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Summary Chapter 42

 

A couple is on the road to London. The female is carrying a heavy load. The woman is the Sowerberry maid Charlotte, and the man is Noah Claypole. Noah, who isn’t burdened by weight, criticizes Charlotte for falling behind. She is despondent that thought they can see the lights of London, it is still at least two miles away.

She wants to know where he’ll be staying and hopes it will be the first inn they see. Noah says he will find the narrowest alley farther away—for Sowerberry is sure to look in the nearest inns at the entrance of London. They’d find themselves arrested in no time if they went to one of those. That was also why he initially took the wrong road, so they would confuse their pursuers.

Charlotte stoled the money from Sowerberry for Noah. He lets her keep it—not out of trust, but to claim his innocence of the robbery if they are caught.

They wind up at The Three Cripples. Barney greets them. He gives them food and then goes to inquire if they can stay. He tells Fagin about their guests.

Fagin likes the looks of Noah, seeing he has trained his woman well. He eavesdrop on their conversation. Noah is telling Charlotte how he means to become a gentleman. He hopes to get in with a group of people who profit from robberies and other shady dealings. He hopes to eventually lead such a group.

Fagin introduces himself. He makes a remark that makes Noah realize that he overheard the conversation. Fagin goes on to say they are lucky it was only him that overheard it. Noah lays the blame on Charlotte. Fagin assures him that he likes Noah for it.

Fagin tells them that they came to the right place. They will be safe here. He tells them he has a friend who can place Noah in the field he is looking to enter and train him. Noah sends Charlotte upstairs, and she obeys without protest.

Fagin says that his friend normally doesn’t take country folk into the business, but he is under-handed at the moment. Noah can meet him tomorrow at The Three Cripples. He’ll have room and board, free pipes and liquor, and he’ll be able to keep half of what he and Charlotte earn. Noah agrees, more because he realizes that Fagin can turn him over to the police.

Noah doesn’t want to do anything that requires a lot of strength or is too dangerous. Fagin suggests being a spy. Noah likes the idea, but it doesn’t pay well. Fagin tells him he can mug old ladies to supplement his income. Noah doesn’t like the idea, thinking old ladies can be more difficult than they appear. Fagin then says he could mug children who are doing errands for their mother, and he likes that idea much better.

Fagin sets the appointment for tomorrow. Noah introduces himself as Mr. Morris Bolter, and he claims Charlotte is his wife. Charlotte isn’t good at remembering his new name, and he tells Fagin that Noah is a nickname. Fagin says he understands.  

Charles Dickens