Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Book 1, Part 5, Chapter 15

By Charles Dickens

Book 1, Part 5, Chapter 15

Two New Servants

  • We look in on Mr. and Mrs. Boffin and find out that money has made Mr. Boffin's life a lot more stressful. He has just had his breakfast and is looking over a bunch of accounting papers that mean nothing to him.
  • The bell rings and Mr. Boffin goes to the door to meet his visitor, Mr. Rokesmith. He admits that he hasn't had time to turn over Rokesmith's offer to become his secretary, but he decides to make the guy a deal: if Rokesmith can sort through all the papers on Mr. Boffin's breakfast table, Mr. Boffin will count it as a big point in Rokesmith's favor.
  • Rokesmith plows through the work double-quick. Then he writes out a sample letter for Mr. Boffin and reads it aloud. Both Mr. and Mrs. Boffin are impressed, and Mr. Boffin hires Rokesmith on the spot.
  • Mr. Boffin is worried, though, that Silas Wegg is going to be jealous about being passed over for this job in favor of Rokesmith.
  • With things settled, Mr. Boffin gives Rokesmith a tour of the house and tells him about how wonderful the place used to be when Old Man Harmon's kids were still around, playing and laughing. Even though the Boffins plan on moving, they insist they'll never sell the old Harmon house.
  • That night, Wegg shows up to read to Mr. Boffin like he always has. Before he starts reading, though, Boffin offers him the job of being a caretaker of the house they're sitting in. He tells Wegg about his plans to move and to hold onto the current house by using Wegg as a house sitter.
  • This is a sweet deal for Wegg, but he thinks he deserves even more. The dude drives a hard bargain for someone who was living on the street a few weeks ago. Apparently beggars can be choosers.
  • With everything settled, Silas Wegg starts reading. But he doesn't get far before Mr. Boffin gets up to check on Mrs. Boffin, who's been feeling the spirits of Old Man Harmon and his kids all over the house. Ugh, creepy.
  • Boffin sends Wegg home for the night because he doesn't want the guy getting the idea that the house is haunted. Then he takes Mrs. Boffin for a walk to settle her down.