Summary and Analysis Chapter 59 – Esther’s Narrative


At 3 a.m., after a hard, hurried journey, Bucket and Esther reach London again. Searching through many shabby streets, Bucket eventually passes on to Chancery Lane where, by accident, they meet Allan Woodcourt, who has been attending Richard, described by Allan as not ill but “depressed and faint.” Bucket drives the coach to Snagsby’s place: he thinks that Guster, the servant, “has a letter somewhere” that will assist him in his search.

Guster is in one of her fits. Bucket assigns Allan the task of extracting the letter from her. In the meantime, the detective reproaches Mrs. Snagsby for the folly of being jealous of her husband. The doctor obtains the letter and passes it on to Bucket who, in turn, asks Esther to read it. It is a letter from her mother saying that she is on her way to the place where she has chosen to die. Guster confesses that she encountered a wretchedly dressed stranger who asked her how to find the paupers’ burying ground. Bucket and Esther hurry to that place and find what seems to be the body of Jenny at the gate. Esther discovers, however, that the dead woman dressed in Jenny’s clothes is not Jenny — it is Esther’s mother, Lady Dedlock, “cold and dead.”


Here ends one of the book’s central actions: the mystery of Lady Dedlock’s secret. Dickens must now devote his attention, in the few chapters remaining, to bringing the other main lines of action to a close. Esther and Allan must be brought together and the fate of Richard and Ada remains to be clarified.