Old Curiosity Shop

Old Curiosity Shop, The.—A tale by Charles Dickens. An old man, having run through his fortune, opened a curiosity shop in order to earn a living and brought up a granddaughter, named Nell [Trent], fourteen years of age. The child was the darling of the old man, but, deluding himself with the hope of making a fortune by gaming, he lost everything, and went forth, with the child, a beggar. Their wanderings and adventures are recounted till they reach a quiet country village, where the old clergyman gives them a cottage to live in. Here Nell soon dies, and the grandfather is found dead upon her grave. The main character, next to Nell, is that of a lad named Kit [Nubbles], employed in the curiosity shop, who adored Nell as “an angel.” This boy gets in the service of Mr. Garland, a genial, benevolent, well-to-do man, in the suburbs of London; but Quilp hates the lad, and induces Brass, a solicitor of Bevis Marks, to put a five pound banknote in the boy's hat, and then accuse him of theft. Kit is tried, and condemned to transportation; but, the villainy being exposed by a girl-of-all-work nicknamed “The Marchioness,” Kit is liberated and restored to his place, and Quilp drowns himself.