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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit

by Charles Dickens

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 8 Summary

The Dowager Mrs. Gowan is reminded that 'It Never Does'

  • Hey! Arthur! Remember him?
  • So the whole Doyce & Clennam operation is going quite well. They are good friends, good business partners, and generally getting along swimmingly. Having Arthur do the CFO stuff is great and makes it so Doyce can do the COO stuff. (Sorry, we'll pull back on the business school lingo. CFO = chief financial officer, which is what it sounds like. COO = chief operational officer, who figures out how the company should run and what it should do on a daily basis. OK, turning off the MBA lecture now.)
  • Doyce is still bummed that his awesome invention has never been patented or used, but he's totally too old to fight the Circumlocution Office.
  • Arthur volunteers for the job and goes at it with gusto.
  • That basically becomes his main activity, besides regular Doyce & Clennam work and visiting the Meagleses.
  • Arthur thinks of himself as an old man. Although he misses Little Dorrit, he thinks of her like a child he took under his protection, who he now doesn't get to watch grow up.
  • But still, he really misses her. Sort of a surprising amount. (Dude, take a hint – right?)
  • One day when he's hanging out what the Meagleses, Mrs. Gowan shows up.
  • She's obnoxious and patronizing and basically comes there on purpose to pick some kind of fight.
  • The conversation is pretty funny, since she sucks, and since Meagles isn't too shy to tell her so, but we'll just sum it up: 1) Poor, poor Gowan, who threw it all away to marry Pet. 2) Poor, poor me, who totally objected to this marriage all along. 3) Hey, rich Mr. Meagles, throw some money their way because Gowan is used to a certain lifestyle and they're going to have a baby soon (!). And 4) Don't sound so surprised about any of this, since you had to have known it when you were plotting to marry your daughter off to him.
  • Meagles is all furious and flabbergasted by this malarkey. His main retorts are: 1) Um, it's actually Pet who's the sad one here. 2) I have never been happy about this marriage and am still not happy about it. 3) Hope he gets by on his income, whatever it might be. And finally 4) You are smoking crack if you think we had anything to do with this.
  • The visit goes poorly.
  • Mrs. Gowan ends by saying that, just as she always suspected, people in different classes can't really get along.
  • The narrator then busts out that Mrs. Gowan planned the whole thing so she wouldn't have to have the Meagles in her life, and so that her other friends would have an easier time believing all the stuff she constantly peddles about Gowan and the marriage.
  • That's pretty cold.

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