Part 1, Chapters 26-29 Summary
Arthur has decided, he tells himself, not to fall in love with Pet Meagles. He does not join Doyce when he goes to Twickenham. On his return, Doyce confesses his dislike of Henry Gowan. Arthur tries to assume disinterest, even stating his belief that they should give Gowan the benefit of the doubt. Doyce disagrees and reserves his right to dislike him because of Mr. Meagles’ unhappiness at his daughter’s adoration of the artist. Gowan invites Arthur to go with him to visit his mother. Arthur agrees reluctantly. He finds Mrs. Gowan and her Barnacle relations snobbish and arrogant. Mrs. Gowan quizzes him about Pet, asking him about her beauty and personality. Arthur assures her that Pet is beautiful inside and out. Mrs. Gowan tells Arthur her dissatisfaction with the match, stating her belief that the Meagles family is below her own social level and is trying to rise up by a connection through Henry. Arthur informs her that Mr. Meagles is as unhappy about the relationship as Mrs. Gowan is herself, but Henry’s mother believes that this is just the ploy that would work on her son and the Meagleses know it. On the way home, Arthur is very quiet, and Gowan thinks his mother bored him.
Mr. Meagles asks Arthur to help him find Tattycoram, who has run away. They find her, as they suspected, with Miss Wade, who asks Tattycoram if she would like to go back and be a “slave” to Pet. Tattycoram refuses, and the gentlemen leave. Miss Wade gives Arthur a vague warning about Pet’s assumed upcoming marriage to Henry Gowan.
After numerous attempts to contact Tattycoram, the Meagleses and Arthur discover that she and Miss Wade have disappeared. Pet meets Arthur one day as he is walking toward Twickenham. She has picked some roses and gives him some. She tells him that she and Henry are to be married and asks him to take care of her father. Arthur assures her that he will watch over his friend. After she goes into the house, Arthur throws the roses into the river.
Mrs. Clennam asks Little Dorrit why Pancks always comes to see her, but Amy does not know. Mrs. Clennam is impressed by Amy’s sincerity and gratitude and kisses her on the forehead. Affery is shocked by this, thinking this is another of her dreams. She is shut out of the house during a storm and encounters a strange traveler, who asks her if a Clennam lives here. He helps Affery open the door. Flintwinch comes to see what is keeping his wife and is surprised to see the stranger standing in the doorway.