Richard Swiveller is on the brink of succumbing to his illness when he starts fighting it. He tries to rise out of bed, but he is too weak. He falls asleep. When he awakes, he feels happier and well-rested. He hears a cough. He is astonished to see that his chamber has been cleaned and converted to a sick room. He sees the Marchioness playing cribbage at a nearby table.
He thinks he is dreaming at first, but he slowly realizes that it is all real. The Marchioness is overjoyed to find him awake. She tells him he has been seriously ill for three weeks. She feared he would never recover. He is much thinner. She is glad to see that his fever has finally broken.
She prepares tea. He eats the meal and then asks about Sally—assuming that she is the one that sent the Marchioness to nurse him. Marchioness admits that she has run away. She’s been living with him. The newspapers are advertising for her.
Marchioness had learned Dick’s address from his landlady, who had come to the Brass residence when he had fallen ill. She told the Brasses that there was no one to look after Mr. Swiveller. The Brasses both said it wasn’t their problem. Marchioness ran away that night and told the landlady she was his sister.
Marchioness told him she didn’t mind caring for him. He did get pretty wild during his delirium—trying to jump out his window, singing, and making speeches. He tells her he would have died if it hadn’t been for her.
He asks what has become of Kit. She says he has been sentenced to transportation for many years. He asks about Mrs. Nubbles, but she doesn’t know anything about Kit’s family. She reveals that she did overhear something at the Brass residence.
Sally used to lock her in the kitchen at night. She always was afraid that she’d be trap down there if there was ever a fire. Whenever she found a key, she would see if it opened the kitchen door. Finally, she found the key that did open it. Able to free herself, she would unlock it at night to search for food.
One night, she overheard the Brasses talking. Sampson Brass was saying he didn’t like setting up Kit. If they got caught, they could wind up in serious trouble. Sally scorns his timidity. She points out that Quilp is their main patron. If they do it right, they won’t get caught. Brass goes over the plan. He will get rid of Swiveller, and Sally will leave of her own accord. He will distract Kit with conversation while he plants the money in his hat.
Dicks asks if Marchioness has told anyone. She says no. The lodger never came back, and Dick had fallen ill. Swiveller wants to get out of bed, but he is too weak. She admits he also doesn’t have any clothes—she had to sell them all to get the things he needed for his illness.
He writes a note and directs her to take it to the Garlands and the Notary. He gives her a description of the people—telling her to avoid Mr. Chuckster, who dislikes Kit. He is grateful that she took care of him, and she did the right thing—but he is embarrassed that he no longer has any clothes.