Part 2, Chapters 8-11 Summary
Daniel Doyce continues to try to get government support for his invention through the Circumlocution Office, but without success. Arthur Clennam, now that the Dorrits have gone, has time on his hands and offers to do battle with the office for Doyce. Arthur continues to visit Mr. and Mrs. Meagles, feeling like a widowed son-in-law in relation to them, having convinced himself that he is too old to look for a romantic attachment. Yet he misses Little Dorrit, more than he had anticipated. He is grateful for any news he hears from her. One day at the Meagles’ home, Mrs. Gowan arrives to visit her “near family,” as she calls them. She is anxious for news about her son. Her tone reveals that she still blames Mr. Meagles for scheming this marriage to gain social advantage. Mr. Meagles becomes irate, telling Mrs. Gowan that he had been against the marriage from the first. He appeals to Arthur, who reminds Mrs. Gowan that he had corrected any notion that she may have had that Mr. Meagles viewed the joining of Henry and Pet positively. Mrs. Gowan says that it is no use for two such socially distant families to get along and leaves.
Mr. Meagles tells Arthur that he and his wife must go to Italy to get away from Mrs. Gowan. Also, Pet is expecting and will want her mother, and Henry is in debt and will want some money. Arthur agrees to check on the house while they are gone, and on one visit he is told by Mrs. Tickit that she had seen Tattycoram. Arthur himself sees her on the streets of London, in the company of a foreigner (who is Blandois), and they are joined by Miss Wade. Arthur follows them to Mr. Casby’s house, but they leave before Arthur can talk to them. Mr. Casby does not know anything about them, but Miss Wade wanted some money, which Arthur assumes is for Blandois.
Arthur tracks Blandois to his mother’s house. He confronts him at the door, but Blandois is allowed in as one who had been there before. Arthur objects to him, but Mrs. Clennam tells Arthur that he has no authority in this house. Arthur asks Affery what is going on, but the housekeeper says that she does not know, since she has been dreaming for so long.
Amy writes to Arthur, telling him that Pet has given birth to a baby boy. Pet still loves Henry, but Amy reports that the artist spends most of his time in the company of a friend of whom neither Amy nor Pet approves. She herself is homesick and dreams of herself as a little girl back in the Marshalsea.