Little Dorrit Working Notes


The V&A holds the author's working notes or "Number Plans" for Little Dorrit. The notes for No. II onwards are bound in with the main manuscript, while No. I is in another volume.

The text is written on foolscap pages that were originally folded in half. Themes and ideas for inclusion in the Number appear on the left hand side, while points relating to individual Chapters are given on the right.


Page 001 No.2 Chapters 4-7

Page 001 No.2 Chapters 4-7

[Left column]

Arthur and his mother ? - Yes / His old sweetheart ? Not yet. / The man who comfortably charges everything on Providence? Not yet. / Dorrit ? - Yes. / The Father of the Marshalsea / The Child of the Marshalsea /

[a bracket associates the following 5 text lines with the preceding two text lines]

Turnkey / Ruined brother -(the clarionet player I saw at the Ambigu in Paris.) / Son & Daughter - she, a dancer /Dorrit.

[Left column ends, Right column begins]

((Nobody’s Fault Little Dorrit __________ No. II. )

Chapter IV.

Family Affairs

Scene with Arthur and his mother / Flintwinch. / Lead through to Dorrit - Can she have anything to do with it? Watch her

Chapter V.

The Father of the Marshalsea

Dorrit’s father


Father’s Wife — Dorrit born in the prison.

Mrs. Fl?nx Flinx

Dr. Haggage

20 years - the father of the Marshalsea - Proud of it

The Plasterer - friend

Chapter VI.

The Child of the Marshalsea

Dorrit’s Progress - Doll gets like the prison people / Turnkey perplexed how to “tie it up” — Never does tie [??] it up, but dies.





/ She becomes the prop and stay of the rest / This was the life and this the history of Dorrit

Chapter VII

The Lock.

Arthur in the room - The Family picture - The Brother.


“Testimonial” -

Gets locked in, and has to sleep there. Parallel Imprisonments - his mother’s and the Father's of the Marshalsea -

[right column ends]

Last edit almost 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Page 002 No.3 Chapters 9-11

Page 002 No.3 Chapters 9-11

[left column]

/ Arthur and Dorrit? Yes / Public Office?


"Aristocratic" ofQuarter ? Yes

/ M. Rigaud? Yes. / Baby and the Meagleses? Mr - Slightly

/ Miss Wade in the prison? Not yet / Her father? Not yet / The Theatre? Not yet. /

[Left column ends, Right column begins]

(Nobody’s Fault Little Dorrit___________ No. III. )

Chapter IX.

Little Mother..

Uncle's lodging / Interview between Clennam and Dorrit

on the Iron bridge —

/ Make way for the Stiltstalkings - Stiltstalkers - Barnacles

Her protegée. Maggy - Bangham?


/ My Little Mother /

Chapter X.

Containing the whole Science of Government.

How not to do it.

/ /Mr Tite Barnacle and his family

Mews Street Grosvenor Square / House like a bottle of smell. When the footman opens the door, he seems to take the stopper out. / "Look here. You know” - Young Barnacle.

Inventor. Daniel Doyce Bleeding Heart Yard

Chapter XI.

Let Loose.

Rigaud out / Comes on foot to Chalons and there encounters Cavalletto. At the Daybreak? — Break of Day?

Describe small auberge of that sort. / Little Italian runs away from him / Sunrise picture - Cavalletto making off in the red light down the long road __ /

[end of right column]

Last edit almost 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Page 003 No.4 Chapters 12-14

Page 003 No.4 Chapters 12-14

[left column]

Charging everything on Providence? No / Miss Wade. Her surroundings and antecedents? No / The Meagleses? No / Bleeding Heart Yard? Yes. and the Plasterer?

[the above two lines are bracketed together, followed by the affirmative] / Clennam’s old sweetheart? Yes. Flora. Flora Casby / More of his character? Yes.

How he stands toward Dorrit? Hardly. Faint indications / Lagnier? No. / The Theatre? No. /

[Left column ends, Right column begins]

(Little Dorrit. _____ No. IV)

Chapter XII.

Bleeding Heart Yard


“Bleeding Heart, Bleeding Heart, Bleeding away.” / Plornish and Family. / Get [or Set?] Tip out.

Captain Maroon

Horse Chaunting. /

Chapter XIII.


