Dickens began Little Dorrit in May 1855 with this episode fresh in his memory. Though the novel focuses on government inaction and the corrupting ability of money, Dickens includes his characteristic humorous depictions, such as in the character of Flora, who was once the love interest of Arthur Clennam, the male protagonist. Clennam returns to England after twenty years in China and visits the home of Flora's father Mr. Casby. There, he finds out that Flora is a widow and Clennam entertains the idea of a renewed courtship. But upon seeing Flora, Clennam is shocked at how she has changed:
Clennam, like Dickens, was expecting the same beautiful woman of his youth and is surprised at how changed she is.
Clennam is not at much dismayed by her physical appearance as he is by her personality traits. Among her chief flaws is her garrulousness. After finding out that Clennam has not married, Flora volubly expresses surprise:
One can see the humorous light in which Dickens portrays the scene but he himself was disappointed in seeing his old love in such an unflattering state. The woman who had inspired Dora had now inspired the chattering Flora (rhyming names likely done purposely).