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Summary Chapter 16

Arthur resumes his friendship with the Meagle family. He decides to walk to their home in the country, as the scenery is pleasant. While walking, he ponders many subjects that are troubling his mind.

He wonders which career he should take up. He lives on a dwindling inheritance and is anxious about his future. Then there is the troubled relationship with his mother, which is momentarily peaceful. He thinks about Little Dorrit most of all. He sees her only freed with her father’s death.

He encounters Daniel Doyce on the road, who is also on his way to see the Meagles. With some prodding, he tells Arthur his history. He was the son of a blacksmith. His mother taught him to make locks, and his inventions got him released from his indentures. It also allowed him to learn engineering. After finishing his training, he took job offers in different countries. Eventually he returned to his own country. He had a partner who died. He is looking for a new parther who is not an inventor, for inventors have no common sense.

All the Magles and Tattycoram come out to greet them.

The Meagle house is very charming and is furnished with items from their travels. Mr. Meagle also has the brass scales from his old job at the bank. There is a picture of Pet and her twin sister, taken before the twin died. Arthur notices Tattycoram passing by with a frown in a mirror.

Arthur considers whether he should fall in love with Pet, even though she is half his age. He considers himself well-preserved and healthy. The parents would have a hard time relinquishing her. He decides she would not like him and decides not to fall in love with her.

Mr. Meagles wonders about Miss Wade. Tattycoram reveals that she has seen her since, as the woman wrote to her. She reveals that Miss Wade offered a hand of friendship to her.

Mr. Meagles, when Tatty leaves, remarks that she is too passionate and would come to ill if not with practical people.

Arthur then asks Mr. Meagles to recommend him to Mr. Doyce, who is looking for a business partner.

Arthur Clennam knows that Pet is spoiled. He is glad he didn’t fall in love with her. Had he have been younger, he might have thought she was attainable despite his deficiencies.

Charles Dickens