Mr. Pancks rushes to see Arthur Clennam. Mr Merdle’s letter was made public at the inquest.
Arthur Clennam is ignoring his work, full of despair. Mr. Pancks laments how he had encouraged Clennam to invest in Merdle enterprises. Clennam agonizes how he has ruined his partner Mr. Doyce. Mr. Pancks encourages him to say vile things to him (to Pancks), for he deserves it. It is his fault, he admits, for telling Clennam that the investment was sound. He ruined Arthur. Clennam admits it would have been better for both of them if they hadn’t invested in Merdle enterprises. He remarks how he had just planned to sell his shares when everything went bust. Pancks has heard the same story from everyone who was ruined.
Clennam plans to make as many amends as he can. He plans to resign from his post. Mr. Pancks suggest going to Mr. Rugg for legal help. He goes to fetch Rugg for Arthur when he agrees.
Mr. Rugg dismisses Mr. Pancks, who is behaving irrationally. He tells Arthur they need to face this thing, as bad as it is. Clennam tells Rugg he wishes to exonerate his partner for the responsibility of what happened. He wishes to draw up a document that will be circulated to the House and public papers. He wishes to write to the creditors as well. He will give his share of the business to his partner. He asks to be demoted to a clerk.
Mr. Rugg is uneasy with this plan of action. He feels the resentment generated by Mr. Merdle’s crime will cause Arthur to become a scapegoat if he makes such a declaration. Arhtur, though, wishes to exonerate Daniel Doyce and preserve his reputation—which are the only amends he can make.
Mr. Rugg’s fears are confirmed. Arthur Clennam is made an example of and receives the public’s reproach.
Mr. Rugg one day tells Arthur not to go to the counting house, for there are at least five writs out on him. Arthur wants to get it over with. Mr. Rugg asks him to not be taken by the Palace Court jurisdiction. He wants him to wait until he gets a writ from the Superior Courts. If he gets taken now, he’ll go to the Marshalsea. Clennam reiterates he wants this to be over with, and he would in fact prefer the Marshalsea.
Mr. Clennam is taken to the Marshalsea, where he meets a stunned Mr. Chivery and Young John. Mr. Chivery is embarrassed but kind. Young John gives Arthur Little Dorrit’s old room.