Chapters 8-11 Summary
Sim Tappertit sneaks through the streets of London until he comes to the door of a cellar. He calls out and is let in, being addressed as “Captain.” Within the damp cellar, the meeting of the ’Prentice Knights, a union of apprentices who have joined together to take action against their masters, comes into session. The owner of the cellar is Stagg, a blind man who nevertheless “sees” a great deal. The members discuss which masters will bear a black mark next to their names for future punishment. Sim presents an order that no member of the ’Prentice Knights shall have anything to do with Joseph Willet because Sim is jealous of his attentions to Dolly Varden. The meeting adjourns an hour before dawn, and Sim prepares to return to the locksmith’s home.
When Sim snuck out, Miggs was awake and heard him leave. At first, she convinces herself that he might be trying to sneak into her room, but then she hears him leaving out the front door. She goes down and sees that he locked the door behind him, which convinces her that has made himself a key. She plugs up the lock and waits for his return. When he comes home, he is unable to fit the key into the door and must have Miggs’s help, though she toys with him and puts him off. He pleads with her, and she lets him in, pretending to faint out of “concern” that he might have come to harm. Sim carries her upstairs and sets her outside her bedroom door, where he leaves her.
At the Maypole, a guest arrives and asks for a room. Since Joe is gone, John Willet must depend on Hugh, who is silent and slow. The guest is Sir John Chester, Edward Chester’s father. He asks for someone to take a message to the Warren. Joe is gone and Hugh is busy, so John Willet sends for Barnaby. Mr. Chester is surprised to find Barnaby there, since he had seen him the night before in London. Barnaby takes Mr. Chester by the arm and has him look out the window at the shadows below, which are simply the clothes on the line. Barnaby delivers his message and returns, and Mr. Chester gives him some money.
That evening, the Maypole is crowded because word has spread that Mr. Haredale is going to meet with Sir John Chester there. People speculate that they will fight a duel. The only ones not interested are Hugh (who is sleeping in the corner) and Barnaby. Mr. Haredale arrives and goes up to the room where Sir John is waiting.