Bleak House

Bleak House

by

Charles Dickens

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George is an ex-soldier who runs a shooting gallery near the Chancery court and who keeps a manservant named Phil. George is a bachelor and has lived a rootless life. He has never settled anywhere since his time in the army and, although he has a family, he is too ashamed to contact them and tell them where he is. George left home very young to become a soldier and never returned. His mother is Mrs. Rouncewell, Sir Leicester Dedlock’s housekeeper at Chesney Wold, and his brother is Mr. Rouncewell, who became a successful ironmonger in the north of England. George is an honorable, gentle, and kindhearted man and does not intend to hurt his mother, who is heartbroken by his departure. He is so good and modest that he underestimates how much people care for him and believe that once he is gone, they will easily forget him. However, this assessment is clearly unfounded: many people care deeply for George, including his good friends Mr. Bagnet and Mrs. Bagnet, and George’s mother and brother welcome him warmly when he returns home at the novel’s end. George has no mind for business and has gone into debt to start his gallery, which has subsequently failed to make money. He borrowed this money from Mr. Smallweed, who charges him so much in interest that he pays the amount back several times. He has been given security on the debt by Mr. Bagnet and is deeply ashamed when Mr. Smallweed unexpectedly calls the money in. George is wrongfully accused of Mr. Tulkinghorn’s murder at the end of the novel, but he is released when the policeman, Mr. Bucket, discovers the real culprit is Mademoiselle Hortense. George is suspected at first because he has been blackmailed by Mr. Tulkinghorn: to save himself from debtor’s prison, George gave Mr. Tulkinghorn a letter from Captain Hawdon that revealed the Captain’s youthful affair with Lady Dedlock, which resulted in the birth of Esther Summerson.
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George Character Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the character George appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 21
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...Judy calls in Charley and allows her to eat the table scraps. A man named George arrives and asks to see Mr. Smallweed. He is tall and sturdy and has the... (full context)
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George wonders aloud what Mr. Smallweed does all day and suggests that, as soon as he... (full context)
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George asks what the man in the city will do to him—and, under his breath, asks... (full context)
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Mr. Smallweed says that, if George had found “the Captain,” his fortune would have been made. George says that, although he... (full context)
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...that Captain Hawdon has tricked him, and he grows angry as he thinks about this. George says that he was often with Captain Hawdon when the Captain was ready to kill... (full context)
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George gets up to leave, teasing Mr. Smallweed as he goes about the possibility of his... (full context)
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George wakes Phil and tells him to close the gallery for the night. Phil jumps up... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...when Esther and Mr. Jarndyce have gone to visit Richard, they meet his combat instructor, George. Mr. Jarndyce asks George about his customers at the gallery, and George tells them that... (full context)
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Richard sees George in the crowd and calls him over. George asks them quietly if they know a... (full context)
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Outside George’s gallery, they meet an old man who says that he is a doctor and that... (full context)
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George leads Miss Flite to Gridley’s bedside while the others wait. Mr. Jarndyce, who has heard... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Morning breaks over Leicester Square, where George and Phil sleep in the shooting gallery. When the sun is up, the two men... (full context)
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Phil tells George that he became a blacksmith and took over the “tinker’s” business, but he was badly... (full context)
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...and Judy drags him back slightly. Mr. Smallweed eyes the surrounding weapons rather nervously and George asks him for his pipe. This sends Mr. Smallweed into an impotent rage and he... (full context)
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Mr. Smallweed tells George that he “his friend in the city” has recently done a deal with Richard Carstone,... (full context)
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George says that he will come, but that he will not show the lawyer anything unless... (full context)
Chapter 27
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They have not gone far in the cab when George realizes that they are on their way to Mr. Tulkinghorn’s. They carry Mr. Smallweed upstairs... (full context)
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George listens to Mr. Tulkinghorn’s proposal and resolutely decides he wants nothing to do with the... (full context)
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At last George says that he will answer Mr. Tulkinghorn later, if he may be allowed to consult... (full context)
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Once outside, George breaks away from Mr. Smallweed and makes his way to Elephant and Castle. He passes... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet laments that George never married as she leads him into the house; he is always such a wanderer,... (full context)
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Mr. Bagnet and Woolwich return. Mr. Bagnet is an old soldier, like George, and has a very upright bearing. George says that he has come to ask Mr.... (full context)
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Dinner is served in a very regimented manner, and after they have eaten, George and the Bagnets talk. George tells them of his dilemma and addresses himself to Mr.... (full context)
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George leaves the Bagnets’ home and returns to Mr. Tulkinghorn’s. Mr. Tulkinghorn answers the door and... (full context)
Chapter 34
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In George’s shooting gallery, George is shocked to receive a letter from Mr. Smallweed which asks for... (full context)
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...and Mr. and Mrs. Bagnet appear at the entrance of the gallery. Mrs. Bagnet greets George warmly; they have come to sign the security on George’s debt, which is due to... (full context)
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George is distraught to have let his friends down and hopes that the issue can be... (full context)
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...Smallweed is perched in his usual seat and greets the two ex-soldiers with a leer. George asks for his pipe and asks Mr. Smallweed why “his friend in the city” has... (full context)
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George insists that he wants to resolve the dispute amicably and to renew his debt, as... (full context)
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Once outside, George and Mr. Bagnet solemnly pace together. They agree to visit Mr. Tulkinghorn, but, when they... (full context)
