Mr. Merdle is expected to be elevated in status with a baronetcy. He aspires for more. The Barnacles are stingy about who they let in, and Merdle’s lofty aspirations disturb Lord Decimus.
Fanny and her husband now have their own home. She has been plotting to destroy her mother-in-law when she receives word of the deaths of her father and uncle. She is genuinely upset.
To Fanny, the day seems too long. She is bored with her life. She nitpicks at her husband. She wishes to be in society, but mourning keeps her out of it. She is depressed.
Fanny wants some people at the house. Amy will soon come. She expects Amy will feel her father’s loss keenly. Her brother has been ill, and that is keeping Mr. Dorrit’s affairs from being settled. Amy is nursing her brother. He has malaria. Fanny will need to rouse Amy’s spirits. She is glad that Edward paid Mrs. General off and had her leave the house.
Mr. Sparkler hears a knock at the door. It is Mr. Merdle. Though he generally is too busy to call on people, he decided to call on them. Fanny discusses her father’s death and her brother’s illness. Mr. Merdle assures her that her father didn’t leave a legacy to Mrs. General. He asks to borrow a pen knife. He then takes his leave.