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Summary Chapter 44

Arthur’s business sense has gotten Doyce’s factory into good order. Doyce now has time for inventing, which gives the factory a reputation. The ruling classes have put obstacles in Mr. Doyce’s way, viewing him as a threat. They harass him, cause him to get robbed, and confiscate his property. Doyce is particularly loathed by the Barnacles.

Doyce works on despite this. Arthur provides him moral support, and the two become friends.

There has been an invention that Doyce has been trying to make for years. Arthur asks him to explain it and becomes enthused by the idea. He asks Doyce to allow him to begin the process. He’ll handle the Circumlocution Office. Daniel reluctantly agrees.

The Circumlocution Office has avoided accusations by Parliament that they do nothing by confusing the subject with tons of paperwork and red tape. Arthur becomes a familiar sight there.

Arthur misses Little Dorrit. Her letter confirms what he suspected. She was grateful, but the family resents him—associating him with the Marshalsea.

The Meagles have never been quite the same since Pet left.

One night, Mrs. Gowan visits them. She always acts like her son had fallen victim to Pet’s beauty. She blames the Meagles for not preventing the marriage. She is glad to hear that the couple is happy, though probably quite poor--since she doubts her son or Pet can manage their income. Henry is a restless person who befriends all sorts of people.

Mrs. Gowan implies cheerfully that the Meagles are schemers who successfully ensnared Henry. She is sorry that the marriage has taken place, since it can’t be undone now that Pet is pregnant.

Mr. Meagles tries to discuss how her accusations are untrue and hurtful. Mrs. Gowan claims she never approved of the marriage. She doesn’t see the point of pretending to like the Meagles or to approve of them. She’ll be polite to her son’s wife. With that, she leaves.

Mrs. Gowan would tell her friends later that she just found it impossible to get on with her son’s in-laws.

Charles Dickens