Old Christopher Casby, the Patriarch. Wooden-headed old Booby / Unwieldy ship and Steam Tug - Panx- Pancks. / Flora “Mr F’s Aunt” Accident to Little Cavalletto. / Chapter XIV

Lead up, through the state of Arthur Clennam’s mind

to “Little Dorrit”

Late at Night. Nowhere to go to.


Chapter XV XIV.

Little Dorrit’s Eyes Party

“Spare my father, the giving him anything. Can’t bear him to be seen

by you in his moments of degradation. / Out all night - Woman in the street. /

“If it really was a party now!” -

Burial Register for a pillow. 'This was Little Dorrit’s party ???? The vice desertion, wretchedness of the great Capital. This was the party from which she went home.'

Last edit almost 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Page 004 No.5 Chapters 15-18

Page 004 No.5 Chapters 15-18

[left column]

Rigaud? No / Miss Wade? Carry on / The Meagles Family? Practical

Mr Mrs Pet Tattycoram

[the five lines above are bracketed together, followed by] Yes / Fanny Dorrit and the Theatre? Her Uncle?

[the two lines above are bracketed together, followed by] No / Mrs Clennam, Mrs Flintwinch, Jeremiah? Yes / Arthur and Doyce in Partnership? Pave the way / Mrs Flintwinch dreams again? Yes. /

[Left column ends, Right column begins]

(Little Dorrit No. V.)

Chapter XV.

Mrs. Flintwich has another Dream.

Carry on the idea indicated in last Chapter of No. 1 / Begin (with a view to Rigaud catastrophe) the mysterious sounds in the old house. / Mr Flintwich “giving it to” Mrs Clennam. / Affery falls into a haunted state of mind-

Chapter XVI.

Nobody’s Weakness.

Tattycoram Miss Wade

Mr Meagles's house - Curiosities Pictures Sticky old Saints - mere Fly Traps

Daniel Doyce

Clennam falls in love with Pet. Decides not to - Quite clear not to. / So flows the quiet river - so many miles an hour the set of the current, here the lilies, there the rushes — nothing distracted - nothing put out - on, on, to the Eternal Seas

Chapter XVII.

Nobody’s Rival..

Clennam’s Rival.

Gowan — Henry Gowan. Languid artist career. You may put a man in a govt., but you can’t make anything else of him that he is not fit for.

Ferryboat Scene / Young Barnacle. Doyce sees how it is — [Rain??] Rain /

Chapter XVIII.

Little Dorrit’s Lover.

First suggestion of her being in love with Clennam (Sentimental) Chivery / Through Turnkey’s son - Young George? Young John Iron bridge again - Tobacco business / The family gentility - always the gentility Tombstone idea

[end of right column]

Last edit almost 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Page 005 No.6 Chapters 19-22

Page 005 No.6 Chapters 19-22

[left column]

Fanny Dorrit? The Theatre? Yes Her uncle? Yes

[The above three lines are bracketed together, followed by the 2 affirmatives]

Start from the Marshalsea, carrying on from last No.? Yes

Miss Wade? No

Lagnier? No.

Flora Casby?


[bracket shows the following line refers to preceding two lines]

No. Hold over.

[Left column ends, Right column begins]

(Little Dorrit ——————————————- No. VI.)

Chapter XIX.

The Father of the Marshalsea in two or three relations.

The two brothers. ==

Condense, if possible, the whole fatherly character / Scene with the father and daughter / You have never seen me

“ No no, I have never seen him in my life!”

Chapter XX.

Moving in Society.

Family Pride

The Theatre / Indistinctly seen, as Little Dorrit saw it / Now Ladies — Now Darlings

Uncle in the Orchestra. Sunk from the upper sky. / Mrs Merdle — Bosom — Society, Society, Society.

The Shadow of the Marshalsea on whom? /

Chapter XXI.

Mr Merdle’s Complaint.

People like the houses they Inhabit - Suppose a dinner party of houses

Still Society - always Society - Everything for Society / Dinner and reception - Society there - Treasury, Admiralty, Church, Bar,

Physic / The Physician and Mr Merdle's mysterious complaint (, to wit:

Forgery Fraud & Forgery

bye & bye

Young Sparkler

Shadow continued

Chapter XXII.

Conference[s?] A puzzle

Mrs. Chivery - "Since in this house I have been," construction / Our John sits among the linen disconsolate — Says its like Groves. / Dawn of Little Dorrit’s love love for Arthur — Maggy -

The shadow of the Marshalsea Wall

[end of right column]

Last edit almost 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
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