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Esther's (Anna Maxwell Martin) in shock following Lady Dedlock's (Gillian Anderson) confession that she's her mother. But she keeps her word and refuses to tell Ada (Carey Mulligan) her secret.
Meanwhile, with Boythorn (Warren Clarke) and Jarndyce (Denis Lawson) away on business, Esther and Ada go to the local pub, where Esther is surprised to see Richard (Patrick Kennedy).
Richard's interest in Chancery has become an obsession, and Esther is worried when she discovers that, on Skimpole's (Nathaniel Parker) advice, he has now employed his own lawyer, the vampiric Mr Vholes (Dermot Crowley).
Esther can see that Vholes intends to bleed Richard dry, but there is little she can do to prevent it.
Smallweed's (Phil Davis) many hours of searching through Krook's (Johnny Vegas) old legal papers finally pays off when he discovers Captain Hawdon's (John Lynch) bundle of love letters.
Guppy (Burn Gorman) offers Smallweed money for the letters. But, Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance) steps out of the shadows and warns him off. Much to Smallweed's astonishment – and great delight – Tulkinghorn offers him a much bigger sum for the letters.
Having gathered all his evidence, Tulkinghorn visits Chesney Wold. There, he shows his hand, relating Lady Dedlock's scandalous history to herself and Sir Leicester (Timothy West) as if it were that of 'a townsman's of Mr Rouncewell'. Sir Leicester finds it too shocking to be believed.
When they are alone, Lady Dedlock tells Tulkinghorn that she will flee Chesney Wold that night, before the scandal breaks. But he turns the tables on her, claiming that, in order to protect the family honour, he will keep her secret, as long as she does nothing. Now, she is totally in his power.
Screenplay by Andrew Davies.
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