Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 24

By Charles Dickens

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Book 2, Chapter 24

The Evening of a Long Day

  • Things are looking up for Merdle. Now he wants a title, and not just be a Baronet (the lowest of the aristocratic titles). The Barnacles are looking into it.
  • Meanwhile Fanny and Sparkler are now in their new house. It's kind of a tiny, crappy house in the best possible location.
  • Fanny is super bored. Her house is boring, her reflection is boring, the view out her windows is boring. And her husband? He's the most boring of all.
  • They have nothing to talk about. And every time he opens his mouth to say anything, even to answer one of her questions, she immediately shuts him up. Ah, married life is grand.
  • It turns out they've been stuck at home for some time. First there was the mourning period for Dorrit and Frederick Dorrit. (Brain snack: back then, there was a socially enforced amount of time people who were in mourning had to wear black and couldn't go out to do anything fun. For how long? Well, it depended on who it was that had died – in this case a father, so probably at least several months.)
  • Also, Fanny is preggers, which also limits her social life.
  • Sparkler suggests that she could still party a little bit, but Fanny doesn't want her body compared with those who aren't pregnant.
  • Finally Fanny suggests that they need to just have people over to their house all the time. All. The. Time. Because otherwise she is going to go crazy.
  • Sparkler suggests Amy.
  • Fanny is psyched at the idea of Amy coming, but obviously Amy alone won't be much fun. And besides, she is right now taking care of Tip, who is ill with malaria.
  • Suddenly there is a tiny knock on the door.
  • It's Merdle! He says repeatedly that he was out for a walk and decided to say hello. He is totally unable to make any conversation.
  • He asks Fanny for a penknife (a knife that was used to sharpen quills used for writing). She offers him a mother-of-pearl one, but he prefers a tortoiseshell one instead. She asks him to try not to get ink on it. OK, then.
  • He takes it and leaves. Fanny and Sparkler continuing their boring evening.

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