Bucket and Esther set out on their search. They stop first at a police station, where a detective gives a description of Lady Dedlock. They search far and wide through the dock area, then proceed to St. Albans. At a tea stop, Bucket learns that a figure like the one he seeks has gone on ahead. He explains to Esther that he himself removed Jo from St. Albans sometime ago to keep “this very matter of Lady Dedlock quiet.” He also tells how he was assisted by Skimpole, who accepted a five-pound bribe.
Jenny, they learn, has gone to London, so, thinking that they might learn something from her, Bucket and Esther go back to the city.
Dickens uses the search for Lady Dedlock partly as a way of giving a further display of his detective’s shrewdness and persistence and partly as a way of clearing up the mystery of Jo’s disappearance from St. Albans after Esther took charge of him. In any assessment of Skimpole’s character, Bucket’s comments about him would have to be taken in account.