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Summary Chapter 9

The dawn comes slowly and accompanied by rain. Arthur gets up, not having rested well, and paces the yard for two hours before the gate opens. The turnkey opens the gate, allowing people to leave and to enter. Those that enter bring items for the prisoners. Most are really poor themselves.

Arthur decides to speak to Amy Dorrit again and inquires after her. He goes to the uncle’s house and sends a message for her to meet him there.

The uncle asks Arthur what he thinks of his brother. Artuhur says it is nice to see that he seems content. The uncle then asks what he thinks of Amy. Arthur replies that he is impressed. The uncle says they would all be lost without Amy. Arthur views these praises not being from gratitude but from one who expects to be helped.

Amy arrives. She tells Arthur she is not going to his mother’s today. He suggests they take a walk.

He asks her if she or her father had ever heard of his mother before she hired Amy. Amy says no. She begs him not to judge her father harshly. He is widely respected at Marshalsea. Amy goes on to say that she is not ashamed of her father or of growing up in a prison. The people were generally kind. She has had a peaceful life.

Arthur asks about her father’s remaining creditors. She remembers hearing the name Tite Barnacle being the major one. However, she says there is no point in getting her father out of prison. He wouldn’t be able to live on the outside. Arthur asks if she would be glad if her brother was released, and she says yes.

Arthur asks about the friend she mentioned. She tells him the name and where the man lives. He tells her she can rely on him and gives her his new address.

On the dirty street, a woman cries out to Little Dorrit, calling her “little mother”. Maggy is the granddaughter of Little Dorrit’s nurse. Amy explains to Arthur that Maggy suffered a high fever when she was ten years old, and she never grew up mentally after that. The grandmother didn’t know what to do with her. She would beat Maggy, particularly when she drank. Maggy found a way to support herself, and she even learned to read a little bit—something Amy takes pleasure in.

Arthur escorts them both back to Marshalsea.

Charles Dickens