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Mr. Bagnet tries to cheer George up, and the clerk goes into Mr. Tulkinghorn’s office again to tell him that they... (full context)
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Mr. Tulkinghorn says that, if George chooses to do this, he will write a document which frees Mr. Bagnet from all... (full context)
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George has dinner with the Bagnets, but he is not his usual cheerful self and even... (full context)
Chapter 47
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...Miss Flite, however, remembering Gridley—whose room she now occupies—suggests that they take the boy to George and leads Mr. Woodcourt there with Jo. (full context)
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George is pleased to see Miss Flite and listens gravely to Jo’s story. Mr. Woodcourt tells... (full context)
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Mr. Woodcourt tells George that Jo will likely die, and George solemnly assures the doctor that the boy will... (full context)
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Jo lies in bed very ill. Phil and George take good care of him, many people come to visit. Esther, Mr. Jarndyce, and Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 49
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...and the dinner almost ruined. They sit down to eat, and Mr. Bagnet says that George will no doubt call in. The Bagnets have been worried about the trooper recently as... (full context)
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After dinner, the children wash the dishes and George arrives. He is very pale and tells them that Jo has died. George gives Mrs.... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet says that George has been feeling low, and Mr. Bucket commiserates with him. Mrs. Bagnet introduces Woolwich, and... (full context)
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Mr. Bucket follows George into the street and, as soon as they are some distance from the house, tells... (full context)
Chapter 52
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...is walking in the garden, when Mr. Woodcourt hurries towards her and tells her that George has been arrested for Mr. Tulkinghorn’s murder. Esther is horrified when she remembers Lady Dedlock’s... (full context)
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Mr. Woodcourt explains that George is the one who sent him to see Mr. Jarndyce and the rest of the... (full context)
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They are allowed into George’s cell and immediately let the trooper know that they believe he is innocent. They are... (full context)
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George explains that, even if he had a lawyer, the man would probably not believe him... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet, who has heard the conversation, urges George to take Mr. Jarndyce’s advice. Mrs. Bagnet complains that George has always been willful and... (full context)
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...and immediately bursts into tears. She composes herself quickly though, and tells Esther that although George will never admit this, his mother is still alive and must be summoned. Mrs. Bagnet... (full context)
Chapter 54
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Mr. Bucket says that he arrested George because he knew that the soldier had been with Mr. Tulkinghorn that night and that... (full context)
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...solve the crime. He told Mrs. Bucket to relay to Mademoiselle Hortense that it was George who had committed the murder. Mrs. Bucket then stuck close by Mademoiselle Hortense and told... (full context)
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...silenced the gun using curtain fabric from Chesney Wold, and that she, Lady Dedlock, and George all visited Mr. Tulkinghorn that night in a relatively short space of time. The day... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...together and travel through a landscape of half constructed railway lines, towards the prison where George is held. Mrs. Rouncewell is overcome with gratitude and begins to cry. She tells Mrs.... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet explains that George is a good friend but that he is often in low spirits. He came to... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet hopes Mrs. Rouncewell can persuade George to get a lawyer, and Mrs. Rouncewell says that Sir Leicester will help prove George’s... (full context)
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Mrs. Rouncewell embraces her son, and George begs her forgiveness. Mrs. Rouncewell says that there is nothing to forgive and George explains... (full context)
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George thanks Mrs. Bagnet profusely for bringing his mother to him and agrees to get a... (full context)
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...believe it, she begs Lady Dedlock to reveal any secret she knows which could save George. Mrs. Rouncewell leaves, and Mr. Guppy is announced. He comes timidly into the room and... (full context)
Chapter 56
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...He promises Sir Leicester that he will find Lady Dedlock and tells Mrs. Rouncewell that George is no longer a suspect and that she must take care of Sir Leicester. Next,... (full context)
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Mr. Bucket rides to George’s gallery and finds the trooper has just returned from Mr. Jarndyce’s house. Mr. Bucket asks... (full context)
Chapter 58
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George waits in the room below, and his mother, Mrs. Rouncewell, goes to him every now... (full context)
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...bored with her duty as caregiver. When Mrs. Rouncewell returns, Volumnia begins to talk about George—she adores a soldier—and Mrs. Rouncewell explains to Sir Leicester that her son has been found.... (full context)
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...when it is not yet dark, although night has clearly fallen. Mrs. Rouncewell and now George stay by his bedside and, at last, gently persuade him to light some candles. (full context)
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George keeps watch all through the night and Volumnia stalks the halls, wondering forlornly what will... (full context)
Chapter 63
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George is now an attendant for Sir Leicester and goes on a visit to an industrial... (full context)
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Watt goes to tell his father and, when George is shown into Mr. Rouncewell’s office, he tells his brother that his name is Mr.... (full context)
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George is impressed with his brother’s success—his home is extremely luxurious—and is delighted to meet the... (full context)
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The brothers are very alike and get on well. Mr. Rouncewell hopes to incorporate George into the family business, but George explains that he has taken a post as Sir... (full context)
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George asks Mr. Rouncewell to look at a letter he has written. The letter is to... (full context)
Chapter 66
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...the family crypt. Sir Leicester is an invalid now and goes about the grounds with George by his side. Sir Leicester still maintains his dispute with Mr. Boythorn, but Mr. Boythorn... (full context)