Little Dorrit Part 2, Chapters 19-22 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 2, Chapters 19-22 Summary

Amy tells her Uncle Frederick how much younger he has seemed since Fanny’s marriage. Frederick tells her that it is due to her and her kindness. Mr. Dorrit returns and comments how much Frederick has gone downhill, but it is Mr. Dorrit himself who seems to be weakening. He spends much time in his room. Mrs. Merdle is returning to England, so a going-away dinner is held for her. At the dinner, Mr. Dorrit thinks he is back in prison and addresses the party as the Father of the Marshalsea once again. Amy takes him home, staying by his bedside for ten days. Frederick is also there and grieves when at last Mr. Dorrit dies. Amy takes Frederick back to his room to get some sleep, but in the night, he returns to his brother’s deathbed and dies holding his hand.

Arthur Clennam goes to Calais, France, with a Wanted poster describing the murderer Rigaud. He traces the apartment of Miss Wade, but announces himself to the servant as Blandois, knowing that Miss Wade will not see him if she knew who he was. She is displeased to see him and tells him that she does not know where Blandois is, after she reads the poster’s description. She gives Arthur a narrative that she wrote about her life, including her romance with Henry Gowan, whom she now hates along with his wife. Arthur asks about Tattycoram, whom Miss Wade calls Harriet. She calls Tattycoram in, and Arthur asks her about Blandois, but she does not know him beyond the time in the street. She asks how the Meagleses are, and Miss Wade angrily reminds her how unhappy Tattycoram was there and asks whether she wants to go back. Tattycoram denies that she does, but she admits that she went to see the house unbeknown to Miss Wade. Arthur leaves, as Tattycoram stands there as if she expected to be invisible.

On his way back to England, Arthur reads “The History of a Self Tormentor,” which Miss Wade had given him. She relates that she was an orphan who was continually betrayed by other girls. When she became a governess, this betrayal continued, until she worked for a family where she became engaged to the nephew. Her lower status was evident, and when Henry Gowan showed up and began to pay attention to her, she fell in love with him. She left her fiancé and then discovered that Henry was engaged to Pet Meagles. She took Tattycoram to care for in revenge against all those who betrayed her and to protect Tattycoram from being treated the same.

Doyce gives up trying to get support through the Circumlocution Office. He goes to the Continent to seek help there, warning Arthur not to get involved in speculation. Arthur learns that Cavalletto, who still works in the Bleeding Heart Yard, knows that Blandois is the murderer Rigaud.