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Summary Chapter 39


Mr. Sikes awakes from a nap and asks what time it is. He is in an apartment that is in the general area of his lodgings and other haunts. He has been living in abject poverty. He has been ill. The dog is anxious about his master.

Nancy has become sallow and haggard nursing him and suffering the same miserable circumstances. Though he feels weak, he asks her to help him stand. His temper is the same, and he slaps her for being awkward.

The girl faints. Sikes calls for help, and Fagin looks in. Dodger and Fagin help Nancy. Charles pours some liquor down her throat. After she has recovered, Sikes asks Fagin what they are doing there. Fagin has come bearing gifts. They’ve brought food. Sikes asks why Fagin hadn’t come sooner. Fagin tells him he’s been away, and he couldn’t help it. Bill complains that he could have died if it hadn’t been for Nancy. Fagin points out he supplied Nancy to nurse him.

Sikes’ temper improves as he drinks. He asks Fagin for money, and he tells him he needs it tonight. Fagin doesn’t have any on him, but he will send Dodger later with some. Sikes doesn’t want Dodger, who may not deliver it. He’ll only trust Nancy. He’ll send her to fetch it.

Nancy and the boys return to Fagin’s lodgings. Mr. Crackit and Mr. Chitling are playing cribbage. Toby tells him nothing has happened, and it has been completely dull.

Fagin goes to get the money for Nancy. He hears someone coming. Nancy tears off her bonnet and shawl and hides them under the table. She tells Fagin that she is hot. Fagin tells her not to mention the money in front of their guest.

Nancy eyes Monks without being obvious about her interest. Fagin and Monks leave the room and go upstairs. Nancy quietly follows. She returns before the men come down. Monks leaves. Fagin remarks on how pale Nancy is. She says it is from being cooped up. He gives her the money, and she leaves.

Nancy bursts into tears when she is out in the street. After she composes herself, she returns to Sikes’.

Mr. Sikes is too distracted fulfilling his appetite to notice Nancy’s nervousness, which is due to a decision she has made. This is fortunate, for her decision would alarm her friends.

The girl becomes more agitated and pale as the day progresses. She is waiting for Sikes to drink himself into a stupor. Sikes finally notices her condition and asks what the matter is. He blames it on her coming down with the fever.

She waits for the laudanum to take effect, despairing she may already be too late. She runs to the more wealthy district. Some people go to follow her, interested in where she is going in such a hurry. She loses them. She arrives at a hotel.

Nancy asks to see a Miss Maylie. The workers are about to throw her out when she won’t state her name or business—particularly as she is dressed the way she is. She threatens to make it difficult and asks if no one will carry a message for her to the lady. One kind-hearted man asks if they can’t do that. The others don’t think the lady will see her at this hour and finds Nancy to be a disgrace. Nancy begs of rthem to take the message even if they throw her out.

Finally, they agree. Nancy’s message begs the lady to speak to her alone, and she can throw her out if the first word she utters doesn’t show her why she should listen to her.

The housemaids verbally abuse her as she waits for the messenger to return. 

Charles Dickens