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Little Dorrit - Contents and Preface

1. Contents and Preface

2. Book First, Chapter 1

3. Chapter 2

4. Chapter 3

5. Chapter 4

6. Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6

8. Chapter 7

9. Chapter 8

10. Chapter 9

11. Chapter 10

12. Chapter 11

13. Chapter 12

14. Chapter 13

15. Chapter 14

16. Chapter 15

17. Chapter 16

18. Chapter 17

19. Chapter 18

20. Chapter 19

21. Chapter 20

22. Chapter 21

23. Chapter 22

24. Chapter 23

25. Chapter 24

26. Chapter 25

27. Chapter 26

28. Chapter 27

29. Chapter 28

30. Chapter 29

31. Chapter 30

32. Chapter 31

33. Chapter 32

34. Chapter 33

35. Chapter 34

36. Chapter 35

37. Chapter 36

38. Book Second Chapter 1

39. Chapter 2

40. Chapter 3

41. Chapter 4

42. Chapter 5

43. Chapter 6

44. Chapter 7

45. Chapter 8

46. Chapter 9

47. Chapter 10

48. Chapter 11

49. Chapter 12

50. Chapter 13

51. Chapter 14

52. Chapter 15

53. Chapter 16

54. Chapter 17

55. Chapter 18

56. Chapter 19

57. Chapter 20

58. Chapter 21

59. Chapter 22

60. Chapter 23

61. Chapter 24

62. Chapter 25

63. Chapter 26

64. Chapter 27

65. Chapter 28

66. Chapter 29

67. Chapter 30

68. Chapter 31

69. Chapter 32

70. Chapter 33

71. Chapter 34

Little Dorrit

Charles Dickens


Preface to the 1857 Edition

1. Sun and Shadow
2. Fellow Travellers
3. Home
4. Mrs Flintwinch has a Dream
5. Family Affairs
6. The Father of the Marshalsea
7. The Child of the Marshalsea
8. The Lock
9. little Mother
10. Containing the whole Science of Government
11. Let Loose
12. Bleeding Heart Yard
13. Patriarchal
14. Little Dorrit's Party
15. Mrs Flintwinch has another Dream
16. Nobody's Weakness
17. Nobody's Rival
18. Little Dorrit's Lover
19. The Father of the Marshalsea in two or three Relations
20. Moving in Society
21. Mr Merdle's Complaint
22. A Puzzle
23. Machinery in Motion
24. Fortune-Telling
25. Conspirators and Others
26. Nobody's State of Mind
27. Five-and-Twenty
28. Nobody's Disappearance
29. Mrs Flintwinch goes on Dreaming
30. The Word of a Gentleman
31. Spirit
32. More Fortune-Telling
33. Mrs Merdle's Complaint
34. A Shoal of Barnacles
35. What was behind Mr Pancks on Little Dorrit's Hand
36. The Marshalsea becomes an Orphan


1. Fellow Travellers
2. Mrs General
3. On the Road
4. A Letter from Little Dorrit
5. Something Wrong Somewhere
6. Something Right Somewhere
7. Mostly, Prunes and Prism
8. The Dowager Mrs Gowan is reminded that 'It Never Does'
9. Appearance and Disappearance
10. The Dreams of Mrs Flintwinch thicken
11. A Letter from Little Dorrit
12. In which a Great Patriotic Conference is holden
13. The Progress of an Epidemic
14. Taking Advice
15. No just Cause or Impediment why these Two Persons should
not be joined together
16. Getting on
17. Missing
18. A Castle in the Air
19. The Storming of the Castle in the Air
20. Introduces the next
21. The History of a Self-Tormentor
22. Who Passes by this Road so late?
23. Mistress Affery makes a Conditional Promise, respecting her Dreams
24. The Evening of a Long Day
25. The Chief Butler Resigns the Seals of Office
26. Reaping the Whirlwind
27. The Pupil of the Marshalsea
28. An Appearance in the Marshalsea
29. A Plea in the Marshalsea
30. Closing in
31. Closed
32. Going
33. Going!
34. Gone


I have been occupied with this story, during many working hours of
two years. I must have been very ill employed, if I could not
leave its merits and demerits as a whole, to express themselves on
its being read as a whole. But, as it is not unreasonable to
suppose that I may have held its threads with a more continuous
attention than anyone else can have given them during its desultory
publication, it is not unreasonable to ask that the weaving may be
looked at in its completed state, and with the pattern finished.

If I might offer any apology for so exaggerated a fiction as the
Barnacles and the Circumlocution Office, I would seek it in the
common experience of an Englishman, without presuming to mention
the unimportant fact of my having done that violence to good
manners, in the days of a Russian war, and of a Court of Inquiry at
Chelsea. If I might make so bold as to defend that extravagant
conception, Mr Merdle, I would hint that it originated after the
Railroad-share epoch, in the times of a certain Irish bank, and of
one or two other equally laudable enterprises. If I were to plead
anything in mitigation of the preposterous fancy that a bad design
will sometimes claim to be a good and an expressly religious
design, it would be the curious coincidence that it has been
brought to its climax in these pages, in the days of the public
examination of late Directors of a Royal British Bank. But, I
submit myself to suffer judgment to go by default on all these
counts, if need be, and to accept the assurance (on good authority)
that nothing like them was ever known in this land.
Some of my readers may have an interest in being informed whether
or no any portions of the Marshalsea Prison are yet standing. I
did not know, myself, until the sixth of this present month, when
I went to look. I found the outer front courtyard, often mentioned
here, metamorphosed into a butter shop; and I then almost gave up
every brick of the jail for lost. Wandering, however, down a
certain adjacent 'Angel Court, leading to Bermondsey', I came to
'Marshalsea Place:' the houses in which I recognised, not only as
the great block of the former prison, but as preserving the rooms
that arose in my mind's-eye when I became Little Dorrit's
biographer. The smallest boy I ever conversed with, carrying the
largest baby I ever saw, offered a supernaturally intelligent
explanation of the locality in its old uses, and was very nearly
correct. How this young Newton (for such I judge him to be) came
by his information, I don't know; he was a quarter of a century too
young to know anything about it of himself. I pointed to the
window of the room where Little Dorrit was born, and where her
father lived so long, and asked him what was the name of the lodger
who tenanted that apartment at present? He said, 'Tom Pythick.'
I asked him who was Tom Pythick? and he said, 'Joe Pythick's

A little further on, I found the older and smaller wall, which used
to enclose the pent-up inner prison where nobody was put, except
for ceremony. But, whosoever goes into Marshalsea Place, turning
out of Angel Court, leading to Bermondsey, will find his feet on
the very paving-stones of the extinct Marshalsea jail; will see its
narrow yard to the right and to the left, very little altered if at
all, except that the walls were lowered when the place got free;
will look upon rooms in which the debtors lived; and will stand
among the crowding ghosts of many miserable years.

In the Preface to Bleak House I remarked that I had never had so
many readers. In the Preface to its next successor, Little Dorrit,
I have still to repeat the same words. Deeply sensible of the
affection and confidence that have grown up between us, I add to
this Preface, as I added to that, May we meet again!

May 1857

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