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Oh, this chapter is a doozy. It's like all the emotional melodrama of high school, packed into a ten-minute conversation. Get ready to get kind of punchy – all Shmoop wants to do is smack Arthur and Little Dorrit around a bit.
So, yeah, alone at last.
Arthur is all, hey, how come you're kind of MIA recently?
Little Dorrit starts to cry. Then she says she's just been busy. And anyway, what's wrong with Arthur? Has he been sick or something?
Arthur is stunned that she can tell and fesses up that he was kind of in love with someone but it didn't work out.
Little Dorrit asks whether it's someone she knows. Flora, perhaps? Arthur is all, ew, no! Then he tells her that he now realizes he's too old for romantic love.
Totally oblivious, he keeps going: Little Dorrit should think of him as a friend and tell him all her secrets. He knows she's always going to be tied down to the whole taking-care-of-the-Dorrits routine.
Little Dorrit is intensely pained by this, when suddenly... Maggie pipes up that Little Dorrit should tell Arthur about the princess and the old woman and the shadow. Little Dorrit blushes, gets embarrassed, but then plays it off like it's just some nonsense fairytale she told Maggie and doesn't remember anymore.
Arthur buys this. He really is just totally terrible at reading people.
He goes on: does Little Dorrit love anyone? Doesn't she want to share with Arthur? He wants to be her friend and confidant.
As she is saying "no, no," the door bursts open and in comes... Pancks.
Pancks is all weird and doing his "fortune telling" thing. He keeps exchanging meaningful glances with Arthur.
Pancks and Arthur go out in the hallway. Pancks has clearly discovered something super awesome about the Dorrits. He leaves it to Arthur to break the news.