Chapters 42-45 Summary

No longer working for Captain Cuttle, Rob is now in service to Mr. Carker, who warns him that he will tolerate no blabbing. Mr. Dombey comes for breakfast and asks Carker to accept responsibility for getting Edith to be more deferential to her husband since he has had no success. Mr. Carker willingly accepts.

As they ride their horses back to the Dombey home, Mr. Dombey’s horse trips, knocking Mr. Dombey off and into the street, then falling on top of him and kicking his head as he gets up. Carker takes him to a nearby pub and sends for surgeons. It is determined that no major bones are broken but that he will need a carriage to be carried home.

Mr. Carker goes to the Dombey house and tells Edith and Florence of the accident. Florence is upset and wants to go to her father at once, but Edith takes the news calmly. Mr. Dombey is brought home and carried to his separate room. As Mr. Carker leaves, he kisses Edith’s hand. When she goes to her own room, she strikes that hand on the mantelpiece, cutting and bruising it.

During the night, Florence goes into her father’s room and looks at him asleep, wishing that he would wake up and really look at her. She kisses him and then goes to Edith’s room. She confesses that she is upset, and Edith also wishes that she could bring some comfort to Florence. Noticing Edith’s hand, Florence becomes even more upset until Edith takes her back to her bed and sits by as she sleeps, whispering to her that she is her only hope still left.

Susan decides that she is going to confront Mr. Dombey. Finding him alone, she goes into his room and tells him how devoted Florence has been to him all her life. Enraged, Mr. Dombey calls for someone to take Susan away. Mrs. Pipchin arrives and Mr. Dombey tells the housekeeper that she knows what must be done. Mrs. Pipchin tells Susan that she is discharged with a month’s warning. Susan says that she will not stay another hour and packs her bags.

Toots arrives and Florence asks him to take care of Susan until she boards the coach. Toots agrees, and as he helps Susan into the carriage, he asks if she thinks Florence will ever grow to love him. Susan assures him that she never will, and Toots accepts this reluctantly.

Mr. Carker delivers a message from Mr. Dombey to Edith. He warns her once again that she must submit to her husband, which Edith refuses to do. He also tells her that she must not show any affection toward Florence. This threat, he points out, is not directed at Edith but at Florence. He asks to kiss her hand before he leaves, and Edith gives him her injured one.