Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Book 2, Part 9, Chapter 12

By Charles Dickens

Book 2, Part 9, Chapter 12

More Birds of Prey

  • We look in on Rogue Riderhood, the no-good scoundrel who first ruined Gaffer Hexam's reputation and expected a reward for it. In any case, Riderhood tends to spend most of his time hanging out at home with his daughter, Pleasant. Pleasant runs a little shop that both she and her father use as a house.
  • Riderhood ducks outside for a moment, and a stranger comes into the shop looking for him. He agrees to wait until Riderhood comes back. He chats with Pleasant and says he's a sailor who's been locked up in a sickroom for the last while. He also tells Pleasant a story about the time he was attacked, robbed, and left for dead.
  • When Riderhood comes back, he throws his hat at Pleasant because he doesn't like her talking too much. The stranger tells him to leave the girl alone because she was only talking to him. Riderhood is annoyed with this command, but he softens once the stranger offers to share a bottle of liquor with him.
  • While they sit and chat, the stranger pulls out a knife that Riderhood recognizes as belonging to a man named George Radfoot. Then the stranger shows Riderhood his coat, which Riderhood also recognizes as being Radfoot's. He suddenly wonders if the stranger has come to confess to killing Radfoot. But when he asks, the stranger only answers with a shrug.
  • The stranger goes on to suggest that Riderhood is a liar for saying that Gaffer Hexam committed the Harmon murder. He even implies that George Radfoot was the dude responsible, even though the guy is dead now and can't answer for himself.
  • Finally, the stranger comes out and says that he knows Riderhood conspired with George Radfoot to kill and rob an innocent man.
  • Riderhood knows he's in trouble, so he tries to make deals. But the only deal the stranger will accept is for Riderhood to sign a statement saying that his story about Gaffer Hexam confessing to the Harmon murder was completely false. Riderhood figures he's getting off easy here, so he agrees.
  • Before leaving, the stranger says that he plans on claiming the reward for solving John Harmon's murder. And when he claims it, he plans on "sharing" the reward with Riderhood, though we don't totally know what he means by this.