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Summary Chapter 50

Quilp confronts his tearful wife, at first wrathful and then amused. Mrs. Quilp apologizes for thinking he is dead. He doubts her sincerity. She is glad to see him alive. She laments on his cruelty for going away for so long without notifying her. Quilp says he’ll be as cruel as he pleases, and he is going away again. Seeing how eager she was to live the life of a widow, he has decided to go off and live as a bachelor. He’ll spy on her and drop in when she least expects it.

He orders her to pack his things. He takes a fire poker and raps on Mrs. Jiniwin’s door, causing the woman to fear that he plans on killing her. Mrs. Quilp enters the room and asks her assistance in packing Quilp’s things.

Quilp and Tom go down to the counting house. He orders Tom to wake him at eight in the morning. At the appointed time, Tom rouses him. Quilp orders him to make a fire and breakfast. Quilp enjoys his new life. It is a good place to get away from spies and eavesdroppers. He enjoys reflecting on the constant agitation his wife and mother-in-law will be in. He buys a hammock.

He then goes across the wharf to visit Dick Swiveller. He asks how the job is going. Dick says that while he admires Sally Brass, he finds the law too confining. He has been thinking of leaving the position. Quilp asks where he’ll go, and Dick doesn’t really have an idea. His discontent seems more to be due to the fact that Sophia Wackles has married Mr. Cheggs. Her sisters brought a piece of the wedding cake to him, joyfully giggling as they left it. Dick blames Fred and Mr. Quilp for parting him with the love of his life for this mad scheme of theirs.

Quilp is secretly delighted, but he soothes Dick by ordering wine. He asks for the whereabouts of Fred Trent. Dick says that Fred has taken a post in a locomotive gaming house. Quilp proposes introducing Fred to Bevis Marks. Dick claims he already has introduced them at Fred’s insistence. They had thought the man would receive Fred well. Instead, Mr. Marks insulted him, blamed him partially for the downfall of his grandfather and sister, and turned Fred out of his apartment.

Quilp takes his leave, determined that Dick should not leave his post. He is a very useful spy, keeping Quilp posted on news about Sampson Brass and Bevis Marks. Dick is even more useful because he does not realize he is giving Quilp important information. All Quilp has to do in return is treat Dick occasionally.

Quilp returns to the counting house. The next morning, he wakes up to find Mrs. Quilp sobbing next to his hammock. She begs him to come home. She only believed him dead because her anxiety had led her to that conclusion. He tells her that he’ll come home when he pleases and leave when he pleases. Her orders her to get out of his sight. She pleads with him. He says if she comes to the counting house again, he’ll lay unpleasant traps for her that will cause her bodily harm. She begs for his forgiveness, but he refuses to grant it. She finally flees when he looks like he is going to come after her. He laughs and goes back to sleep.

Charles Dickens