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Summary Chapter 24

The grandfather and Nell stop to rest when they can no longer continue. Nell tries to reassure the grandfather, but he fears that a mob is after them. He worries that people will chain him up and keep him from Nell. His fears are contagious and start lowering Nell’s spirits. However, when she sees how weak and helpless he is, she finds new strength.

She once again assures him that they are safe. Nobody is following them. She convinces him to continue. As they travel through the woods, his fears start to dissipate. They come to a public road and follow it to the next village.

They start to worry that they have missed the village when they finally come across it. They see a schoolmaster sitting on the porch. The grandfather nudges Nell to go speak to him. Nell is afraid of disturbing him, for he looks distressed. She waits to see if he will look up and see them. However, when in it starts getting dark, Nell finally approaches him. She asks if he could give them shelter or direct them to another place that would offer it. He invites them inside and offers them a meal.

Nell admires the neat handwriting of various assignments posted on the wall. The schoolmaster says it is all from the same student, who is younger than Nell. He is very distressed that the child hasn’t visited him. He had heard that the boy had fallen ill, but he tries to convince himself it isn’t serious. He is very fond of this student, and the student loves him.

The schoolmaster leaves to inquire about the boy. Nell feels lonely in the empty school house. The schoolmaster comes back distraught. The student's health is getting worse.

Charles Dickens