Our Mutual Friend Part 1, Chapters 11-13 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 1, Chapters 11-13 Summary

Mr. and Mrs. Podsnap decide that they must have a dinner for their daughter’s eighteenth birthday. Mr. Podsnap, a friend of the Veneerings, has contempt for all countries except England. At the dinner, Podsnap has a conversation with a foreign gentleman in which he constantly corrects the latter’s English pronunciation. Podsnap begs Mr. Veneering to tell the party about the night they learned of the Harmon murder during a dinner at the Veneering home. Mr. and Mrs. Lammle are also present and decide that they will begin their deception of the world with the Podsnaps. Mrs. Lammle befriends Miss Georgiana Podsnap, who is painfully shy. Georgiana is angered by her mother’s bringing over men to dance with her, which she says that she does very badly. Mrs. Lammle assures her and wishes to be her friend. Georgiana does not see why anyone would want to be her friend, but she is agreeable. On the way home, Mr. Lammle tells his wife to make sure to stay close to “that idiot girl,” foreseeing that there may be money made out of this “friendship.”

Mortimer Lightwood and Eugene Wrayburn take lodgings together, being old school friends. Wrayburn tells Lightwood of his father’s plans for each of his sons. Wrayburn has become the barrister that his father intended, but not a married man. The men are interrupted by Roger Riderhood, who walks in without knocking. He has come to give information about the Harmon murder and demands that his “Alfred David” (affidavit) be taken. He tells them that Gaffer Hexam, his former partner, confessed to him that he was the person who killed John Harmon. Since then, he broke off his partnership, he says, because it so weighed on his mind. Wrayburn thinks it interesting that it weighed on his mind in secret until the ten thousand–pound reward was offered. Riderhood offers to go with them to the police station. The police inspector tells Lightwood and Wrayburn that Riderhood is a notorious character himself and might have been an accessory but stayed distant in order to get any reward. The inspector and the two friends go to Limehouse, where Gaffer lives.

Lightwood and Wrayburn take on the identities of lime merchants and hang around the Six Jolly Fellowships and wait for Gaffer to return. Wrayburn checks on Gaffer’s home and observes Lizzie Hexam calling for her father. After waiting a long time, Riderhood goes out looking for Gaffer and returns with the news that he has found Gaffer’s boat empty and adrift, with only one broken oar.