Chapters 32-34 Summary
Captain Cuttle hides in the shop as much as possible to avoid Mrs. MacStinger. Fearing “kidnapping” by his former landlady, he arranges a set of signals to be used with Rob if this should happen. Toots, accompanied by a friend to whom he refers as “the Game Chicken,” comes to the shop, confusing Captain Cuttle with Sol Gills. He shows the captain the newspaper article in which it is reported that the Son and Heir, the ship on which Walter had gone to the Barbados, was sunk during a hurricane with all on board lost.
Captain Cuttle is overcome, feeling that his last connection with the world has been lost. He goes to Dombey and Son’s offices to determine if this news is true. Mr. Carker assures him it is, regretting the loss of money and lives. Cuttle confronts Carker with Walter’s belief that he was being shipped to Barbados to get rid of him for personal rather than business reasons. Carker becomes incensed, accusing Cuttle and Sol Gills of being involved in some plot against the firm. He throws Cuttle out, and the captain returns home to grieve Walter.
James Carker (the Manager) sits in his grand house on one side of London, looking at a portrait of a woman who looks very much like Edith. On the other side of the city, in a modest cottage, live John Carker (the Junior) and his sister Harriet. One morning, a man comes to see Harriet and offers to help her brother resume his place in the family and the firm of Dombey and Son. Harriet refuses his aid, saying that her brother’s repentance is all that has been necessary to return his honor to him.
After he leaves, Harriet notices a travel-worn woman standing out in the rain. She invites her in when she sees how cut and bloody her feet are. The woman explains that she is returning to England after many years overseas, having been transported as a convict. Harriet, in pity, gives the woman some money.
The woman goes to the home of Mrs. Brown, the old woman who had taken Florence many years before when she was coming back from the Toodle home. The woman is Mrs. Brown’s daughter, Alice Marwood. Mrs. Brown tells Alice that she has seen James Carker (she was the old woman who offered to tell Edith’s fortune) and that Mr. Dombey was marrying Edith Granger.
Alice gives her mother the money that Harriet gave her, but when she discovers who her benefactress is, she takes her mother and returns to Harriet’s home, curses her and all of her family, and throws the money on the ground. She hints also that Mrs. Brown and Alice are in some way connected to Edith and Mrs. Skewton.