Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 51

Mr. Dorrit is pleased by the social connections Fanny’s marriage will bring and proud of how she is doing her duty by elevating the family name. He tells his future son-in-law that he wishes to correspond with Mr. Merdle, feeling that the engagement isn’t “on” until he knows how that esteemed gentleman’s views of it. Mr. Sparkler, as always, admires that Fanny is no-nonsense and is certain Mr. Merdle will approve.

Mrs. Merdle is surprised by the engagement, thinking her son would never marry. However, she is pleased—and she is certain Mr. Merdle will approve of it as well. She and Mr. Dorrit meet and exchange compliments.

Mr. Merdle and Mr. Dorrit correspond and arrive at an understanding.

Fanny doesn’t want her father to tell Mrs. General about her marriage. She is sick of Mrs. General. Mr. Dorrit is displeased by Fanny’s lack of respect. He insists she announce the marriage to Mrs. General, and finally Fanny agrees.

Fanny gives a short command to the butler, which confuses him. Mr. Dorrit takes it as a sign of disrespect on his part.

When Mrs. General comes, Mr. Dorrit tells her of Fanny’s marriage. Mrs. General offers her congratulations. Fanny tells Mrs. General she is glad that she approves. She then leaves the room to scream at Amy about what happened below.

Fanny and Mrs. Merdle have an occasional skirmish. Mrs. Merdle ends it by acting indifferent. Fanny’s demeanor improves and becomes more inviting. Many single young ladies resent her, which she enjoys. Mr. Sparkler is called to England. Fanny tells Amy they are going to be married soon. Mr. Sparkler doesn’t want to go to England alone, and Fanny doesn’t trust him to go off by himself.
Amy wishes she could go with Fanny back to England.

Fanny tells Amy that if Mr. Dorrit plans to make Mrs. General his wife, she is to object.

The arrangements are made. The couple is married.

Mr. Dorrit expresses his hopes that Amy will contract a successful marriage. She begs him to let her stay with him. Mr. Dorrit says he can have other people take care of him. Her position gives her the responsibility of marrying well.

Charles Dickens