Little Dorrit


Charles Dickens

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Little Dorrit

Charles Dickens


Preface to the 1857 Edition

1. Sun and Shadow
2. Fellow Travellers
3. Home
4. Mrs Flintwinch has a Dream
5. Family Affairs
6. The Father of the Marshalsea
7. The Child of the Marshalsea
8. The Lock
9. little Mother
10. Containing the whole Science of Government
11. Let Loose
12. Bleeding Heart Yard
13. Patriarchal
14. Little Dorrit's Party
15. Mrs Flintwinch has another Dream
16. Nobody's Weakness
17. Nobody's Rival
18. Little Dorrit's Lover
19. The Father of the Marshalsea in two or three Relations
20. Moving in Society
21. Mr Merdle's Complaint
22. A Puzzle
23. Machinery in Motion
24. Fortune-Telling
25. Conspirators and Others
26. Nobody's State of Mind
27. Five-and-Twenty
28. Nobody's Disappearance
29. Mrs Flintwinch goes on Dreaming
30. The Word of a Gentleman
31. Spirit
32. More Fortune-Telling
33. Mrs Merdle's Complaint
34. A Shoal of Barnacles
35. What was behind Mr Pancks on Little Dorrit's Hand
36. The Marshalsea becomes an Orphan


1. Fellow Travellers
2. Mrs General
3. On the Road
4. A Letter from Little Dorrit
5. Something Wrong Somewhere
6. Something Right Somewhere
7. Mostly, Prunes and Prism
8. The Dowager Mrs Gowan is reminded that 'It Never Does'
9. Appearance and Disappearance
10. The Dreams of Mrs Flintwinch thicken
11. A Letter from Little Dorrit
12. In which a Great Patriotic Conference is holden
13. The Progress of an Epidemic
14. Taking Advice
15. No just Cause or Impediment why these Two Persons should
not be joined together
16. Getting on
17. Missing
18. A Castle in the Air
19. The Storming of the Castle in the Air
20. Introduces the next
21. The History of a Self-Tormentor
22. Who Passes by this Road so late?
23. Mistress Affery makes a Conditional Promise, respecting her Dreams
24. The Evening of a Long Day
25. The Chief Butler Resigns the Seals of Office
26. Reaping the Whirlwind
27. The Pupil of the Marshalsea
28. An Appearance in the Marshalsea
29. A Plea in the Marshalsea
30. Closing in
31. Closed
32. Going
33. Going!
34. Gone


I have been occupied with this story, during many working hours of two years. I must have been very ill employed, if I could not leave its merits and demerits as a whole, to express themselves on its being read as a whole. But, as it is not unreasonable to suppose that I may have held its threads with a more continuous attention than anyone else can have given them during its desultory publication, it is not unreasonable to ask that the weaving may be looked at in its completed state, and with the pattern finished.

If I might offer any apology for so exaggerated a fiction as the Barnacles and the Circumlocution Office, I would seek it in the common experience of an Englishman, without presuming to mention the unimportant fact of my having done that violence to good manners, in the days of a Russian war, and of a Court of Inquiry at Chelsea. If I might make so bold as to defend that extravagant conception, Mr Merdle, I would hint that it originated after the Railroad-share epoch, in the times of a certain Irish bank, and of one or two other equally laudable enterprises. If I were to plead anything in mitigation of the preposterous fancy that a bad design will sometimes claim to be a good and an expressly religious design, it would be the curious coincidence that it has been brought to its climax in these pages, in the days of the public examination of late Directors of a Royal British Bank. But, I submit myself to suffer judgment to go by default on all these counts, if need be, and to accept the assurance (on good authority) that nothing like them was ever known in this land. Some of my readers may have an interest in being informed whether or no any portions of the Marshalsea Prison are yet standing.

Charles Dickens
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