Part 2, Chapters 27-29 Summary
Arthur Clennam’s mind is numb as he settles into his rooms at the Marshalsea. Mr. Chivery is very kind to him and tells him that Young John insists on bringing up Arthur’s trunks himself. John does so, but refuses to shake Arthur’s hand. Arthur rejects John’s offers of food and drink since he does not have an appetite, but John tells him that this is the time to eat. He invites Arthur down to his own rooms for tea, and Arthur accepts, since he knows that resistance at this point is futile. Arthur asks him why he is angry with him, and John tells him that Arthur refuses to see that Amy Dorrit is in love with him. As much grief as this causes Young John, he wants Amy to be happy, and Arthur’s ignorance of her true feelings angers him. Arthur is shocked by this revelation, but it is confirmed by Mr. and Mrs. Plornish when they come to visit. Arthur thinks of all the good things that have happened in his life since he returned to England and realizes that Amy has been a part of all of them.
Arthur is depressed inside the Marshalsea and does not become acquainted with any of the other residents. Frederick Barnacle comes to visit, wanting to make sure that the Circumlocution Office was not responsible for Arthur’s imprisonment. Arthur assures him it was not. Rugg comes to tell him that people are commenting on Arthur’s being in the Marshalsea, which is usually reserved for the poorest people who owe a small amount of money, instead of in King’s Bench, where those who owe as large sums as Arthur are kept. Cavalletto brings Blandois (now reclaiming his name of Rigaud) to see Arthur. Arthur is determined to find out what business Rigaud has with his mother. Rigaud tells him that he is in the business of selling information, such as he sold to Miss Wade about the Gowans. He now has information that involves Mrs. Clennam. Everyone leaves, and Arthur feels that he is now more despised and rejected than before.
For several days, Arthur cannot sleep well. He awakens in the evening to find flowers on his table. Soon Amy Dorrit follows. She is wearing her old dress and is accompanied by Maggy. She offers Arthur all her money, but he refuses it. He urges her not to visit the Marshalsea too often because of all it has meant to her, but he cannot tell her not to visit at all. Young John Chivery walks her back to her hotel and returns to tell Arthur that she gave him a message: Arthur will always have her undying love. John then gives Arthur his hand and promises to stand by him forever.