Bleak House

Bleak House

by

Charles Dickens

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Mrs. Rouncewell Character Analysis

Mrs. Rouncewell is the housekeeper at Sir Leicester Dedlock’s country house, Chesney Wold. She is the mother of George and Mr. Rouncewell and the grandmother of Watt. Mrs. Rouncewell loves both her sons, but George has always been her favorite. She is devastated when he leaves home and believes he has been killed in the army. Although she loves Mr. Rouncewell, she does not understand his decision to leave Sir Leicester’s service and to go into industry instead. She accepts his decision but views it as a rejection of her lifestyle and a proud Rouncewell tradition. Mrs. Rouncewell is a loyal servant to Sir Leicester and lives out the rest of her days in this role. She is delighted by George’s return, who is more like her than Mr. Rouncewell, and enjoys the discipline of service to reign in his wandering temperament.
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Mrs. Rouncewell Character Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Rouncewell appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
...the horses in the stables and the dogs in the kennels dream of summer days. Mrs. Rouncewell , the housekeeper, looks out at the rain from her sitting room at Chesney Wold.... (full context)
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Sir Leicester is a good master and relies on Mrs. Rouncewell to manage all household affairs. Mrs. Rouncwell has two sons, but one joined the army... (full context)
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Mrs. Rouncewell ’s grandson, Watt, is currently down at Chesney Wold for an apprenticeship and is in... (full context)
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...enters the room and tells them that two men have come to view the house. Mrs. Rouncewell is indignant because the house is not currently open to visitors, but Rosa insists that... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...terrace, Watt asks Rosa to tell them the ghost story attached to the house, but Mrs. Rouncewell says that it is not given out to visitors. (full context)
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Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
When Mr. Guppy and his friend have gone, however, Mrs. Rouncewell relates the story to Rosa and Watt. During the English Civil War, when Parliament rebels... (full context)
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Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Mrs. Rouncewell concludes that the lady’s steps are still heard today whenever there is a death or... (full context)
Chapter 12
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
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Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...so much gossip that even the birds in the trees seem to discuss their return. Mrs. Rouncewell and Rosa greet them, and Lady Dedlock is struck by Rosa’s beauty. She compliments the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...Dedlock has several parties to attend that night, and Sir Leicester is left alone with Mrs. Rouncewell . He complains that the rain is very loud on the Ghost’s Walk. Mrs. Rouncewell... (full context)
Chapter 28
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...when Volumnia comments on how pretty Rosa, Lady Dedlock’s maid, is. Lady Dedlock says that Mrs. Rouncewell discovered Rosa and Volumnia asks about the housekeeper. Lady Dedlock tells her that Mrs. Rouncewell... (full context)
Chapter 34
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...the hall and George leans gloomily against the fireplace. Eventually, Mr. Tulkinghorn’s client, who is Mrs. Rouncewell , exits his chamber. George does not turn around as she goes past, but she... (full context)
Chapter 40
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Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...so volatile and unruly that, currently, no one is ruling the country. At Chesney Wold, Mrs. Rouncewell expects that the Dedlocks will assemble to discuss this calamity and she has prepared the... (full context)
Chapter 55
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
Mrs. Bagnet and Mrs. Rouncewell sit in a carriage together and travel through a landscape of half constructed railway lines,... (full context)
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Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
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Mrs. Bagnet hopes Mrs. Rouncewell can persuade George to get a lawyer, and Mrs. Rouncewell says that Sir Leicester will... (full context)
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Mrs. Rouncewell embraces her son, and George begs her forgiveness. Mrs. Rouncewell says that there is nothing... (full context)
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Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
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...should speak with Mr. Jarndyce, who has promised to find him one for him, and Mrs. Rouncewell says that they must send for Mr. Rouncewell, George’s brother. George begs her not to... (full context)
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Mrs. Bagnet prepares to leave, and Mrs. Rouncewell says that she must go to Sir Leicester’s townhouse and speak to Lady Dedlock. Mrs.... (full context)
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Mrs. Rouncewell says that she has received a letter accusing Lady Dedlock. Although Mrs. Rouncewell does not... (full context)
Chapter 56
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Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...massively in a short period of time and it is difficult for him to speak. Mrs. Rouncewell is at his bedside and he wonders where he is, London or Chesney Wold. (full context)
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Sir Leicester begs to see Lady Dedlock. Mrs. Rouncewell fetches the letter upon the table without reading it and gives it to Sir Leicester.... (full context)
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...Bucket immediately understands. 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... (full context)
Chapter 58
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...when he talks, lies beside the window and watches the snow fall in the street. Mrs. Rouncewell stays with him and Sir Leicester looks up eagerly whenever there is a noise in... (full context)
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Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
George waits in the room below, and his mother, Mrs. Rouncewell , goes to him every now and then and expresses her concern. She fears that... (full context)
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Volumnia sits with Sir Leicester when Mrs. Rouncewell is absent but is easily bored with her duty as caregiver. When Mrs. Rouncewell returns,... (full context)
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...for lighting a candle 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... (full context)
Chapter 63
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Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...luxurious—and is delighted to meet the family. However, he tells his brother that he wants Mrs. Rouncewell to erase him from the will; since he has no children, he wants Mr. Rouncewell’s... (full context)
Chapter 66
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...of a genuine desire to win the battle. Phil lives in the groundskeeper’s cottage, and Mrs. Rouncewell is very happy to have her son back. The Bagnets also come to visit often. (full context)