Chapter 40-43 Summary

Kip and Barbara return to Abel Cottage the morning after their holiday. Mr. and Mrs. Garland inform Kip that the single gentleman wishes to take Kip as his servant and is willing to pay more than his wages at the Garlands’. Kip displays his loyalty to the Garlands by refusing the job. Mr. Garland then suggests that perhaps Kip may be “lent” to the single gentleman, since he wants Kip to help him find Nell and her grandfather. Kip has no choice and so consents, just as Mr. Chuckster arrives to take him back to London. Kip waits for a long time in the Notary’s office before the single gentleman arrives to tell him that Grandfather and Nell have been found at a place almost seventy miles away. If they drive all night, they may be able to make it the next morning. The single gentleman reasons that if he approaches them himself, Nell might be fearful that he had come to take her grandfather away, but with Kit she would have some assurance that no harm would come to him. Kit disagrees, telling the single gentleman that Grandfather had sent Kit away in a fit of temper and would not want to see him. He suggests that his mother would be met with trust, so the single gentleman sets out to get Mrs. Nubbles.

Kit rushes home to find his mother is gone, and is told by a neighbor that she is at Little Bethel Chapel. Kit curses the influence Little Bethel has on his mother, but finds the crooked way to the meeting hall. He slips into a pew across from his mother (who is asleep) and is startled to see Quilp also in attendance. Giving up all sense of propriety, he awakens his mother and drags her from the church, accompanying by the remonstrations of the preacher. Kit tells his mother what is required of her and finally manages to get her packed up and into the coach.

Nell becomes more worried about her grandfather’s constant gambling, which has left them constantly penniless. One evening, Nell goes for a walk and overtakes a gypsy wagon, where he grandfather is playing cards. She overhears the men talking Grandfather into stealing Mrs. Jarley’s moneybox. When he agrees to do it and leaves, Nell hears the others talk about their plan to take half the money and get rid of her grandfather. Nell returns to her lodgings and tells her grandfather that she has had a terrible dream about an old man robbing others. She insists they leave immediately, and Nell and Grandfather depart on the road once again. They accept a ride on a canal boat, but Nell tries as hard as she can to keep her distance from the rough boatmen. They arrive after a few days at a dirty factory town.