From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
Well, sort of. Affery notices that suddenly business seems to be picking up, and Flintwinch is constantly going out to the City. (Brain snack: the downtown business section of London was called the City – this is where all the financial companies and the stock exchange were.)
This stresses Affery out. Also, the constant weird house noises also stress her out.
One day, when Little Dorrit is doing needlework at Mrs. Clennam's, Pancks stops by.
He acts sort of odd, pretending to ask about Mrs. Clennam's health on behalf of Casby, but he's clearly really there to see Little Dorrit.
Mrs. Clennam gets suspicious and interrogates Little Dorrit about him. Little Dorrit doesn't know anything, so Mrs. Clennam interrogates her a little bit about what her life in poverty is like. It's sucky, and Little Dorrit tells her so.
Then – get ready for this, because it knocks Affery for a huge loop – out of nowhere... OK, are you sitting down? No, really, sit down – it's about to get crazy....
Mrs. Clennam kisses Little Dorrit! Oh, for Pete's sake, on the forehead, people! Calm down and get your heads out of the gutter.
Still, who ever thought Mrs. Clennam would kiss anyone? It's nuts.
Little Dorrit leaves and Affery sees her out. As she turns to go back into the house, the wind slams shut the door, locking her out, and it starts to rain.
Suddenly, Affery is accosted by... Rigaud! Or, as we will now call him, Blandois.
He introduces himself as a traveler with business (Clennam's is a financial services company, remember?), and offers to break open the house door if Affery will go find him someone to talk to about business.
Affery is a little wary but doesn't think she has a choice.
He opens the window, then the door, really quickly. (Seems like he may have had some practice.)
In the house, he has a mild panic attack at a strange noise and some falling dust.