Our Mutual Friend Part 4, Chapters 5-7 Summary

Charles Dickens

Part 4, Chapters 5-7 Summary

Mr. Wilfer returns home, pretending that he knows nothing of Bella’s whereabouts. Mrs. Wilfer, who has received the letter, tells him that he no longer has a daughter because Bella has married a mendicant (poor beggar).

Lavinia resents Bella for having jeopardized her relationship with George Sampson by running off and getting married. While Mrs. Wilfer and her daughter argue, Mr. Wilfer is content to stand to one side and avoid involvement. He tells his wife that, no matter her disapproval, both Bella and Rokesmith will be welcome in the Wilfer home.

A few weeks later, the Rokesmiths come to a very uncomfortable tea. On their walk home, Rokesmith asks Bella if she would rather that he were as rich as Mr. Boffin. Bella points out that neither she nor Boffin was better because of his wealth. This is a subject that Rokesmith brings up repeatedly as they adjust to married life. Mr. Wilfer frequently visits them without the rest of the family. Soon, Bella announces that she is going to have a baby.

In the village where she is hiding, Lizzie meets Wrayburn by the riverside. She begs him to go away and leave her alone. She leaves after Wrayburn promises not to follow her back to the village.

Wrayburn realizes that she does love him, even though she has requested him to forget her. He thinks of Lightwood’s remark that Wrayburn’s infatuation with Lizzie was a “bad business.” He passes a man carrying an object. He greets the man, but he makes no reply.

Suddenly, Wrayburn is struck repeatedly. He catches sight of a red neckerchief as his blood flows. He grabs at his assailant and they fall into the river.

Lizzie hears blows and a splash. She runs to the river, rows out, and drags a body back to the shore. The face has been beaten and disfigured so severely that she is unable to recognize him. She carries him to the house and calls surgeons in. They attend to the head wounds and the broken arms with little hope of recovery.

Bradley Headstone awakens Rogue Riderhood to open the door. Riderhood lets him in, saying that he was concerned about his disappearance and even thinking of advertising in the papers. Headstone goes to get to get some sleep and Riderhood notices that his clothes are torn and bloodied.

When he wakes up, Headstone eats dinner, supposedly accidentally cutting himself and shaking blood on Riderhood’s clothes. At sunset he leaves, secretly followed by Riderhood. He sees Headstone take off his clothes and throw them in the river, changing into a new outfit.

Headstone returns to London and school reopens the next day. Charley Hexam, who is a schoolmaster now, tells him of Wrayburn’s murder, closely watching his reaction. He suspects that Headstone is the murderer and breaks off their friendship, wishing that Lizzie had never met Headstone.