Chapters 6-9 Summary
Mr. Crisparkle, an example of “muscular Christianity,” engages in an early-morning round of shadow boxing. His mother, who lives with him, fears that he will break something. They receive a letter from the philanthropist Luke Honeythunder announcing that he is bringing his wards, Neville and Helena Landless, to be educated at Cloisterham.
Mr. Crisparkle proposes a dinner party to welcome the new pupils. Mr. Honeythunder arrives with Neville and Helena, declaring that he is in need of fresh air and will remain for the day. At dinner, he is extremely annoying, monopolizing the conversation.
Neville describes his and his sister’s childhood in Ceylon at the hands of a miserly and abusive stepfather. At the stepfather’s death (which was a good thing, says Neville, or he might have killed the man), the siblings were passed off to Mr. Honeythunder. He tells Mr. Crisparkle that he and Helena like him, even though they came to Cloisterham prepared to dislike him and run away.
Neville describes Helena cutting off her hair and dressing as a boy when the two of them ran away from their cruel stepfather. Mr. Crisparkle is shocked at Neville’s violent streak but resolves to do what he can to help him and Helena. Neville asks about Edwin and his relationship to Rosa. In the parlor, Jasper is playing the piano while Rosa is singing. Rosa stops, saying that she is frightened. Helena takes care of her and the two become friends. Rosa tells Helena that she feels threatened by Jasper, enslaving her with his stare.
Neville mentions to Edwin that Mr. Crisparkle told him about Edwin’s engagement to Rosa. Edwin resents everyone talking about his private business. They begin to argue until Jasper comes along and breaks it up. They are calmed, but only momentarily. Neville dashes out of the house and goes to Mr. Crisparkle’s home,...
(The entire section is 484 words.)