Little Dorrit Part 2, Chapters 5-7 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 2, Chapters 5-7 Summary

Mrs. General reports to Mr. Dorrit that Amy does not have any self-confidence or strength of character. When confronted with this, Amy says that she is still getting used to their new life in Venice. Her father chides her that she alone of all the family still carries the air of the Marshalsea, which shames everyone. When the entire family is together, Edward announces that he has seen Henry and Pet Gowan at an art gallery. Mr. Dorrit and Fanny are not impressed and do not wish to seek their company until Edward points out that they know Mr. Merdle, who at the moment has a great deal of influence in the business world. Amy especially wants to be friends with Pet, so it is decided to pursue their acquaintance. Uncle Frederick suddenly bursts out that it is unfair how everyone is treating Amy. It smacks of pride and ingratitude and he will not stand for it. Edward is indifferent to this outburst, but Fanny is upset until Mr. Dorrit tells her that his brother is not what he used to be, implying that Frederick is losing his mind.

Amy and Fanny visit Pet Gowan and discover Henry in the process of painting, using Blandois as a model. Henry’s dog, Lion, does not like Blandois and leaps out to attack him. Henry grabs the dog and begs Blandois to leave. To Amy’s horror, Henry begins to kick the dog until she intercedes.

After Uncle Frederick’s outburst, Fanny tries to soften her tone in speaking to Amy. In response to Amy’s question, Fanny says that she intends to let Edmund Spangler follow her around. Concerned that Amy might not see the end result, Fanny assures her that she intends only to make a slave of him. As they are riding in their gondola, they see Edmund following them, obviously trying to attract Fanny’s attention until he falls over into the bottom of the boat. At the opera, the Dorrits encounter Blandois once again, who tells Fanny and Amy that since they last saw Henry, the artist has lost his dog, since “someone” poisoned it.

Fanny tells Amy that she suspects that Mrs. General has designs on their father, and Mr. Dorrit has been excessively polite to Mrs. General. Amy meets Pet, who tells her that it was Blandois who poisoned Henry’s dog. Mr. Dorrit talks to Henry about getting his portrait painted, but Henry suggests that they wait until they all go to Rome, which they soon do. There they meet Mrs. Merdle, who is now anxious to make their acquaintance at Edmund’s suggestion. This amuses Fanny, who is condescending to Mrs. Merdle. Amy sees the tourists who flock to Rome as a superior type of Marshalsea, where the prisoners wandered aimlessly around the prison yard.