Esther falls ill and is attended by Allan. To keep her and himself closely in touch with Ada and Richard, Mr. Jarndyce decides to remain in London for an extended period of time and invite Allan’s mother as a guest. Allan has decided to forego his projected long voyage. Mr. Jarndyce helps him secure an appointment in Yorkshire, where he will provide medical care for the poor.
Esther often visits Ada, whose love for Richard remains as strong as ever, despite his poverty and dismal prospects. Richard is languid, unkempt, and distracted. Esther surmises that he has lost faith in Vholes. Ada’s greatest fear is that Richard will not live long enough to see the child she is now carrying.
Dickens now prepares us for Richard’s seemingly imminent demise. The constant presence of Allan Woodcourt also prepares us for another imminent event: his engagement to Esther.