In his working notes for Little Dorrit, called Number Plans, Dickens described the following scene under the heading, ‘Set the darkness and vengeance against the New Testament’. In it, the Mrs. Clennam character is attempting to justify a crime she has committed in the service of ‘fighting sin’, to the title character (ht PZ):

“I have done”, said Mrs. Clennam ,”what was given to me to do. I have set myself against evil… I have been an instrument of severity against sin. Have not mere sinners like myself been commissioned to lay it low in all time?”

“In all time?” repeated Little Dorrit. …

“O, Mrs. Clennam, Mrs. Clennam.” said Little Dorrit, “angry feelings and unforgiving deeds are no comfort and no guide to you and me. My life has been passed in this poor prison, and my teaching has been very defective; but let me implore you to remember later and better days. Be guided, only, by the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities. We cannot but be right if we put all the rest away …

There is no vengeance and no infliction of suffering in His life, I am sure…”

In the softened light of the window, looking from the scene of her early trials to the shining sky, she was not in stronger opposition to the black figure in the shade, than the life and doctrine on which she rested were to that figure’s history. It bent its head low again, and said not a word.