Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 6

By Charles Dickens

Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 6

Cut Adrift

  • We drop in on a pub called the Six Jolly Fellowship-Porters (best name, or best name?), which is owned by a tough woman named Miss Potterson. It looks like Miss Potterson has had quite enough of one of her customers, a dude named Riderhood. We seriously hope his first name is LittleRed.
  • She gives him one last pint and tells him to make the most of it, because she won't serve him any more. He tries to argue, but it's no use. Don't mess with Miss Potterson.
  • The guy is mad that he gets turned out of the bar when men like Gaffer Hexam are allowed to stay as long as they want. He tells Potterson that he used to be Gaffer's partner along the river. This should ring a bell, since Gaffer's former partner (Riderhood) also showed up in the first chapter of this story.
  • In order to take the focus off himself and put it on Gaffer, Riderhood tells Miss Potterson that Gaffer is responsible for half of the dead men he finds in the river.
  • After Riderhood leaves, Miss Potterson sends for Lizzie Hexam with the thought of talking to her about her (Lizzie's) father, Gaffer Hexam.
  • When Lizzie gets there, Miss Potterson tells her that Lizzie and her father are no longer welcome at the pub. Even if Riderhood's accusation isn't true, Miss Potterson can't have someone accused of murder hanging around her business. Potterson closes by giving Lizzie a piece of advice to abandon her father. Lizzie knows this is all Riderhood's doing, but it doesn't matter. She and her father are banned.
  • On her way home, Lizzie keeps telling herself that the suspicions against her father are totally groundless. But she can never fully convince herself.
  • After thinking for a moment, Lizzie rushes home and puts together a little pile of money. When her brother Charley wakes up, she gives him the money and tells him to run away from home and enroll in a nearby school. She can't have him around their dad anymore.
  • It's a sad scene, but Charley eventually grabs his money and travel-pack and runs off.
  • When Gaffer returns that afternoon, he notices that the other men are avoiding him. It looks like Riderhood's rumor has gotten around quickly.
  • When Gaffer gets home, Lizzie tells him that Charley has run off to go to school. Gaffer feels betrayed by his son's attempts to better himself, and he proclaims loud and clear that his son is now dead to him.
  • The angrier Gaffer gets, the more Lizzie wonders if he's capable of murder.