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Summary Chapter 58

 

Nicholas divides the trip into two days to give Smike the opportunity to rest. Nicholas is returning to the place where he grew up and recalls the happy childhood he had.

He never leaves Smike’s side, whose health continues to deteriorate. Smike shows an interest while he is strong enough of visiting places that had been Nicholas’ haunts. Nicholas reminisces about his childhood.

Nicholas takes Smike to the graveyard to visit his father’s grave. He tells Smike that Kate once had gotten lost and had been found in this spot. His father had wished to be buried there, so he could always hold out his arms to the ones he loved like he did that day when he gathered her up in his arms. Smike wishes to be buried near there too, and Nicholas promises he will be.

Smike quickly becomes too weak to be driven around. Nicholas places a couch in a little orchard. They spend time there.

One night, Nicholas falls asleep. He is awakened by Smike’s scream. Smike sees something behind the tree, but Nicholas doesn’t. Smike claims he saw the man who first took him to the school. He begs Nicholas not to leave him. Nicholas tries to convince him it is his imagination. Smike, though, is insistent.

Nicholas makes an inquiry on whether any strangers have arrived. He searches the area and finds nothing. Though Smike still believes he saw the man, his fears are calmed.

Smike finally stops struggling to live and accepts death. Smike tells Nicholas that he is not afraid to die. He welcomes it. He is certain he will meet Nicholas again.

Smike reveals that he loves Kate. He had removed himself from her company when Frank visited because it broke his heart to see them together, even though he knows Frank loves her. He asks Nicholas to bury him with the lock of Kate’s hair that he wears around his neck. Nicholas promises to adhere to all his wishes.

Smike dies. 

Charles Dickens