Our Mutual Friend Part 4, Chapters 15-17 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 4, Chapters 15-17 Summary

Bradley Headstone is haunted by the fear of being caught for his attempted murder of Eugene Wrayburn as well as the realization that his attempt to separate Wrayburn and Lizzie had in fact brought them together.

One day, Rogue Riderhood shows up at his school while he is teaching class. He asks for Wrayburn, and Headstone nervously says he will tell him to meet Riderhood at the lock. Riderhood asks the pupils what is found in a river and answers his own question: a bundle of clothes, which he reveals under his arm.

After Riderhood leaves, Headstone falls into another fit, knowing that Riderhood knows he murdered Wrayburn. The next day, Headstone walks up to the Lock, where he meets Riderhood.

The lock-keeper demands money and Headstone’s silver watch, which he left back with Miss Peecher. As Riderhood and Headstone are walking back to London to retrieve the watch and the money, Headstone grabs Riderhood and falls into the river, where they both drown.

John and Bella rectify many areas of their lives that had suffered by John’s “death and resurrection.” Mortimer Lightwood gives them legal help; Fledgeby’s victims are given relief.

Mrs. Wilfer, Lavinia, and George Sampson go to see Bella’s new home, arguing all the way there. George feels that he is inadequate now that Bella has gained a secure financial position. Mrs. Wilfer goes through the visit stiffly, refusing to be impressed by Bella’s new wealth.

Jenny and Sloppy meet and become good friends, with the hint of something more. Sloppy, who has become a cabinet maker now that he is no longer in the service of Silas Wegg, offers to make a work chest for Jenny as well as a decorative new head for her cane, although he gallantly says that it does not appear to him to be necessary.

Eugene Wrayburn, who is on the road to recovery, and Lizzie come to see John and Bella in London. Lightwood visits Wrayburn and learns that he has made peace with his family now that he is married.

Wrayburn tells Lightwood that he has thought of taking Lizzie and going to one of the colonies but decides it would be like sneaking off with a wife who might not be accepted by Society. He intends to fight for her against his old friends.

Mortimer Lightwood receives an invitation to a dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Veneering. It will not be long, however, before the Veneerings go bankrupt and go to France to live off Mrs. Veneering’s jewelry. After this, Society will suddenly remember that they did not really like the Veneerings.

Lightwood tells the dinner guests the story of Wrayburn and Lizzie’s marriage. Lady Tippin asks about the wedding but is contemptuous of Lizzie; Lightwood defends her. Twemlow joins in, saying that Wrayburn is the greater gentleman for marrying the woman who saved his life, which makes Lizzie the greater lady.