Summary and Analysis Chapter 56 – Pursuit


Not long after Lady Dedlock has left the house, Volumnia (a cousin in her sixties) discovers Sir Leicester unconscious on the floor of the library; he has had a stroke. Recovering somewhat but still unable to speak distinctly, he writes “My Lady” on a slate and is told that she has gone out. After reading her letter, he commissions Bucket to find her and give her his message: “Full forgiveness.” The detective reassures old Mrs. Rouncewell that her son George is “discharged honourable,” then he searches Lady Dedlock’s room for clues that might help him locate her. He finds and keeps the signatured handkerchief that Esther left in the brickmaker’s house, the one that Lady Dedlock discovered there. Bucket then goes to the shooting gallery and gets Esther’s address from George. He then visits Mr. Jarndyce, explains his mission, and asks him to allow Esther to go with him in search of her mother. Meanwhile, Lady Dedlock is wandering in the area of the brickmakers’ kilns in St. Albans.


Bucket continues to be impressive as a skillful detective who is also a politic and warm-hearted human being. Sir Leicester continues to show only his better side. The story now turns into a worried, rather desperate rescue effort.