Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 1, Chapter 16

By Charles Dickens

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Book 1, Chapter 16

Nobody's Weakness     

  • Arthur sets out for a long walk to Mr. Meagles's house. He thinks about all sorts of things, but mainly about what he should do for a living now and how he can make a lot of money to set up Little Dorrit with a house.
  • On the way he runs into Doyce, who – it turns out – has already met with success all over Europe. But he's not giving up on trying to push his awesome invention through the Circumlocution Office.
  • Doyce tells Arthur that he's looking for a partner in his business – someone to do accounting and deal with clients.
  • The Meagleses' house is super cute and has a Goldilocks quality: everything in it is just right, not too big, not too small.
  • Arthur is totally into the beautiful Pet, even though she is a spoiled, bratty girl, and he is twice her age.
  • He makes himself promise not to fall in love with her (which is sort of funny, since that's not really under his control).  Instead, he kind of decides that the person who is in love with her is an internal "nobody" – that's the deal with the chapter title.
  • Meagles is fixated on being patronizing to Doyce and treating him like he's an absentminded professor – which he isn't.
  • At dinner Tattycoram tells the gang that she has seen Miss Wade. This makes Pet freak out, in a totally obnoxious way. Tattycoram is furious, and Meagles asks her to count to 25 before saying anything in order to calm down. He does this a lot, since she is constantly about to start crying or yelling or screaming.
  • In any case, it turns out that Miss Wade wrote her a letter and said that if Tattycoram ever felt like she didn't want to be with the Meagleses anymore, she could come live with Miss Wade instead.
  • They all kind of make up, and when Tattycoram goes away, Meagles is very proud of their having rescued her from the orphanage.
  • Finally, after dinner, Arthur talks to Meagles about potentially becoming Doyce's business partner. Meagles says he'll talk to Doyce and hopefully they can work it out.
  • Arthur goes up to his room (he's staying overnight at the Meagleses') psyched that he's doing such a good job of not falling in love with Pet – even as he is thinking about her nonstop.

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