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Summary Chapter 32

Mrs. Jarley is irate and offended at Miss Monflathers’ threat. She brings out her bottle and starts drinking. As she becomes more intoxicated, she gets into a better humor. She starts laughing at Miss Monflathers. She consoles Nell, telling her she should do the same.

However, Nell is not troubled by Miss Monflathers, but by her grandfather. He goes off that night and comes back broke. However, his infatuation is as strong as ever. He orders Nell to hand over everything she makes. He promises it will eventually be paid back, and he is doing it all for her. Nell complies because she is worried he will rob Mrs. Jarley. She is afraid to tell the truth, for she believes he’ll be treated like a madman. Yet, she realizes she is feeding his obsession and putting him further away from rehabilitation.

Nell’s apprehensions and sorrows return, taking a toll on her appearance. She becomes pale and her eyes dim. Her fears torment her day and night. She loses sleep waiting up for her grandfather to return.

Nell often thinks of Miss Edwards. She remembers the girl’s kindness and wishes they could be friends. Nell would like someone to confide in. It is holiday time for boarding schools. Miss Monflathers is breaking the hearts of middle aged men. One day, Nell sees Miss Edwards. She is embracing a younger child that is her sister, whom she hasn’t seen in five years. She has been saving her meager allowance to bring her sister for a visit. She has reserved a room for the girl at the house of an old nurse.

Nell is happy that they have been reunited and sad that they will soon part again. She often follows them on their rambles, feeling a connection with them even though they are ignorant of her. She wishes she could tell Miss Edwards how much her kindness meant to her. Nell finds comfort from her troubles in watching them.

She is startled when Mrs. Jarley puts out an announcement that the exhibit will be around only for one day more. Nell asks if they are leaving. Mrs. Jarley shows her another announcement that proclaims they will stay a week longer due to popular demand. Mrs. Jarley explains that they will be able to attract a different audience—the general public. Though the general public shows interest, they are not willing to pay to see it. Mrs. Jarley animates some of the waxworks. She also plants people in the audience who claim they have seen the exhibit, and advise others they should too. She counts coins from a full cash box and tells the people that the exhibit is due to go on tour for the Crowned Heads of Europe. It is only a sixpence to see it—and there is no other in the world like it.

Charles Dickens