Our Mutual Friend Part 4, Chapters 1-4 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 4, Chapters 1-4 Summary

Rogue Riderhood is now the lock-keeper of Plashwater Weir-Mill Lock. Eugene Wrayburn comes through the lock, rowing a small boat. Not long after Wrayburn passes, Bradley Headstone appears, disguised as a bargeman. Riderhood recognizes him, however, and also knows that he is following Wrayburn.

Headstone tells Riderhood that he is sure that Wrayburn is going to Lizzie, who evidently must be nearby, and that is why he is following him. After Headstone leaves, Riderhood puts on a red neckerchief.

Headstone returns for a few hours of rest before returning to the pursuit. He observes closely the red neckerchief that Riderhood is wearing, as Riderhood intended him to. The next day, Headstone continues his chase and returns, announcing that he spotted Lizzie and Wrayburn together. As Headstone sleeps, Riderhood sees that he is wearing a red neckerchief.

Mr. and Mrs. Lammle come to see the Boffins at breakfast one morning but have difficulty in drawing them out into conversation. Their efforts to obtain positions with Mr. Boffin are met with uncomfortable silence. Mr. Boffin hands them an envelope containing one hundred pounds for their services in exposing Rokesmith, refusing them their desire to replace Rokesmith and Bella.

Georgiana Podsnap bursts into the room and throws herself on Mrs. Lammle, expressing her sorrow at the Lammles’ sudden poverty. She gives them fifteen pounds that she has saved along with a necklace. After Georgiana leaves, Mr. Boffin tells the Lammles that he will see that the money and the necklace are returned to Georgiana.

Mr. Boffin and Mr. Venus encounter each other on their way to see Wegg. They discuss both their plan concerning Wegg and Wegg’s plan concerning Mr. Boffin. Wegg immediately confronts Mr. Boffin with great disrespect, refusing to be subservient to him anymore, and demands the majority of Boffin’s wealth.

Boffin asks to see the will, so the three of them go to Mr. Venus’s shop. When Mr. Boffin reads the will, he pretends to be overcome. Wegg tells him that he must be under inspection until the money is divided. When he reaches his home, Boffin begins to laugh.

Bella, sneaking away from the rest of the family with her father, talks of her childhood and how unpleasant she used to be. They meet Mr. Rokesmith at Greenwich and then proceed to a church, where Bella Wilfers and John Rokesmith become man and wife.

Bella writes an apologetic letter to her mother announcing her marriage. They go to Rokesmith’s new cottage, where they have their wedding breakfast. Afterward, Mr. Wilfers and the new Mr. and Mrs. Rokesmith spend the rest of the day wandering around the city, concealing from everyone that they are a wedding party.