The Narrator visits the curiosity shop a week later during the afternoon, though he is nervous about his reception of this unexpected visit. After some hesitation, he finally enters to find the grandfather arguing with another young man. The grandfather seems happy to see the Narrator, as it interrupts their quarrel.
The younger man is Nell’s brother Fred, who insists on seeing her. He accuses the grandfather of poisoning her mind and working her to death. Fred invites his friend inside, who is reluctant to enter as he fears the grandfather may not be friendly. The friend’s name is Dick Swiveller, and he is untidy and still recovering from a night of drunkenness.
Dick Swiveller makes small talk before finally asking why Fred and his grandfather cannot get along. The grandfather raised and educated his grandson, though the grandson went his own way. Fred is upset, though, that his grandfather hordes money for the little girl but refuses to give him anything. The grandfather informs him that he is poor, but Fred refuses to believe it. The grandfather asks Fred to leave him and Nell alone and to go his own way. Fred doesn’t want Nell to forget him. The grandfather tells him he should be careful she doesn’t forget him when she is a fine lady, and he is in ruins. The grandfather states that his poverty is due to raising the child.
Just as Mr. Swiveller is suggesting to Fred that they should take their leave, Nell enters.