Little Dorrit Part 2, Chapters 15-18 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 2, Chapters 15-18 Summary

Mr. Dorrit receives the news of Fanny’s engagement to Edmund Sparkler with a great deal of pride. He visits Mrs. Merdle, who says that she is charmed personally, though she did not imagine her son as the marrying kind, nor is she sure what Mr. Merdle will think of it. Mr. Dorrit also thinks it is proper to announce the engagement to Mrs. General, though Fanny does not see the point. Mr. Dorrit, however, does and also tells her that her duties are now cut in half. Fanny talks with Amy about the timing of her wedding, whether to wait or to get married soon. Amy answers that it would be wiser to wait, but Fanny thinks that it will be better to marry immediately to pull one over on Mrs. Merdle. She also mentions that Amy will be left alone with Mrs. General while Mr. Dorrit is in London. She warns Amy not to be pulled in by Mrs. General concerning their father. Fanny’s wedding is a brilliant affair in which Edmund is hardly noticeable. Amy returns to Rome with Mrs. General.

Fanny and Edmund move into the Merdle home, with Fanny taking over Mrs. Merdle’s rooms. She gives extravagant gifts to the servants, much more than Mrs. Merdle had given her to keep away from her son. Mr. Merdle visits Mr. Dorrit at his home, where they discuss where Mr. Dorrit might invest his money, the obvious choice being with Mr. Merdle.

Flora Flinching comes to ask Mr. Dorrit whether he knows the whereabouts of Blandois. Mr. Dorrit does not, but he goes to ask Mrs. Clennam whether she has seen him. Mrs. Clennam says that she has seen him only twice, and she does find him trustworthy.

Mr. Dorrit prepares to return to Rome. He asks Fanny whether she has any message to send to anyone special (meaning Mrs. General). Fanny says she does not (knowing he means Mrs. General). Young John Chivery comes to pay a call on Mr. Dorrit, bringing him a box of cigars as he used to do in their days in the Marshalsea. Mr. Dorrit is upset at being reminded of his imprisonment and rejects John and his cigars. He relents and apologizes, telling Young John that there are some memories too painful to revisit. Before he leaves London, Mr. Dorrit goes shopping for a variety of gifts, evidently for Mrs. General. He leaves England and heads south toward Marseilles and then Rome.