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Summary Chapter 39

Kit is looking forward to the next day when he receives his income and has a holiday to spend with his family. The Garlands are not deducting the advance given for his clothes from his wages, and they have increased his salary by five shillings. Barbara and her mother will be spending the holiday with Kit’s family.

The next morning, the Garlands give them each their wages and praise them both for jobs well done. Barbara’s mother accepts a drink and toasts their employers. Then Barbara, her mother, and Kit go the Nubbles house for tea. The two mothers compliment each other and each other’s children. Barbara befriends little Jacob. The two mothers compare histories and find many similarities. They find themselves a perfect match and regret they didn’t know each other sooner. When the conversation becomes too melancholy on reminiscing about their husbands, Kit returns the conversation back to general topics.

He brings up Nell and the grandfather, talking about how pretty Nell was. Mrs. Nubbles glances at Barbara and says that Nell was pretty, but there are many pretty women. Barbara agrees and says she always thought Kit was mistaken. Kit wonders why she would doubt him. Barbara’s mother states that many people undergo a change at fourteen or fifteen that can turn a pretty child into a plain adult. It happened to a man that had admired Barbara, and who Barbara had never shown an interest in. While it worked out for the best, at the time she had been sorry that Barbara hadn’t been interested. Kit says that was a shame, and everybody becomes quiet.

They all leave for a play. The mothers comment on what a nice family they make. Barbara blushes, but Kit’s mind is not on lovemaking. When they reach the theater, they scuffle with the other audience members before settling down in their seats. They are all impressed with the wonder of the play, which none have ever seen before.

Afterwards, Barbara asks Kit if Nell was as pretty as one of the actresses. Kit says she was doubly more handsome. Barbara thought the actress was the most beautiful person she had ever seen. Kit says she was handsome enough, and the make-up enhanced her looks—but Barbara is far prettier.

They go to a restaurant and eat oysters. They walk Barbara and her mother to a friends house, then return to their own dwelling.

Charles Dickens