Chapters 36–41 Summary

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Chapter 36

Harry and the doctor leave together in the carriage and discuss Harry’s professional prospects. Dr. Losberne suggests that Harry will be in parliament by the end of the year, and it seems that Harry’s uncle has some connection to his potential career goals. Before the men leave, Harry asks Oliver to write to him regularly with updates on Rose. The carriage departs, and the narrator relates that Rose has been watching from the window, even a while after they have left, and has been crying.

Chapter 37

Mr. Bumble has married Mrs. Corney, but he is not adjusting well to life as the master of the workhouse. Bumble laments his fall in status, and the relationship has quickly soured. Bumble tries to enforce his rule over his wife as the man of the house, and she attempts to manipulate his feelings by bursting into tears. Bumble turns to leave, and his wife throws something at him that knocks off his hat; she then physically attacks him. She orders him to leave, and he says he will. On his way out, Bumble stops in the washroom and begins to insult the women who work there. He finds his wife is already there, and she humiliates him in front of the women, who are greatly entertained by the scene. 

Bumble goes to the pub, and a stranger sits by him and strikes up a conversation. The man, Monks, inquires about Bumble’s past as a beadle and eventually asks him if he remembers Oliver Twist or the nurse who delivered him. Bumble reveals that the former nurse has died but tells Monks that Mrs. Corney knows something about the woman, and Bumble agrees to bring her to meet Monks the following evening. 

Chapter 38 

The following night, Mr. and Mrs. Bumble go to the mysterious address provided by Monks. The building is run-down, with some of it already collapsed into the water below and the rest hardly standing over it. Once inside, the Bumbles are greeted by Monks, who says he falls into strange fits when he hears thunder. Monks pays them for the information on the nurse and Oliver’s mother. It turns out that Sally, Oliver’s dying nurse, gave Mrs. Bumble a paper that revealed she had pawned a valuable gift left with her by Oliver’s mother. Mrs. Bumble hands over a gold locket and wedding ring that is engraved with “Agnes.” Monks opens a trap door and tosses the items into a rushing stream of water travelling under the house. He tells the Bumbles to forget all about the meeting and the name Monks. 

Chapter 39

Sikes, now living in an even dirtier and less comfortable abode, has been recovering from a terrible fever for a long time. Nancy, also in poor health, has nursed him. He asks Nancy to help him get out of bed. She complies but not to his liking, so he hits her. She is encouraged by his behavior, because he is acting more like his old self. Soon, though, Nancy is upset and faints. Fagin enters the room to see what is going on, and Jack and Charley revive Nancy. Fagin and company have brought him food, tea, sugar, and wine. Sikes attacks them for letting him lie around in such a pitiful state for so long without coming to check on him. Fagin thinks Sikes is being ungrateful, and eventually Fagin admits that he was out of town. Sikes wants money from Fagin, and they argue over the sum. Nancy will return with Fagin to his residence and bring Sikes the money. 

Fagin goes upstairs to get the money, but before he can complete the task, Monks arrives. Fagin and Monks take their conversation to another part of the house but Nancy follows and listens at the door. Fagin finally returns with the money and Nancy chastises him for taking so long. Once Nancy leaves, she sits down, confused about what to do next, before she begins running and eventually weeping. She returns to Sikes. The money calms Sikes down, but he suspects Nancy has some “dangerous” ideas. She puts laudanum in Sikes’s drink, waits until he is asleep, and hurriedly makes her way to a hotel in Hyde Park. She asks to see Miss Maylie. The workers are appalled by Nancy’s appearence and assume she is in a disreputable trade, likely prostitution. A man who works at the hotel is eventually persuaded to bring a message up to Rose to see if she will meet with Nancy. He returns to give Nancy permission to come up to the room for an interview. 

Chapter 40

Rose is immediately sympathetic towards Nancy, seeing that she has been mistreated all her life. Nancy tells Rose that she brought Oliver back to Fagin after he had gone to live with Brownlow. Nancy laments that her life has been pitiful and tells Rose to be grateful that she has been so loved and nurtured. She asks Rose if she knows Monks, but Rose does not. Nancy reveals that Monks knows who Rose is; moreover, he is aware she is at the hotel. 

Nancy tells Rose that she heard Monks talking about throwing proof of Oliver’s identity into the river the previous night. Monks also confessed to wanting Oliver dead but admitted that that would be too dangerous to pursue. Instead, he intends to interfere with the boy’s life such that he can never take advantage of his inheritance. He also refers to Oliver as “my young brother.” Monks was pleased to hear that the Maylies have Oliver because he feels he can profit off of their fortune somehow. 

Rose is shocked, and Nancy says she must return to Sikes. Rose does not understand why Nancy would want to go back. Rose offers to help her, but Nancy feels bound to Sikes, despite his abuse. Rose asks whether she could meet with Nancy again, and Nancy says she will be on London Bridge between eleven and twelve each Sunday night. Nancy says an emotional goodbye as Rose entreats her again to stay and accept help. Once Nancy leaves, Rose is lost in thought, amazed by what she has just heard. 

Chapter 41

Rose feels that she must ask someone for advice but is not sure her companions should be told. Oliver rushes in and exclaims that he has seen Mr. Brownlow getting out of a coach in town. He has written the address down and intends to go to the house now to see his former benefactor. Rose decides to accompany Oliver, and she meets with Brownlow and his old friend Grimwig. Brownlow is eager to hear any news of Oliver, and Rose affirms that he is a sweet and honest boy. Grimwig still argues with his friend, and Brownlow grows angry, though the two quickly make up. 

Rose brings Oliver to see the gentlemen. Mrs. Bedwin is called down, and Oliver rushes to embrace her. The housekeeper notes that she always believed he would return and observes that he looks happier. While Mrs. Bedwin and Oliver catch up, Rose tells Brownlow about her recent meeting with Nancy and asks for his advice. Brownlow later calls at the hotel, as he suggests that they involve Dr. Losberne and Mrs. Maylie in their plans from now on. He asserts that they must handle Monks on their own and not involve the police. They will need to meet with Nancy the following Sunday. Brownlow also wants to involve Grimwig and Harry, and the others agree. Mrs. Maylie says they will stay in London until they have resolved the case.

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Chapters 31–35 Summary


Chapters 42–46 Summary