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Summary Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5

Quilp acknowledges his wife’s existence when morning comes, and someone is knocking on the door. He orders her to open it. It’s Mrs. Jiniwin, who—thinking Quilp is asleep—wants to voice her opinions about him to her daughter. She is shocked to see that both are still up from the night before. Daniel Quilp orders them to get breakfast. Mrs. Jiniwin resists at first. She reluctantly follows her daughter after her daughter whispers to her, and Daniel threatens to cure her faintness with cold water.

Quilp wipes his face while he listens to the women talk in the next room, where Mrs. Jiniwin is cutting him down. He joins them. He sees Mrs. Jiniwin make a gesture at him, which he sees in the mirror’s reflection. He turns around and kindly asks if she is well. His mother-in-law is less brave to his face and allows herself to be lead to the breakfast table. He horrifies the women with his almost inhuman eating habits—eating eggs shell and all, and drinking scalding tea without flinching. He departs for the wharf and goes across the river.

Daniel Quilp meets a boy that is in his employ to watch the wharf. He and the boy have a peculiar but affectionate relationship where they insult each other and exchange blows—and they would only tolerate that sort of treatment from the other and no one else. He orders the boy to open the counting house, and then to resume his post of watching the wharf.

The counting house is one of his fake businesses. He lies out on top of the desk to take a nap. He is interrupted a quarter of an hour later by the boy, who tells him he has a visitor. Nelly has come with a letter for him.
 

Charles Dickens