فصل 18

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فصل 18

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chapter eighteen

Quilp’s Luck Changes

When Richard woke up the following morning, he could hear quiet voices in his room. Mr Garland, his son Abel, the single gentleman and the Marchioness were all there. Before he ate his breakfast, he asked Mr Garland an important question.

‘Is it too late to save Kit?’ he asked.

‘No, I don’t think so,’ replied Mr Garland. ‘With the information we have, we think we might be able to save him. But we are not sure that there is enough information to put Quilp, who is the real criminal, in prison.’

‘Oh,’ said Richard. ‘But there must be a way of catching him.’

‘Well, we hope that we can get Sally Brass to admit to what she has done. That might give us the information and proof that we need,’ explained the single gentleman. ‘When she finds out how much we know, and how we know it,’ he continued, ‘she will realize that she’s in serious trouble. And she might want to tell us about her brother and Quilp.’

They decided to send a message asking Sally to come and meet an ‘unknown friend’ as soon as possible at a nearby coffeehouse. It was only an hour or two later that Sally appeared at the coffee-house. She was shocked to see Mr Garland and her lodger waiting there for her.

‘Miss Brass,’ started Mr Garland, ‘we have found your missing servant-girl.’

‘Have you?’ she said coldly. ‘That girl is trouble.’

Mr Garland explained in detail what the Marchioness had told them - what she had heard Mr Brass and Sally saying about Kit. When they had finished talking, Sally said nothing.

‘So,’ Mr Garland then said, ‘I think you know the trouble you and your brother are in. But Quilp is a much more serious criminal than either of you. If you help us to catch him, it will make your crime look smaller.’

Hearing this, Sally Brass said nothing but thought carefully. At that moment her brother, Sampson Brass, appeared. He explained that he had followed his sister and had been listening to the whole conversation. He looked terrible and had cuts on his face.

‘Look at me,’ he said. ‘Who do you think did this to me? Yes, Daniel Quilp. He is my client and I try to please him, but he has treated me like a dog. Some of the truth is out now, and I’m going to tell you everything. I want to get him, before he gets me.’ Then, very quickly, Mr Brass told the whole story from start to finish. When he had ended his story, the men told him to write it down on paper. They said he would have to be sent to trial, too.

Sally Brass was very angry that her brother had told them everything so quickly and easily, but there was nothing she could do. Later that evening, the written statement was taken to the justice-house. They were told that a warrant for Quilp’s arrest would be prepared the next day and that Kit would be freed very soon.

Mr Garland and the single gentleman returned to Richard’s apartment to tell him the good news. He and the Marchioness were very happy to hear that Quilp would be arrested and Kit would be freed.

The next morning, Richard received a letter from a lawyer. He did not know what this letter would say, but he opened it. He was shocked when he read it. In the letter it read that his rich aunt had died and that she had left him one hundred and fifty pounds a year. It was not the large inheritance that he had hoped for but it would be enough for him to live a comfortable, if simple, life.

‘What a letter!’ said Richard to himself, laughing and crying at the same time. ‘I will use this money to look after the Marchioness and make a lady of her!’ he promised.

Quilp, who had not left his counting-house for several days, also received a letter. When he opened it he saw that the letter was from Sally Brass. This is what the letter said: Sampson has told several people exactly What has happened. They know everything. Some strangers are coming to catch you. You must run away quickly. I have disappeared and you should, too.

Quilp was shocked and angry. He decided that he would leave the boatyard that night while it was dark. He closed up the counting-house and pushed a few things that he might need into his pockets. As he did this he talked to himself all the time.

‘Oh, Sampson Brass, if I ever see you again, I will kill you!’ he cried. ‘But, Sally! Why did you let him tell them? You should have stopped him! Oh, I…’

At that moment there was a knock at the door. He blew out the candle and suddenly it was quite dark. He walked through the counting-house and out through the back door to the side of the river.

‘I’ll climb over the wall at the end of the yard and escape,’ he told himself. But as he moved in the darkness he fell. The next moment he was fighting with the cold, dark water of the river! He could still hear the knocking, and now he heard shouting. He knew the voice. Yes, it was the young boy who worked for him! Quilp moved his arms and legs wildly and tried to call out to him. But it was too late. His clothes were wet and heavy and the water pulled him down towards the bottom of the river until he stopped moving. Quilp would never move again. He was dead.

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