Bleak House: “In Mr. Tulkinghorn’s Chambers”

Chapter 42: “In Mr. Tulkinghorn’s Chambers”

Summary: Now we go back to London with Mr. T. Old Snagsby comes to visit and complains that the French maid Hortense has been bugging him and making his wife jealous. Then Hortense comes and confronts Mr. T. She wants a new job, or to help him ruin Lady Dedlock’s life. Mr. T. tells her no to both and threatens to have her arrested if she comes around anymore. She storms off spouting out threats.

Reaction: It was short. I don’t know if T should have dismissed Hortense like that. He seems to underestimate women, and I think she could be big trouble for his plans of making lots of money.

Prediction: Hortense is not done with them yet. She doesn’t seem too afraid of prison, and she is desperate for revenge. Trouble is brewing for Lady Dedlock, and Esther too.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Fear and loathing of French foreigners. If it were modern, she’d be Mexican.

Our Lesson: French maids may be a sex symbol, but they can also be trouble.


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