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Summary Chapter 30

Mr. Flintwinch stares at the stranger in astonishment. The stranger is as shocked to see him. He asks Jeremiah how he got here.

Jeremiah looks over his shoulder, expecting to see someone behind him. He starts shaking Mistress Affery, accusing her of her tricks. The stranger intervenes. He points out that the person upstairs is wondering what is going on. Jeremiah Flintwinch assures Mrs. Clennam that all is well and sends Mrs. Affery up to her.

Jeremiah lights a candle, again assuring Mrs. Clennam that everything is all right, and leads the stranger into his office.

The stranger identifies himself as Mr. Blandois. Jeremiah doesn’t recognize the name. Mr. Blandois explains to Jeremiah that he initially mistook him for a friend of his in the dark. He presents Mr. Flintwinch with a letter. He apologizes for being delayed in coming. He asks Mr. Flintwinch what place he would recommend to stay at—money is no object. Mr. Flintwinch tells him there is only a coffeehouse and a tavern nearby—not exactly for a gentleman’s taste. Mr. Blandois decides to rough it and asks for him to take him there.

When Mr. Flintwinch goes to tell Mrs. Clennam of his errand, Mr. Blandois presents his card to call on her. Mrs. Clennam returns a reply that she doesn’t wish to see visitors in her sick room, but she will be glad to visit him later.

Mr. Blandois arrives at the tavern. His characteristics are very similar to Mr. Rigaud’s. He vows to get back at society for wronging him.

He returns to Mrs. Clennam’s house. She receives him for tea. Mrs. Clennam thanks him for recognizing her as a part of the Clennam company. She tells him that Jeremiah Flintwinch handles the business since her husband is dead and her son isn’t interested in it. She asks if he is an Englishman. Mr. Blandois replies no. He is a citizen of the world. He isn’t married or has any ties whatsoever. Mistress Affery is uneasy around him, and it causes her to stop pouring the tea. When she blames this on the visitor, Jeremiah tells Mr. Blandois she is an idiot—then dismisses her.

Mr. Blandois admires Mrs. Clennam’s watch. He assumes the initial are in rememberance of a lady. Mrs. Clennam says they represent, “Do not forget.” She does not desire to forget. She lives a monotonous life of self-correction to repent for offences committed. Mr. Blandois admits that he is not a pious man himself.

Mrs. Clennam tells him that Mr. Flintwinch will be at his service. Mr. Blandois admires the old house and asks for a tour. Mrs. Clennam says it is old and very dingy. Mr. Flintwinch obliges their visitor with a tour, though he often feels like the man is looking at him more than the house—and that he is laughing at him.

Mr. Blandois asks if Jeremiah ever hears strange noises or sees strange things. Jeremiah says no. The other man sees a portrait of Mr. Clennam and asks if he owned the watch. Mr. Flintwinch confirms this.

Mr Blandois admires Mrs. Clennam’s strong character and assumes the couple must have been happy. Jeremiah says all families have their secrets. Mr Blandois laughs and agrees.

Mr. Flintwinch remarks that the visitor is in good spirits. Mr. Blandois confirms this is true, and he tells Jeremiah he believes they will become intimately acquainted. He invites Jeremiah for a drink, which Jeremiah accepts. Mr. Blandois discovers, though, that Mr. Flintwinch becomes less talkative with drink. He can also handle his liquor better. Mr.s Blandois bids him goodnight after the third bottle.

Mr. Blandois promises to visit Mr. Flintwinch and Mrs. Clennam tomorrow. However, Jeremiah finds out the next day, when the man fails to keep the appointment, that he has returned to France. Jeremiah doesn’t doubt, though, that they will see him again.

Charles Dickens