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Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance) believes Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson) is in his power. But she continues to defy him by sending Rosa (Emma Williams) away to save her from any impending scandal.
Back in London, Hortense (Lilo Baur) angers Tulkinghorn by accusing him of breaking his promise to find her a position as a lady's maid.
Bucket (Alun Armstrong) later drags her down to the station to give her a warning. He makes Hortense write down her address, promising to keep an eye on her.
Esther (Anna Maxwell Martin) plans a visit to London, where she and Ada (Carey Mulligan) see the newly pregnant Caddy (Natalie Press).
However, she has an ulterior motive for the trip: seeing Guppy (Burn Gorman) to tell him to stop investigating her past. When Esther lifts her veil and shows him her scarred face, Guppy's only too happy to agree to her wishes as long as he can retract his proposal.
Ada and Esther go to see Richard and they find him at court. He is soon leaving to join his regiment in Deal, but Vholes (Dermot Crowley) and Skimpole (Nathaniel Parker) are worried by his enormous debts.
Back at Bleak House, Jarndyce (Denis Lawson) tells the girls that Sir Leicester (Timothy West) has invited them to Chesney Wold. Sir Leicester's worried that they may have been offended by his lack of courtesy when they visited Boythorn (Warren Clarke).
Esther's horrified by the idea, and reveals to Jarndyce that Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson) is her mother. As he comforts her, Jarndyce comes clean about his feelings and asks Esther to marry him.
Meanwhile, Sergeant George's (Hugo Speer) furious when Tulkinghorn breaks his promise not to call in his debt, leaving him in financial ruin.
Screenplay by Andrew Davies.
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