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Summary Chapter 38


Mr. and Mrs. Bumble leave the next night, braving a thunderstorm to keep their appointment with Monks. They are wrapped in shabby clothing, which both protects them from the rain and disguises their appearance. Mr. Bumble is mindful to make sure that his wife follows him.

The area they are in is known to be the dwelling place of criminals. They finally reach their destination, the ruined remains of a factory. A man calls down to them. Monks opens the door and beckons them in. Mrs. Bumble acts very confident, while Mr. Bumble is insecure. He becomes alarmed by the fit Monks has when he hears the thunder.

After the fit passes, Monks gets down to business. He asks what the woman told Mrs. Bumble. Mrs. Bumble says that isn't the first question to ask. She wants to know how much the information is worth. He says he can’t know that until he hears it.

Mrs. Bumble asks for twenty-five pounds in gold. Monks is not willing to pay that amount for information he doesn’t know is useful. She tells him he can take it back from her if it isn’t good—after all, she is just a woman. Mr. Bumble, obviously frightened, stumbles that he would protect her. She orders him to be quiet.

Mrs. Bumble assures Monks she was alone with Sally when she died. Sally had nursed Oliver’s mother and had robberd her after she had died. She took a locket the mother had asked her to keep for the infant.

Monks asked if she sold it. Mrs. Bumble said that Sally died before she revealed what she did with it. Monks doesn’t believe her. Mrs. Bumble then continues to say that the woman did hand her a pawnbroker’s duplicate. Mrs. Bumble redeemed the pledge, believing something would come of it. She hands the locket to him.

The locket contains two locks of hair, a plain gold wedding ring, and the name “Agnes” engraved inside of it. It is dated the year before Oliver was born. Mr. Bumble is relieved that the story is over.

Mrs. Bumble asks if that is what Monks wanted from her, and he says it is. She doesn’t want to know why, but she worries it can be used against her. Monks shows them a trap door that leads to the ocean. He throws the locket into the water. He asks Mr. Bumble if he’ll keep quiet, and Mr. Bumble agrees. Monks trusts his wife.

He orders them to leave as quickly as they came. 

Charles Dickens