Short summary - Dombey and Son (Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation) - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Dombey and Son (Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation)
Charles Dickens

The action takes place in the middle of the XIX century. On one of London’s ordinary evenings, Mr. Dombey’s life is marked by a great event — a son is born to him. From now on, his company (one of the largest in the City!), In the management of which he sees the meaning of his life, will again be not only in name but also in fact, «Dombey and Son». Indeed, before that, Mr. Dombey had no offspring, except for the six-year-old daughter of Florence. Mr. Dombey is happy. He accepts congratulations from his sister, Mrs. Chick, and her friend, Miss Tox. But along with joy, grief came into the house - Mrs. Dombey could not bear the birth and died, hugging Florence. On the recommendation of Miss Tox, a nurse Paulie Toodle is taken to the house. She sincerely sympathizes with the forgotten father Florence and, in order to spend more time with the girl, makes friends with her governess Susan Nieper, and also convinces Mr. Dombey, that it’s good for the baby to spend more time with his sister. Meanwhile, the old master of naval tools, Solomon Gills, and his friend Captain Katle celebrate the beginning of the work of his nephew, Gills Walter Gay, at Dombey and Son. They joke that someday he will marry the owner’s daughter.

After the baptism of Dombey's son (he was given the name Paul), his father, in gratitude to Paul Toodle, announces his decision to educate her eldest son Rob. This news provokes Paulie with a fit of homesickness and, despite Mr. Dombey’s prohibition, Paulie and Susan set off for the next walk with the children in the slums where Tudley lives. On the way back in the street hustle, Florence fell behind and lost. An old woman, calling herself Mrs. Brown, lures her to her, takes her clothes and lets go, somehow covering her with rags. Florence, looking for a way home, meets Walter Gay, who takes her to his uncle's house and informs Mr. Dombey that his daughter was found. Florence returned home, but Mr. Dombey fired Paulie Toodle for taking his son to an inappropriate place for him.

Paul grows frail and sickly. To strengthen his health, he and Florence (because he loves her and cannot live without her) are sent to the sea, in Brighton, to Mrs. Pipchin's orphanage. His father, as well as Mrs. Chick and Miss Tox, visit him once a week. These miss miss trips were not disregarded by Major Begstock, who has certain views on her, and, noting that Mr. Dombey had clearly overshadowed him, the major finds a way to reduce his acquaintance with Mr. Dombey. They got along amazingly well and quickly converged.

When Paul turns six years old, he is placed in Dr. Blimber’s school in the same place in Brighton. Florence was left with Mrs. Pipchin so that her brother could see her on Sundays. As Dr. Blimber has the habit of overloading his students, Paul, despite the help of Florence, is becoming increasingly painful and eccentric. He is friends with only one student, Toots, ten years older than him; as a result of intensive training with Dr. Blimber, Tutz became a little weak in mind.

A junior agent dies at a Barbados trading agency, and Mr. Dombey sends Walter to his vacant seat. This news coincides with another for Walter: he finally finds out why, while James Carker occupies a high official position, his older brother John, handsome Walter, is forced to occupy the lowest - it turns out that in his youth, John Karker robbed the company and since then atone for his guilt.

Shortly before the holidays, Paul is doing so badly that he is exempted from classes; he wanders around the house alone, dreaming that everyone would love him. At the end of the half year party, Paul is very weak, but happy to see how well everyone treats him and Florence. He is taken home, where he languishes day after day and dies, wrapping his arms around his sister.

Florence is hard on his death. The girl grieves alone - she did not have a single soul left, except for Susan and Toots, who sometimes visits her. She passionately wants to achieve the love of her father, who has become introverted from the day of Paul’s funeral and does not communicate with anyone. Once, having gathered courage, she comes to him, but his face expresses only indifference.

Meanwhile, Walter is leaving. Florence comes to say goodbye to him. Young people express their friendly feelings and persuade to call each other brother and sister.

Captain Katl comes to James Karker to find out what the prospects are for this young man. From captain, Karker learns about the mutual inclinations of Walter and Florence and is so interested that he puts his spy in Mr. Gills's house (this is Rob Toodle lost his way).

Mr. Gills (as well as Captain Katl and Florence) is very worried that there is no news about Walter's ship. Finally, the instrumental master leaves in an unknown direction, leaving the keys to his shop to Captain Katl with the order "to maintain fire in the hearth for Walter."

To unwind, Mr. Dombey takes a trip to Demington in the company of Major Begstock. The major meets his old acquaintance Mrs. Skewton with her daughter Edith Granger, and introduces them to Mr. Dombey.

