Part 1, Chapters 23-25 Summary
Arthur Clennam and Daniel Doyce become business partners, though Doyce at first was against the idea, fearing that Arthur thought he was trying to manipulate him into the partnership when they first met. The name of the firm is changed to Doyce and Clennam, and Arthur attends to his new job in the Bleeding Heart Yard. Flora Flinching and Mr. F’s aunt come to see him. Flora continues to call him “Arthur,” then corrects herself to “Mr. Clennam,” though she objects to his calling her “Mrs. Flinching.” She wants to know whether Amy Dorrit would be able to come to her house as a seamstress. Mr. Casby and Pancks arrive, learning of Flora’s mission. Pancks hints that it was he who had the idea. After the others leave, Pancks and Arthur talk about what they know about the Dorrit family. Pancks has his own reason for his interest, but Arthur wants him to dig up more information about them, especially the reason for Mr. Dorrit’s indebtedness. Pancks promises to find out as much as he can and to relate it to Arthur.
Mr. Plornish tells Amy about Flora’s job offer. Amy goes to see Flora, who rattles on about Arthur and their past relationship. Amy, uncomfortable hearing all the details, works at her sewing. At dinner, Pancks observes her and studies a notebook he keeps beside him. He offers to tell her fortune and proceeds to describe the Dorrit family accurately. Amy returns to the Marshalsea, upset by her day at Flora’s. Maggy arrives to say that Arthur would like to see her. Amy has Maggy tell Arthur that she is ill. Maggy returns and Amy tells her a story about a princess and a tiny woman who keeps the shadow of Someone in her closet, Someone who had gone far away, who will go to the grave with the tiny woman. After the tiny woman dies, the princess discovers that the shadow had gone to the grave with the tiny woman, just as she had said it would.
Mr. Pancks invites Young John to dine with him at his lodgings with Mr. Rugg, a fellow debt collector, and Rugg’s daughter. They discuss the Dorrit family and divide up the work to make inquiries all over the country. In Bleeding Heart Yard, John Baptist Cavalletto, who had been injured in an accident nearby, gets acquainted with the other residents. Although at first they distrust a foreigner, Mr. Baptist, as they call him, becomes a favorite, especially with the Plornish family.