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Summary Chapter 20

Kit continues to look for employment. He always hopes to come home and see that Nell has accepted his offer of shelter, but each day he is disappointed. However, he continues to hold out hope.

He can’t imagine that they can last longer than a week on their own. His mother is doubtful they will return. She has heard rumors that the old man had some hidden money, and that he and Nell have escaped to a foreign country where it can’t be taken from them. Many of the neighbors claim they saw them on a boat. Kit doesn’t believe it, but his mother says that while it may not be true—it isn’t totally unlikely either. Kit agrees with this and forlornly starts to clean the birdcage. However, he remembers his promise to meet the Garlands at the Notary to work off the shilling. He hurries to the place and is relieved to see that they haven’t arrived yet.

The Garlands are pleasantly surprised when they see Kit. They decide he is a good and uncommon lad. He is embarrassed by the attention he is getting—as he notices that they, Mr. Witherden, and Abel Garland stare at him through the window. He gets the idea that they are talking about him.
Mr. Chuckster comes out and says he’ll mind the carriage—Kit is wanted inside. Kit nervously enters the office. Mr. Witherden asks if he came to work off his shilling, or in hopes of getting more money. Kit says he came to work off the shilling. Mr. Witherden asks about his family. Kit says his father is dead, and his mother is a widow with three children. Mr. Witherden whispers to Mr. Garland that he thinks Kit is honest. Mr. Garland says that he is not giving him anything this week, since he gave him a shilling last week. However, he would like Kit’s address because he would like to learn more about him. Kit gives it.

The Garlands’ willful pony escapes from Mr. Chuckster, who was taunting it. However, it comes back on its own accord. Mr. Garland says goodbye to Kit, looking at him kindly.

Charles Dickens