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Summary Chapter 66

Blandois, John Baptist, and Mr. Pancks go to the Clennam house. Blandois tells Mrs. Clennam his two companions are Arthur’s spies. Mrs. Clennam dismisses them.

Mr. Pancks stated he did his duty in presenting Blandois. He tells her that though his figures were sound, he was responsible for Arthur’s ruin. He informs them that Arthur is sick in prison. He tells Mrs. Affery that Arthur encourages her to tell her dreams. He and Baptist leave.

Jeremiah orders Affery to go, but she refuses. Her husband is about to “give her a dose”, but Mrs. Clennam tells him to stop. It is all coming to an end anyway.

Affery is determined to know what is going on and to speak of what she knows. She blames them for making her confused. They forced her into a marriage. They have forced her to be a party of what she knows not. She will stand up now for Arthur, who is ruined and sick.

Mrs. Clennam remarks, when Blandois claims to be a gentleman, that he is a former prisoner and a murderer. He claims he is a man who finishes what he starts. He is a mercenary. He is a noble person except when he is enraged, and sometimes vengeance means more than money.

He reviews his last two visits with them. He says he was offering to sell information that could compromise Mrs. Clennam for a 1,000 lbs. He now wants 2,000 lbs. He also demands payment for his hotel bill. Jeremiah hands him the money for the hotel bill.

Mrs. Clennam tells him she is not rich and can’t pay the 2,000 lbs. She will give him a price she is willing to pay for the papers. She is not scared to send him on his way. She would face ruin rather than pay out of her means.

Blandois claims he has known many people like himself, and he learned the history of the Clennams from one of them. He starts to tell it.

There once lived a rigid uncle and his timid nephew in the Clennam house. Affery recognizes the story from her dreams. The uncle chose his nephew’s wife, a lady of strong character. The wife discovers that her husband had a son from an affair—which is Arthur. She becomes angry from jealousy and wants revenge.

Mrs. Clennam decides to take over the narrative. Mr. Flintwinch tries to dissuade her, claiming Blandois doesn’t care to hear her side of it. She wants to tell it from her own lips if it is going to come out. She has suffered all these years, and Blandois isn't’ going to narrate her story.

She had a strict upbringing, which made her God-fearing and instilled a hatred of evil-doers within her. Her father said that her husband had been raised like her. He had been kept away from sin. When she found out that he had an affair, she felt like she had to punish the both of them for their sin. She forced her husband to tell her who the woman was. She confronted the woman, who turned out to be married to her husband. The woman had left him when the uncle demanded that her husband marry Mrs. Clennam. To punish the woman, she demanded that she hand over Arthur. Mr. Clennam was to never communicate with her again. Arthur was to be raised as the Clennam’s son. The woman was never to try to communicate with either Mr. Clennam or Arthur. She was to give up the allowance that Mr. Clennam gave her. In return, Mrs. Clennam would allow her to have an unsoiled name.

Arthur’s mother went mad. Mrs. Clennam was determined to raise Arthur the same way she had been raised. Mr. Clennam left and lived abroad. When he died, he sent her the watch. DO NOT FORGET had referred to the affair.

She had re-written Gilbert Clennam’s will when she had discovered that he had left some money to Flora. She didn’t do it for the money, though.

Gilbert Clennam’s mistress had been a pupil of Frederick Dorrit. This was how Gilbert had met her. Mrs. Clennam had known about the property left to the Dorrits for years, but she saw no reason to reveal it. It was just punishment when Frederick Dorrit was ruined. Her husband’s mistress was dead. She had found Little Dorrit and helped her in what she thought was the best way. Mrs. Clennam may have even left her what was due to Amy when she died, for Little Dorrit was innocent.

The incriminating paper Blandois has had originally been in the house. Affery reveals that Jeremiah’s twin brother took it away. Blandois knew the man and took the paper when he died.

Jeremiah accuses Mrs. Clennam of being proud and obstinate. He told her to burn the paper, but she refused. When Arthur came home with the watch, he told her again to destroy it. She finally had agreed and told him where it was. He switched the document and gave the genuine one to his brother. His never-do-well brother had come for some money. He had been a lunatic keeper in the same asylum that Arthur’s mother had wound up in. She had written letters that he had produced to Jeremiah. Jeremiah kept them in the same box he kept the paper in. When he wrote to his brother to bring the box back, he never got an answer. Then Blandois showed up, ad he guessed what had happened.

Mrs. Clennam reiterates that she cannot afford the sum Blandois demands. Nobody else will pay him as much, though, as she will. Blandois reveals that he has given the papers to Amy Dorrit, who he could trust not to open them. If he doesn’t return to reclaim them, she has instructions that she and Arthur are to read them.

Mrs. Clennam, having risen from her chair, snatches her cloak and goes to leave. Affery stops her, saying she’ll keep her secret. She offers to be the nurse of the woman Mrs. Clennam has kept in the house secretly. Mrs. Clennam insists that the woman died, and Affery supposes that the woman haunts the house.

Mrs. Clennam runs out. Avfery goes after her, and Jeremiah also departs. Blandois stays behind, certain that he’ll get his money.

Charles Dickens