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Summary Chapter 43

Nell urges her grandfather onward, feeling a new confidence in the knowledge that she alone is responsible for both of them. Deserting Mrs. Jarley and leaving behind the two Edwards sisters would have filled her with regret and sorrow, but she is too focused on the uncertainty and anxiety of their life to dwell on it.

They fall asleep by the river. They are awakened by three men who are dragging a boat with horses. One of the men inquires about them. Nell claims they fell asleep after walking all night. The man comments that the grandfather is too old and Nell too young to do that. He asks where they are heading, and where they are from. Nell makes up a destination and gives another town as their origin. The man claims he was merely worried they had been ill-used and says good day to them. A few minutes later, the men invite them to accompany them on the boat—which is heading for the destination Nell claims she is going to. Nell agrees, worried that her grandfather’s associates might try to find them.

They sail down a canal. They stop at a town to buy provisions, where Nell spends the last of her money on a small loaf and morsel of cheese. The men bring back beer and get intoxicated. Nell avoids the cabin where they are, wishing she was on shore. Though quarrelsome with each other, the men are nice to their passengers.

Nell is comforted that she kept her grandfather from committing the crime. She now tries to find a way to find subsistence.

She is reflecting on her life when one of the men asks her to sing. She says she doesn’t know any songs. The man replies that she knows forty-seven songs, and demands that she sings. Nell complies out of fear, satisfying the man. The other men make requests and join in the singing.

They cover her when it starts to rain hard. They come across more boat traffic and a dirty city as they approach their destination. Nell and her grandfather step off the boat into a busy street.

Charles Dickens