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Summary Chapter 23


Mrs. Corney settles down next to a fire to enjoy some tea on a bitterly cold night. She feels grateful for her blessings. The teapot reminds her that she is a single woman, for it only holds a few cups. She despairs that she’ll ever find another man like her first husband, who died twenty-five years ago.

Mr. Bumble calls on her. He complains about the ingratitude and foolishness of the paupers. One man chose to die in the streets rather than accept oatmeal and potatoes. Mrs. Corney doesn’t think giving things to people who come to the door is a good idea. He says giving them what they don’t want discourages them from coming. He tells her it is a secret.

She invites him to have tea, blushing as he sits down. He tells her she has a very comfortable home. He grabs her hand and squeezes it. He keeps moving closer to her. He kisses her finally. She is about to scream when he embraces her, but a knock interrupts them.

A woman tells her that one of the women is dying uneasily, and she won’t go peacefully until she tells Mrs. Corney something. Mrs. Corney grudgingly goes, annoyed with the dying woman.

Mr. Bumble takes inventory of Mrs. Corney’s possessions, seeing if they are truly made of metal. He settles down by the fire after doing a little dance. 

Charles Dickens