Chapters 5-7 Summary

Miss Tox is in constant attendance to Paul, causing Mr. Dombey to see how invaluable she is in the service of his son. He asks his sister Louisa for her ideas of a way to express his gratitude. She suggests that any token he should give her would be greatly valued, plus it might be a good idea to make Miss Tox Paul’s godmother. She hints at something of greater significance, but Mr. Dombey says that he has no intention of remarrying, for he and his son are enough to keep the firm of Dombey and Son going.

On the day of the christening, Mr. Dombey does not light the fires, although it is a cold day. All the members of the family insist that they are warm enough, although the food at the christening dinner is abysmally cold. In gratitude to Mrs. Richards, Mr. Dombey tells her that he has secured a place for her eldest son in the Charitable Grinders School. Mrs. Richards is grateful but becomes weepy on thinking of her first-born in school clothes going off to be in the great world. She thinks of going to see him one day when she is out walking with Paul, but Susan Nipper warns against it. Still, Mrs. Richards will not give up the idea.

Mrs. Richards finally decides to visit her family, taking Paul, Florence, and Susan Nipper with her. She is overjoyed to see her family but misses her son Biler (named by his father after the steam engine he stokes), who is at school. She goes around by the school to catch him on the way home and rescues him from bullies.

Florence becomes separated from Mrs. Richards and is kidnapped by an old woman, who takes her clothes and almost her hair. Florence manages to escape and is discovered by Walter Gay, who takes her to her uncle’s home for a rest. Walter and Sol return Florence to her home, where Mr. Dombey promises him a reward. Mrs. Richards is discharged for the danger in which she put Paul; Mr. Dombey is grateful for Florence’s kidnapping because it revealed Mrs. Richards’ untrustworthiness. Both Paul and Florence cry all night over the absence of Mrs. Richards, now simply Polly Toodle once again.

Miss Tox’s neighbor, Major Joey Bagstock, has taken an interest in her and has long tried to attract her attention. He believes that he has done so and is annoyed when she begins to appear with a baby and its nurse. Miss Tox, in the meantime, continues to hope that Mr. Dombey will notice how much attention she puts into his son and thus find her indispensable. Louisa assures her that it is just a matter of time.