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Summary Chapter 53

Nell does her household duties and then goes to the church. There are children playing hide and seek among the graves. One of the graves belongs to a child, and she asks who the child was. One of the children say the grave is his brother’s, though he likes to think of it as his brother’s garden.

She greets the clergyman. He invites her inside. She sees a bunch of tools hanging, and he tells her he likes to garden. He has planted many trees and flowers. He tells her about the well at the church, whose water level kept dropping until it dried up completely.

He shows her keepsakes that he makes to sell to people who visit the church. Nell reflects that while the man often talks about the frailty of life, he continues to make plans for a future he may not live to see.

Nell visits the church. She sees burial places belonging to knights. Some have their armor hanging nearby. These are relics of old wars and bloodshed that remain long after those who fought them have perished. She explores the tower, which contains rusty bells. She marvels at the contrast of the gloomy church and its tower—which is bright with sunshine and looks out on the world. She feels closer to Heaven at this height.

Nell likes to go to the church to sit quietly and meditate. Mr. Marton finds her there and carries her home. When he kisses her, he feels a tear fall upon his face.

Charles Dickens