Little Dorrit HTML version

The Marshalsea becomes an Orphan
And now the day arrived when Mr Dorrit and his family were to leave the prison
for ever, and the stones of its much-trodden pavement were to know them no
The interval had been short, but he had greatly complained of its length, and had
been imperious with Mr Rugg touching the delay. He had been high with Mr
Rugg, and had threatened to employ some one else. He had requested Mr Rugg
not to presume upon the place in which he found him, but to do his duty, sir, and
to do it with promptitude. He had told Mr Rugg that he knew what lawyers and
agents were, and that he would not submit to imposition. On that gentleman's
humbly representing that he exerted himself to the utmost, Miss Fanny was very
short with him; desiring to know what less he could do, when he had been told a
dozen times that money was no object, and expressing her suspicion that he
forgot whom he talked to.
Towards the Marshal, who was a Marshal of many years' standing, and with
whom he had never had any previous difference, Mr Dorrit comported himself
with severity. That officer, on personally tendering his congratulations, offered the
free use of two rooms in his house for Mr Dorrit's occupation until his departure.
Mr Dorrit thanked him at the moment, and replied that he would think of it; but the
Marshal was no sooner gone than he sat down and wrote him a cutting note, in
which he remarked that he had never on any former occasion had the honour of
receiving his congratulations (which was true, though indeed there had not been
anything particular to congratulate him upon), and that he begged, on behalf of
himself and family, to repudiate the Marshal's offer, with all those thanks which its
disinterested character and its perfect independence of all worldly considerations
Although his brother showed so dim a glimmering of interest in their altered
fortunes that it was very doubtful whether he understood them, Mr Dorrit caused
him to be measured for new raiment by the hosiers, tailors, hatters, and
bootmakers whom he called in for himself; and ordered that his old clothes
should be taken from him and burned. Miss Fanny and Mr Tip required no
direction in making an appearance of great fashion and elegance; and the three
passed this interval together at the best hotel in the neighbourhood--though truly,
as Miss Fanny said, the best was very indifferent. In connection with that
establishment, Mr Tip hired a cabriolet, horse, and groom, a very neat turn out,
which was usually to be observed for two or three hours at a time gracing the
Borough High Street, outside the Marshalsea court-yard. A modest little hired
chariot and pair was also frequently to be seen there; in alighting from and
entering which vehicle, Miss Fanny fluttered the Marshal's daughters by the
display of inaccessible bonnets.
A great deal of business was transacted in this short period. Among other items,
Messrs Peddle and Pool, solicitors, of Monument Yard, were instructed by their
client Edward Dorrit, Esquire, to address a letter to Mr Arthur Clennam, enclosing
the sum of twenty- four pounds nine shillings and eightpence, being the amount