Little Dorrit Part 2, Chapters 32-34 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 2, Chapters 32-34 Summary

Arthur lies ill in the Marshalsea, and Pancks blames himself for this as well as for Arthur's being imprisoned to begin with, since he had advised him to invest in Merdle. He becomes fed up with Mr. Casby’s pressuring him to squeeze the rent out of the poor people of the Bleeding Heart Yard. He is also displeased that his daughter is spending so much time with Mrs. Clennam, who has been truly confined to her wheelchair and unable to speak since her house crumbled. When Mr. Casby orders him to go back and squeeze them again, Pancks breaks. He cries out to the people of the Yard that although they thought of him as the source of their misery, he proclaims that it is Casby who forced him to do so. The people rally around Pancks, who tells Casby that he quits and will no longer be his rent collector. He knocks off Casby’s hat, and when Casby bends over to pick it up, Pancks seizes Casby’s long white hair and cuts it off. Pancks runs off at the sight of the sacrilege that he has performed and stays in hiding to contemplate his new crime.

Arthur’s illness continues to be severe, but he is visited by all his old friends and acquaintances. Mrs. Merdle has become the object of pity, the public having decided that she was as deceived as everyone else. Mr. Meagles, still in Rome, is informed of the events in London. He takes upon himself to follow the trail of Rigaud to find the original documentation that Flintwinch’s twin brother gave him to prove Amy’s inheritance. His last stop is at Miss Wade’s, who says that she does not have any papers left by Rigaud. Mr. Meagles gives up and returns to London. He goes to see Arthur in the Marshalsea. Tattycoram arrives at the Marshalsea, carrying the box of papers from Rigaud. She begs Mr. Meagles’ forgiveness, which he gladly gives her and welcomes her home. He gives the papers to Amy and announces that he is going back to the Continent to fetch Daniel Doyce, who needs to be part of the celebration.

Arthur’s health improves, attended by Amy, who tells him that her father had invested all his fortune with Merdle. Thus she is as poor as Arthur. Mr. Meagles returns to announce that Doyce had been in London all along. He has made a great success on the Continent and has been going around to pay off all the creditors, thus allowing Arthur to be released. Doyce walks in to urge Arthur to forget the past. Arthur and Amy, who insists on being called Little Dorrit, are married, surrounded by their friends. They go off into their new life, out into the roaring streets of London.