveness, but most of all - silence, in order to preserve the familiar life of a rich and noble person and peace spouse. Esther,

No one realizes what happened - not only Sir John burdened with worries, but also Allen Woodcourt, a young doctor in love with Esther. Smart and restrained, he makes a favorable impression on the girl. He lost his father early, and his mother put all her meager means into his education. But, without having enough connections and money in London, Allen cannot earn them for treating the poor. It is not surprising that in the first case, Dr. Woodcourt agrees to the position of ship's doctor and goes to India and China for a long time. Before leaving, he visits the Cold House and excitedly says goodbye to its inhabitants.

Richard is also trying to change his life: he chooses the legal field. Having started working in Kenge’s office, to the displeasure of Gappi, he boasts that he saw through the Jarndis case. Despite Esther's advice not to enter into a tiring lawsuit with the Chancellor Court, Richard lodges an appeal in the hope of suing Sir John for the inheritance for himself and Ada's cousin, with whom he is engaged. He «puts everything at stake that he can scrape together», spends on his duties and taxes small savings of his beloved, but judicial red tape robs him of his health. Secretly marrying Ada, Richard falls ill and dies in the arms of his young wife, never having seen his future son.

And around Lady Deadlock, clouds are gathering. A few reckless words suggest the regular lawyer Talkinghorn at their trail of secrets. This respectable gentleman, whose services are generously paid in high society, masterfully owns the ability to live and makes it his duty to do without any kind of conviction. Talkinghorn suspects that Lady Deadlock, dressed in the dress of a French maid, visited the house and grave of her lover, Captain Houdon. He steals letters from Gappi - so he becomes aware of the details of a love story. In the presence of the four Deadlocks and their guests, Talkinghorn tells this story, which allegedly happened to a certain unknown person. Milady understands that the time has come to find out what he is seeking. In response to her words that she wants to disappear from her home forever,

Esther decides to reveal her secret to the guardian. He meets her confused story with such understanding and tenderness that the girl is overwhelmed with «fiery gratitude» and the desire to work diligently and selflessly. It is easy to guess that when Sir John makes her an offer to become a real mistress of the Cold House, Esther agrees.

A terrible event distracts her from the upcoming pleasant troubles and pulls her out of the Cold House for a long time. It so happened that Talkinghorn broke the agreement with Lady Deadlock and threatened to soon reveal the shameful truth to Sir Lester. After a hard conversation with milady, the lawyer goes home, and in the morning he is found dead. Suspicion falls on Lady Deadlock. Police inspector Bucket conducts an investigation and informs Sir Lester of the results: all evidence gathered against the French maid. She is arrested.

Sir Leicester cannot bear the thought that his wife was «overthrown from the heights she adorned,» and he himself falls, struck by a blow. Milady, feeling hounded, runs away from home without taking any jewelry or money. She left a farewell letter stating that she was innocent and wanted to disappear. Inspector Bucket undertakes to find this troubled soul and turns to Esther for help. They go a long way in the footsteps of Lady Deadlock. A paralyzed spouse, neglecting the threat of the honor of the family, forgives the runaway and looks forward to her return. Dr. Allen Woodcourt, recently returned from China, joins the search. During the separation, he fell in love with Esther even more, but alas ... At the lattice of the memorial cemetery for the poor, he discovers her mother’s lifeless body.

Esther long, painfully experiences what happened, but gradually life takes its toll. Her guardian, learning about Allen's deep feelings, nobly gives way to him. The cold house is emptying: John Jarndis, who is also the guardian, took care of arranging for Esther and Allen an equally glorious smaller estate in Yorkshire, where Allen gets a doctor’s job for the poor. He also called this estate "Cold House". There was a place in it for Ada with a son named in honor of his father Richard. For the very first free money, they attach a room for the guardian ("bruzhalnya") and invite him to stay. Sir John becomes the loving guardian of Ada and her little Richard. They return to the «senior» Cold House, and often come to the Woodcourts to stay: for Esther and her husband, Sir John will forever remain his best friend. So seven happy years pass, and the words of the wise guardian come true: "Both houses are dear to you, but the eldest Cold House claims to be the first."