The Clennam house has always been a miserable house, seemingly isolated from the world. Only fire and candles mark the passage of hours. Even these seem subdued.
Mrs. Flintwinch has another dream. She is in the kitchen getting some tea and warming herself when she is startled by a noise. She has heard the noise before and has always been frightened by it. Fearing the house is indeed haunted, she flees upstairs to find her husband. He is not there. She then sees him in conversation with Mrs. Clennam outside the house. She goes to the door to be near them and overhears the conversation.
Jeremiah Flintwinch is boldy telling Mrs. Clennam that he won’t put up with her nonsense. She is angry with him for telling Arthur something. He believes that Mrs. Clennam should have done justice to her husband. He never liked the man, for Mr. Clennam had always been weak. The uncle of Mr. Clennam, whom Jeremiah had served, had treated them both miserably. Jeremiah knew that Arthur’s father was doomed to be ruled by the wife his uncle chose for him.
Jeremiah Flintwinch is devoted to his mistress, but he refuses to submit to her strong will. They come to an understanding and drop the matter.
Mr. Flintwinch then asks what she intends to do about Little Dorrit. Will the girl serve her forever? Mrs. Clennam will keep her as long as the girl chooses to stay and deserves the assistance. He asks her if she would like to know where Little Dorrit lives, which he accidentally found out. She informs him that if she had cared to know that, she would have asked. She locks herself away from pleasant things, but it also keeps her away from unpleasant things. She begs Jeremiah to let her be and to let Little Dorrit keep her secret.
Mrs. Flintwinch goes back downstairs. She ignores the bell summoning her. Jeremiah goes to fetch her. She tries to tell him about the noise, but he dismisses it and orders her to get the tea.
Mrs. Flintwinch never has an easy time in that house afterwards.
Little Dorrit arrives. Jeremiah stares at her. Arthur comes a little later, wanting to talk to Mrs. Flintwinch. She is too agitated to talk to him. She hears the noise again later, but Jeremiah tells her she is imagining things.