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Summary Chapter 40

Little Dorrit writes to Arthur Clennam. She tells him she is in Venice. She knows he’ll be glad to hear from her, but admits he’ll perceive that she is not as happy in her new life.

She met Mrs. Gowan in Switzerland weeks ago. She assures him that Pet seems happy and well, and she sends him her regards. Amy says she grew quickly fond of her.

Amy remarks that Mr. Gowan seems fond enough of Pet and she of him, but she wishes that Pet had chosen better. He is not a very dedicated person. He is without direction. She expects to see Pet soon in Venice.

She wants to know how her old friends are, but she tells him they cannot write to her. She wonders if the Plornishes are doing better. Mr. Dorrit had bought them a new business. She heard that Mr. Nandy had went to live with them and wants to know if he is happy. She worries about Maggy. She wants him to tell Maggy that she regrets being apart from her. She misses everyone very much.

Her father and uncle have benefited from their change in fortunes. Fanny has adapted to the new life with ease. Amy admits she has not adapted as well and despairs that she ever will. She isn’t doing well in her studies. She falls into old habits. She cannot really appreciate the countries and sites that she sees. Everywhere she goes, she remembers the Marshalsea with longing.

She feels sorry for her father. In not allowing her to show affection or to take care of him—which is now considered beneath her station—he has distanced himself from her. She thinks he misses her.

She doesn’t want Arthur to think differently of her. She wants him to remember her as she was—which is who she really is. She doesn’t want him to consider her as a rich person but a poor one.

She concludes the letter reminding him that Pet is very well and very happy.

Charles Dickens