James Karker goes to Demington to his patron. Mr. Dombey introduces Karker to new acquaintances. Soon Mr. Dombey makes an offer to Edith, and she indifferently agrees; this engagement is very much like a deal. However, the bride’s indifference disappears when she meets Florence. A warm, trusting relationship is established between Florence and Edith.

When Mrs. Chick informs Miss Tox about her brother's upcoming wedding, the latter faints. Having guessed about the unfulfilled matrimonial plans of her friend, Mrs. Chick indignantly broke off her relationship. And since Major Begstock had long set Mr. Dombey against Miss Tox, she was now forever excommunicated from Dombey's house.

So, Edith Granger becomes Mrs. Dombey.

One day after another visit, Tutsa Susan asks him to go to the shop of the instrumental master and ask Mr. Gills for an article in a newspaper that she hid from Florence all day. This article says that the ship on which Walter sailed sank. In the shop, Toots finds only Captain Katl, who does not question the article and mourns Walter.

Mourns for Walter and John Carker. He is very poor, but his sister Herieth prefers to share the shame with him in the luxurious house of James Karker. One day, Heriet helped a woman walking past her house in rags. This is Alice Marwood, a fallen woman who served time in hard labor, and James Karker is to blame for her fall. Upon learning that the woman who felt sorry for her is James's sister, she curses Heriet.

Mr. and Mrs. Dombey are returning home after their honeymoon. Edith is cold and arrogant with everyone except Florence. Mr. Dombey notices this and is very unhappy. Meanwhile, James Karker is seeking meetings with Edith, threatening to tell Mr. Dombey about Florence’s friendship with Walter and his uncle, and Mr. Dombey will move further away from his daughter. So he gains some power over her. Mr. Dombey is trying to subordinate Edith to his will; she is ready to reconcile with him, but he does not consider it necessary to take at least a step towards her with pride. To further humiliate his wife, he refuses to deal with her otherwise than through an intermediary - Mr. Karker.

Helene's mother, Mrs. Skewton, became seriously ill and was escorted by Edith and Florence to Brighton, where she soon dies. Tutc, who came to Brighton after Florence, having gained courage, declares her love, but Florence, alas, sees in him only a friend. Her second friend, Susan, unable to see her master’s neglect of her daughter, is trying to «open his eyes,» and for this insolence, Mr. Dombey dismisses her.

The gap between Dombey and his wife is growing (Karker takes advantage of this to increase his power over Edith). She offers a divorce, Mr. Dombey disagrees, and then Edith escapes from her husband with Karker. Florence rushes to console her father, but Mr. Dombey, suspecting her of having an affair with Edith, strikes her daughter, and she runs away in tears from the house to the shop of the instrumental master to captain Katl.

And soon Walter arrives there too! He did not drown, he was lucky to be saved and return home. Young people become bride and groom. Solomon Gills, wandering around the world in search of his nephew, returns just in time to attend a modest wedding with captain Katl, Susan and Toots, who is upset but comforted by the thought that Florence will be happy. After the wedding, Walter and Florence set sail again. Meanwhile, Alice Marwood, wanting revenge on Karker, blackmail pulls Rob Toodle from his servant, where Karker and Mrs. Dombey will go, and then transfers this information to Mr. Dombey. Then she is tormented by her conscience, she begs Heriet Karker to warn the criminal brother and save him. But it's late. At the moment when Edith throws to Karker that only out of hatred for her husband she decided to escape with him, but she hates him even more, Mr. Dombey's voice is heard outside the door. Edith leaves through the back door, locking it behind him and leaving Karker to Mr. Dombey. Karker manages to escape. He wants to leave as far as possible, but on the plank platform of a remote village where he was hiding, he suddenly sees Mr. Dombey again, bounces off him and gets under the train.

Despite the cares of Heriet, Alice soon dies (before her death, she admits that she was a cousin of Edith Dombey). Heriet cares not only about her: after the death of James Karker, he and his brother inherited a large inheritance, and with the help of Mr. Morphine, who is in love with her, she arranges a rent for Mr. Dombey - he is busted because of the discovered abuses of James Karker.

Mr. Dombey is crushed. Having lost at once his position in society and his beloved deed, abandoned by everyone except the faithful Miss Tox and Paul Toodle, he locked himself in an empty house - and only now remembers that for all these years there was a daughter who loved him and whom he rejected; and he bitterly repents. But the minute he is about to commit suicide, Florence appears in front of him!

Mr. Dombey's old age is warmed by the love of her daughter and her family. In their close-knit family circle, Captain Katl, Miss Tox, and the married Toots and Susan often appear. After recovering from ambitious dreams, Mr. Dombey found happiness in giving his love to his grandchildren - Paul and little Florence.