The reader is interrupted in the tale of Nell’s trials to the reintroduction of Mr. Sampson Brass. In a small dark house, Mr. Samson Brass has his office. There is another room that is for rent.
Miss Sally Brass is the 35 year old shrewd sister of Samson Brass. She is knowledgeable of the law and assists him in his practice and maintaining the house. Samson treats his sister like he would a fellow man, though he often becomes meek under her will. They discuss Daniel Quilp, who is constantly forcing clerks on them. In the midst of their joking, Sally reminds Samson that she is the one who decides whether they will have a clerk or not.
Quilp enters, full of compliments. He has brought Dick Swiveller, who he recommended for the position of clerk. He informs them that Dick is of a good family and has great expectations, but his youthful folly has made him fall on bad times. However, he is repentant. Swiveller is put off by the dark office that smells of mold, rat droppings, and second-hand clothes. He is in awe of Sally Brass.
Samson Brass orders Dick to make a copy of an ejectment. Quilp asks Samson to walk with him. Swiveller stares at Sally, who ignores him. He takes off his coat, trying to get her attention. He stares at her some more. Finally, he starts copying the paper. When he goes for the ink, he is tempted to knock the hat off her head. He plays with a ruler, drawing it near to her head. She fails to acknowledge him, and he finally settles down to work.