Chapter 29-32 Summary
Nell enjoys her work conducting tours of Mrs. Jarley’s wax-work, as well as the company of Mrs. Jarley herself. She fears encountering Quilp again, but otherwise feels comfortable in Mrs. Jarley’s presence. One day, she and her grandfather go for a walk but run into a thunderstorm. They seek shelter in the Valiant Soldier Inn. As they dry themselves before the fire, Grandfather overhears the sounds of a card game in the next room. He demands that Nell give him whatever money she has, which she does reluctantly, begging him to come away before he is drawn back into his gambling habit. He ignores her and joins the game. As he wins and loses, Nell despairs of her grandfather’s being able to control this passion.
The hour is now late, and Nell asks the landlord how much it would cost for a room and supper. She finds she has enough hidden in the hems of her skirts. Grandfather is overcome with the idea of how closely he came to winning, but having lost it all because he had no more money to bet. After dinner, Nell goes up to her room and encounters a servant girl, who tells her of the dishonest characters who stay at the inn. Fearful, Nell worries about being robbed in the middle of the night. She falls asleep but awakens, and just as she feared, she spots a man crawling about the room. He examines her clothes lying on the chair and then leaves. Nell tries to follow him, afraid that he might go into her grandfather’s room. As she enters the old man’s chamber, she sees her grandfather at the table, counting the money he stole from his granddaughter.
The next morning, Nell tells her grandfather that someone stole the rest of her money. Grandfather avoids looking at her. When they return to Mrs. Jarley, they find the woman had stayed up late for them but had eventually become convinced that they found shelter from the storm. She sends Nell to Miss Monflathers’s school with advertisement for the wax-work, but Miss Monflathers condemns her as a wicked child to be associated with such a company. Miss Edwards, one of the teachers tries to point out that Nell is at least working rather than loafing, but Miss Monflathers cuts her down. She leads her students off, leaving Nell standing there.
Mrs. Jarley is highly offended when she learns of Miss Monflathers’s remarks. She order Nell that at every thought of the headmistress in the future, Nell should laugh at her. Grandfather demands that Nell turn over to him every penny they earn. Rather than risk putting her grandfather in the position of a thief again, Nell does so. She thinks of Miss Edwards, who came to her defense, and longs for a friend.