The most important department under government supervision is the Circumlocution Office. It heads all public business. Before one can do anything, they need permission from this institution. The focus always seems to be on how NOT to do something, particularly during elections. A great study is made of what is wrong and what wasn’t done about it.
The Circumlocution Office was responsible for firing any public official who decided to do something. As a result, many people fall through the cracks of the system.
Sometimes some members of Parliament questioned the Circumlocution Office’s tactics, but the institution had more supporters that argued the objector down.
The Barnacle family managed the Circumloction Office. They were a large family, and many members were in public service.
Arthur Clennam makes several attempt to see Mr. Tite Barnacle. He finally gets to see the man’s son, Barnacle Jr. He tells Barnacle Jr. that he wants an appointment with his father to discuss a Mr. Dorrit. The son suggests visiting their home, as his father is often ill with gout.
Arthur visits Tite Barnacle at his home. The man says the Circumlocution Office made a claim against a partnership Mr. Dorrit had been involved in. In order for Arthur to learn more about he case, he will have to submit the proper forms.
Arthur goes back to Barnacle Junior, saying he knows the matter was public business—and he wants to know the details. Barnacle Jr. tries to put him off, saying he doesn’t have an appointment. Arthur is persistent, so the man refers him to the Secretarial Deaprtment. Without hearing what Arthur is going to say, the person in the Secretarial Department refers him to someone else. This person gives him the forms but doubts he’ll go through with the business. It requires going back and forth between departments.
Arthur goes to another department after taking the forms. He encounters an angry Mr. Meagles. He asks Mr. Meagles what is the matter.
Mr. Meagles introduces him to Mr. Doyce. He explains that Mr. Doyce invented something that was a great help to his country. However, the government claims he has done an offense. They wish to fine him and threaten to imprison him.
Mr. Doyce is calm and philosophical about it. He has good company in other people who are misused by the system. It is this treatment that causes inventors to go to other countries.
The three men decide to go to the Bleeding Heart Yard.