“The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens (Part 2)

nell and her grandfather

thank you http://www.victorianweb.org for the picture

This is what Mr. Quilp does to make ends meet: “…. collected the rents of whole colonies of filthy streets and alleys by the waterside, advanced money to the seamen and petty officers of merchant vessels, had a share in the ventures of diverse mates of East Indiamen, smoked his smuggled cigars under the very nose of the Custom House, and made appointments on ‘Change with men in glazed hats and round jackets pretty well every day.”

He is a very authoritative man including in the family. When he orders, his wife must obey. One day, when he is on the wharf, Nell comes and brings a letter from her grandfather. The dwarf gets irritated after reading the letter then inquires her. The little girl admits she doesn’t know at all about it and all the letters that she convey from the both.

Despite his anger, he seduces Nell, admiring her look that day and frankly wanting her to be his next wife after Mrs. Quilp. Although he says those half-jokingly, Nell feels uncomfortable. All of the closeness that she used to feel now crumbles.

But Nelly is a good friend of Mrs. Quilp and the girl tells the latter the greatest change that happens to the grandfather. Mrs. Quilp, under the command of her husband, inquires Nelly to open her secret which is successful by the end. The grandfather has lately been very restless, his face looks pale, frequently goes away at nights. It seems that he carries a huge burden over the shoulder. Nelly is then greatly influenced for the joy or the sorrow of her grandfather means so much for her.

Mr. Quilp is pleased with Nell’s confessions. After Nell returns from Mr. Quilp’s residence, she and the grandfather has a dialogue that sees him telling what happens to him recently. Nell encourages him to leave the place. Nell argues that as long as they go together they can be happy regardless having no clues on their destinations. She doesn’t mind of them turning into beggars as long as the grandfather returns as a happy person like he used to be.

As they agree on the plans, Mr. Quilp appears on their home. He immediately corners the grandfather on the whereabouts of his money; on why none of them is returned back. Mr. Quilp knows all of the secret that all of the money whom he is promised as an investment is instead gone to the gambling-table. The grandfather never wins any of the games and Quilp’s money is all wasted. Mr. Quilp feels he has been deceived by the grandfather as the latter is known to be a rich person with a good reputation. When the grandfather asks for Mr. Quilp who tells the secret, Kit is the name that he mentions despite the fact that it is Nell who says it all in her admission to Mrs. Quilp.

Since then, the grandfather hates Kit despite all of his kindness and obedience. He even forbids Nell to meet Kit again. Their life becomes so miserable as Mr. Quilp now owns the house in exchange of the debts the grandfather owes him.  Worse, Nell and the grandfather are banned from leaving the place. Nell insists on her plans. So when the lawyer that is hired by Mr. Quilp to settle the debt and such is in his deep slumber, Nell sneaks out to one of the rooms when the house’s key is kept.

So off they go, nowhere to be seen anymore.



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