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Summary Chapter 14

Little Dorrit and Maggy arrive at Arthur’s room at midnight. It seems luxurious to Maggy and her compared to what they are accustomed to. Arthur makes a fire, seeing how lightly clad Little Dorrit is and how worn her shoes are. Little Dorrit is embarrassed, but not by her poverty. She fears Arthur will blame her father for her condition.

Arthur wishes to call Amy Little Dorrit. She thinks how he would make a good father to a girl, how he would be able to guide her with advice. She tells him her brother has been released. She is never to know who is responsible for it, so she can never thank the person. She says this fully aware that Arthur is responsible for releasing her brother. Arthur tells her that her gratitude is not necessary. The person would be glad to do her a kind service, and let us pretend that she has thanked the person. He asks why they have come at this hour.

Little Dorrit says she went to the theater where her uncle and sister are employed. She likes to see with her own eyes that they are doing well. They usually aren’t aware of this, and she doesn’t have the opportunity to do it often. She told her father she was going to a party. She particularly desired to go to the theater because she is worried about a new lady friend her sister has recently made.

She thinks Arthur’s mother knows her secret and where she lives. She thinks Mr. Flintwinch has been spying on her. She has encountered him twice in the street, and she believes he has been following her. The mother hasn’t changed towards her, but she asks Arthur if she should confess her origins. Arthur tells her to do nothing, saying he will handle the matter.

She knows Arthur is going to visit her father. Little Dorrit asks him to ignore any requests her father makes. She assures Arthur that her father is really kind and loves her. She wants Arthur to think well of him.

Arthur lets Maggy take the food home with her. Little Dorrit tells Arthur she will be staying with Maggy tonight, as she has been locked out of Marshalsea. He wants to escort them home, but Little Dorrit begs him not to. He follows at a distance to make sure they get home safely.

It turns out, though, that they have no where to go and are waiting for the prison to open its gates. Little Dorrit hopes her father will not miss her. They hide whenever someone comes.

They wander the streets. A woman asks Maggy what she is thinking wandering the streets at this hour and in the bitter cold with her delicate child. When she goes to warm Little Dorrit’s hands, she realizes she is an adult. She tells Little Dorrit to be afraid of her and to run away. She never would have approached her if she had known she was a woman.

Little Dorrit goes to the church, where she recognizes the man that speaks to her. He tells her they have her birth certificate in the Register there, and she is a curiosity to them since she was born in the Marshalsea. When learning they were locked out of the prison, he invites them inside. They rest there until the prison gates open.

Charles Dickens