Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Book 1, Part 3, Chapter 8

By Charles Dickens

Book 1, Part 3, Chapter 8

Mr. Boffin in Consultation

  • We're back with Mr. Mortimer Lightwood, the lawyer who was called out of the Veneerings' party to check out the body of John Harmon after the dude drowned. It looks like Mr. Boffin has some business to do with Mortimer.
  • While he waits for Lightwood, Boffin chats with the office clerk and gives him some money.
  • Boffin sits down and tells Mortimer all about how he (Boffin) and his wife used to work for Old Man Harmon and how they always loved the man's children. Boffin admits that Harmon was a really mean dude and that his kids were too good for him.
  • The first thing Mr. Boffin wants to do with his newfound wealth is put out a huge reward for any info that helps solve the murder of John Harmon. Second, Mr. Boffin wants to make sure that his wife gets all the fortune if he dies.
  • While Mr. Boffin is leaving, Mortimer's partner Eugene Wrayburn comes into the office and makes a few sarcastic jokes.
  • Back in the street, Mr. Boffin heads for home. A guy approaches him on the way and recommends himself as a personal secretary to Boffin. Boffin doesn't understand, but the other guy says that he will need someone to look after his affairs now that he's rich.
  • The stranger claims to be loyal, but he unfortunately can't offer any references because he's not from around there.
  • Finally, the guy introduces himself as Mr. Rokesmith and says that he lives in the Wilfer family's house. Boffin is amazed at the coincidence, since this is the family of Bella Wilfer, who was supposed to get the Harmon inheritance instead of Boffin if John Harmon had lived to marry her.
  • Rather than expect an immediate answer, Rokesmith says he'll come by to hear Boffin's answer in a few days.