Part 2, Chapters 23-26 Summary
Arthur goes to his mother’s home to find out what she knows about Blandois. He had hoped to find her alone, but he discovers that Mr. Casby and Flora are there. He tells her that Blandois is really Rigaud, an accused murderer. Mrs. Clennam is horrified, but she will not tell Arthur anything she knows about Blandois or about his purpose for seeing her. Arthur gets Flora to ask Affery to show her around the house so that he can talk to the servant. Mr. Flintwinch follows, so Arthur is unable to ask her anything. Flora is also hanging onto him, especially in the dark corners. When Flintwinch goes to answer the door, Arthur asks Affery what is going on in the house. Affery will not tell him, stating only that the house is full of noises and secrets.
Three months after the deaths of the Dorrit brothers, Fanny complains that it is the longest day there ever was. She is irritated by everything that Edmund says. She had just gotten over being in mourning when she finds that she is pregnant, which limits her social activities. Mr. Merdle arrives with a distracted manner. He asks for a penknife, and Fanny gives him one from the many wedding gifts that she received. He departs, refusing any dinner.
At a dinner hosted by Mrs. Merdle, the guests talk of the rumor that Mr. Merdle will be granted a peerage for his contributions to the financial well-being of the nation. A messenger arrives and requests the physician to go to the bathhouse on the corner. There, Mr. Merdle’s body is discovered in a bath. He has committed suicide by slitting his own throat. The next day, Mr. Merdle’s death is rumored to have been caused by a multitude of diseases, but it is finally revealed that he killed himself because he had been exposed as a forgerer and a thief, thus ruining all who invested money in his business.
Among those ruined by the collapse of Merdle’s business is Arthur Clennam, who had invested all the funds of Doyce and Clennam. He talks to Rugg, the debt collector, requesting that Doyce be blameless, since he himself had invested the money. He wishes to be made a clerk at the lowest salary when the business gets back on its feet. A few days later, Rugg informs him that several writs have been enacted against Arthur, meaning that he will be arrested for debt. Arthur decides to go at once to the Marshalsea, where Young John Chivery escorts him to his new room, the same room where Mr. Dorrit and Amy had lived.