Character List


Mr. Bayham Badger A London physician who provides training for Richard Carstone.

Mrs. Bayham Badger His wife, who constantly talks about her three husbands.

Matthew Bagnet The owner of a music shop; a former soldier who has kept up a friendship with George Rouncewell.

Mrs. Bagnet Matthew's sensible, wholesome, good-natured wife.

Malta, Quebec, and Woolwich Bagnet The Bagnets' happy children.

Miss Barbary Lady Dedlock's sister who raised Esther Summerson for a time and who was once Boythorn's beloved.

Lawrence Boythorn The passionate, boisterous, but good-hearted friend of Mr. Jarndyce modeled on the poet Walter Savage Landor, a friend of Dickens).

Inspector Bucket A shrewd, relentless, but amiable and thoughtful detective.

Mrs. Bucket The detective's keen-witted and helpful wife.

William Buffy, M.P. A political friend of Sir Leicester Dedlock.

Richard Carstone A cousin of Ada Clare; a restless, indecisive ward of Mr. Jarndyce.

The Reverend Mr. Chadband A pompous, insincere preacher, the incarnation of religiosity.

Mrs. Chadband Formerly Mrs. Rachael, who knew Esther Summerson as a child.

The Lord High Chancellor The presiding official of the Chancery Court.

Ada Clare A ward of Mr. Jarndyce and a close friend of Esther Summerson; like Esther, she is an ideally virtuous young woman.

Lady Honoria Dedlock The charming, self-controlled wife of Sir Leicester and mother of Esther Summerson; the tragic protagonist of this novel.

Sir Leicester Dedlock A proud, honorable aristocrat with an estate, Chesney Wold, in Lincolnshire.

Volumnia Dedlock A somewhat giddy, elderly cousin of Sir Leicester and a frequent guest at Chesney Wold.

The Misses Donny Twins who run Greenleaf, the boarding school where Esther Summerson spends some of her early years before going to Bleak House.

Miss Flite A well-meaning, ineffectual old woman driven half mad by the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit.

Mr. Gridley ("the man from Shropshire") A man befriended by George Rouncewell and eventually driven to suicide by the frustrations of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.

William Guppy A law clerk who twice proposes to Esther Summerson.

Guster A maidservant of the Snagsbys, she often has "fits."

Captain Hawdon (Nemo) A former army officer and, at the time of the story, an impoverished law writer (copyist); he is Esther Summerson's father.

Mademoiselle Hortense A hot-tempered and vengeful French maid dismissed by Lady Dedlock; eventually she murders Tulkinghorn.

John Jarndyce The benevolent owner of Bleak House and legal guardian of Esther Summerson, Richard Carstone, and Ada Clare.

Tom Jarndyce John Jarndyce's cousin, made suicidal by the frustrations of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit.

Mrs. Jellyby A woman obsessed with social activism and neglectful of her own family

Mr. Jellyby The long-suffering, mild-mannered husband of the neglectful Mrs. Jellyby.

Caddy (Carolyn) Jellyby Mrs. Jellyby's eldest daughter; she becomes a close friend of Esther and marries Prince Turveydrop.

"Peepy" Jellyby The sadly neglected youngest son of the Jellybys.

Jenny The wife of a brickmaker in St. Albans.

Jo (Toughey) A street-crossing sweeper in the Holborn district where the Chancery Court is located.

Jobling (Tony, Weevle) A law-writer friend of William Guppy.

Mr. Kenge A senior partner in the legal firm of Kenge and Carboy.

Mr. Krook A grotesque old man who owns a rag-and-bottle shop and rents a room to Captain Hawdon.

Liz A brickmaker's wife and a friend of Jenny.

Mercury A footman in the household of Sir Leicester Dedlock.

Neckett ("Coavinses") A sheriff's officer who arrests Harold Skimpole.

Charley (Charlotte) Neckett Neckett's daughter who, after his death, become Esther's maid at Bleak House

Mrs. Pardiggle A busybody social worker who rules despotically over her six sons.

Rosa Lady Dedlock's maid; she marries Watt Rouncewell.

Mrs. Rouncewell The kindly old housekeeper for the Dedlocks at Chesney Wold.

Mr. Rouncewell One of her sons, an iron master.

George Rouncewell (Mr. George) Mrs. Rouncewell's other son, owner of a London shooting gallery.

Watt Rouncewell Mrs. Rouncewell's grandson, betrothed to Rosa.

Harold Skimpole A socially cheerful but irresponsible and parasitic man who is protected but eventually repudiated by John Jarndyce.

Grandfather Smallweed A mean, greedy old invalid who personifies ruthless opportunism.

Grandmother Smallweed The opportunist's childish wife.

Bartholomew Smallweed The Smallweeds' grandson.

Judy Smallweed The Smallweeds' granddaughter.

Mr. Snagsby The rather timid owner of a store dealing in stationery supplies used in the law.

Mrs. Snagsby A suspicious and jealous, if intelligent, woman who thinks that her husband may be the father of Jo.

Phil Squod The droll, disfigured, loyal servant of George Rouncewell.

Hon. Bob Stables A young, unemployed friend of the Dedlocks.

Esther Summerson A ward of Mr. Jarndyce and daughter of Lady Dedlock; she narrates a large part of the story.

Little Swills A comic vocalist.

Mr. Tangle A lawyer in the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit.

Mr. Tulkinghorn Sir Leicester Dedlock's chief legal counsel; a secretive, arrogant, obscurely vindictive man determined to discover Lady Dedlock's secret.

Prince Turveydrop A charming young dancing-master overworked by his father; he marries Caddy Jellyby.

Mr. Turveydrop The founder of a dancing school, for which he takes all the credit while his son Prince does all the work.

Mr. Vholes A jargon-speaking, unprincipled lawyer advising Richard Carstone.

Allan Woodcourt A noble-hearted young doctor who marries Esther Summerson.

Mrs. Woodcourt Allan's elderly mother, somewhat of an interfering old "biddy."