Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 28

By Charles Dickens

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Book 2, Chapter 28

An Appearance in the Marshalsea

  • Arthur is still way depressed and behind bars. He is totally antisocial and mostly just mopes around, miserable.
  • One day, Ferdinand Barnacle, the one not-so-dumb Circumlocution Office employee, comes to visit him. We have to admit, this visit is sort of confusing. Why on earth would this guy come see Arthur in jail? But whatevs.
  • Ferdinand basically comes to tell Arthur to lay off the Doyce invention business once and for all.
  • Arthur is sort of confused, and Ferdinand tells him this basic truth about people: "nobody wants to know of the invention, and nobody cares twopence-halfpenny about it [...] Everybody is ready to dislike and ridicule any invention. You have no idea how many people want to be left alone" (2.28.30-33).
  • They then talk a little bit about Merdle and the crash.
  • Next Arthur has a visit from Mr. Rugg.
  • Mr. Rugg is there to tell him that it looks bad that he's in the Marshalsea – where the most low-class debtors also put – instead of the fancy new jail, which is just for the super-broke.
  • Arthur says no, and Rugg tells him that there's a soldier waiting to see him.
  • A soldier? What the what?
  • Into the room come Pancks, Cavalletto, and... Blandois! Shocker!
  • Cavalletto tells Arthur how by asking around all the immigrant communities of London, he finally managed to locate Blandois, who had been living in disguise as a retired soldier.
  • Arthur demands why Blandois disappeared and created suspicion around Mrs. Clennam.
  • Blandois tells him that he had a certain thing to sell to Mrs. Clennam, and when she wouldn't meet his price, he decided to make himself scarce for a while.
  • Arthur is furious and frustrated that, because he is in jail, he can't take Blandois to Mrs. Clennam's house and clear her name.
  • Instead, he gets him a pen and paper and makes him write a letter to his mother explaining where he's been. The letter also says that she better come up with the money in a week.
  • Pancks goes out with the letter.
  • Blandois starts talking about Pet, and how good-looking she is.
  • Arthur kind of mocks him for being Gowan's servant – and when Blandois answers that he isn't a servant but rather a friend, Arthur is all, oh, a friend who sells out his friends?
  • Thus, Blandois knows that Arthur knows all about the spying he was doing on the Gowans for Miss Wade.
  • Eventually, Flintwinch shows up with an answer to the letter.
  • But first – a letter for Arthur from his mother that basically says she's totally writing him off, since he's landed in debtor's jail. Thanks, mom.
  • The answer to Blandois is – sounds good (i.e., Blandois will get his money in a week).
  • Everyone leaves the room, and Cavalletto follows Blandois out.

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 28 Study Group

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