Allan Woodcourt believes in George Rouncewell’s innocence but points out that circumstantial evidence is strongly against the accused. Esther, Allan, Mr. Jarndyce, and the Bagnets visit George in prison and are dismayed at his refusal to have a lawyer (he wants his own innocence, not legal maneuverings, to clear his name). He watches Esther closely as she leaves, then tells Mr. Jarndyce that on the night of the murder, a figure like hers went past him on the dark staircase. Mrs. Bagnet visits George’s mother, hoping that she will be able to persuade her son to accept legal counsel.
After an intermission of two chapters, Dickens the artist senses that continuity demands a return to the murder mystery. Drama is heightened by George’s perilous obstinacy. A possible, major “piece of the puzzle” turns up when George remarks about the figure he saw but could not identify.