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Summary Chapter 71

Kit sees a huddled figure rocking in its seat by the fire, making the mournful sound. The door closes loudly behind Kit, but the figure doesn’t start. It is Nell’s grandfather.

Kit tries to speak, but initially he can’t. Finally, he speaks to the grandfather, who takes him for a spook. Kit asks where Nell is. The grandfather says she is sleeping in the next room. He asks if she called. Kit says no. The grandfather gets up, claiming he hears her voice. He goes to check on her. He comes back saying she is still asleep. She wasn’t calling, unless she was doing it in her sleep. She has often called out in her sleep.

The grandfather talks about how Nell used to feed the birds. They never flew away from her like they did other people. She was also good with children, even the wildest of them. They would come to the house asking after her.

The grandfather starts going through her things. He talks about her favorite dress. He points out the worn shoes, saying she kept them as a reminder of their long journey. The streets had cut and bruised her feet, but she had never complained to him. She used to walk behind him so he wouldn’t realize how lame she was. The grandfather remarks that it isn’t her habit to stay in bed, but she has been ill. However, when she gets better, she will be up and about.

Mr. Garland enters with Bevis Marks, Mr. Marton, and The Bachelor. The Bachelor asks the grandfather why he hasn’t slept. The grandfather says he can’t. The Bachelor responds that it would pain Nell to know he isn’t getting his rest. The grandfather goes to check on Nell, and then comes out to say she is still sleeping. He thinks she moved her arm.

Bevis Marks tells the grandfather that he is his brother. He has come back to console him and be a part of his life again. He reminds the grandfather of their happier times. The grandfather accuses them of trying to separate him from Nell. He only has one relative—her. They follow him into the next room. They find Nell dead.

Charles Dickens