فصل 07

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فصل 07

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chapter seven

A New Beginning for Kit

While Nell and her grandfather were travelling through the countryside, back in London Daniel Quilp was busy making friends with Richard Swiveller. But he did not really like Richard and only wanted to play a trick on him. This is what happened.

Quilp had soon discovered that Nell and the old man had left The Old Curiosity Shop. But he was not very surprised that they had gone. His only worry was that the old man might have taken some hidden money with him. Quilp did not wait. He emptied the house and shop and sold everything in it as soon as he could.

On the same day that Nell and her grandfather left London, Quilp received a visit from Richard. Richard went to the shop as part of Fred’s plan to make friends with Nell and become rich. So he was shocked and upset to find that Nell, her grandfather and all the money had gone. The plan to become rich was in serious trouble before it began!

It was clear that neither Daniel Quilp nor Richard Swiveller knew where Nell and her grandfather had gone. But Quilp wanted to find out why Richard had come to The Old Curiosity Shop and so he began asking him questions. After many clever questions, Quilp learnt all about Fred’s plan for Richard to marry Nell, and for Fred and Richard to make themselves rich with her large inheritance.

Quilp, however, knew more than Richard. He knew that the grandfather was really poor, not rich. But he thought it would be fun to watch Fred’s plan go terribly wrong. He would laugh at them when Fred and Richard found out that Nell was a beggar!

‘What a clever plan!’ cried Quilp unkindly. ‘Oh, you lucky man! Yes, you will be Nelly’s husband, with more gold and silver than you can imagine. Let’s go and talk to Fred and I’ll help you both find her.’

The only person who was truly sad about the disappearance was Kit. He had no idea where Nell and her grandfather were and he could not stop worrying about it. He hoped that in a few days’ time they would return and accept his offer of a place to stay.

Realizing that he would never again work for Nell’s grandfather at The Old Curiosity Shop, Kit started to look for another job. He walked the streets asking for work, but no one offered him any. After several days of this he was about to give up when a small carriage pulled by a stubbom-looking pony went past him. The driver of the carriage was a fat little old gentleman and next to him sat a fat little old lady. In the seat behind them sat a young man, who Kit thought must be their son. The old gentleman could not control the pony very well, but with difficulty he stopped the carriage in front of a house not far from Kit and the three of them climbed down from the carriage.

‘Excuse me, sir,’ said Kit. ‘Would you like me to look after your horse?’

‘If you are happy to wait for a while, yes, you can have the job,’ replied the old gentleman, smiling. The family then went into the house.

Sometime later they came out again and walked towards the carriage. The old gentleman put his hand in his pocket to find a sixpence for Kit. But the only coin he had was a shilling, which he thought was too much money. However, because he had no other coins, he gave the shilling to Kit.

‘There,’ he said with a laugh. ‘I’m coming here again next Monday at the same time. Make sure that you’re here, my boy, to earn the rest of this money!’

‘Thank you, sir,’ said Kit. ‘I’ll be here.’

Kit meant what he said, but the three people in the carriage laughed loudly, and even the pony shook its head. Clearly none of them expected Kit to be honest and return the following Monday.

The days passed and every day Kit hoped that Nell and her grandfather would knock on his front door. They never did. Monday came again and Kit returned to the same place in the street where he had held the pony the week before. It was not long before the carriage came round the comer, sped down the street and stopped suddenly and violently as the old gentleman tried to control the pony.

It was then that Kit, with a friendly smile on his face, appeared by the pony’s head.

‘Look!’ cried the old gentleman happily. ‘The boy is here!’

‘I said I would be here, sir,’ said Kit, his hand on the pony’s neck. ‘I hope you’ve had a pleasant ride, sir.’

The old gentleman and his son helped the old lady out of the carriage and they went into the house. After some time they returned and the old gentleman came to speak to Kit. He said his name was Mr Garland and he asked Kit a few questions about where he lived and his family. After writing Kit’s address in a small notebook, Mr Garland climbed up into the carriage with his wife and son and drove away.

It took Kit about half an hour to walk home and when he arrived he was surprised to see the pony and carriage again, standing right outside his house! Inside, Mr and Mrs Garland were there, talking to his mother in the kitchen.

‘My dear,’ said Kit’s mother, looking at Mr Garland, who was smiling. ‘This kind gentleman has offered you a job!’

After a few minutes of conversation it was decided: Kit would live in Mr and Mrs Garland’s house and would be employed by them. The old couple told him that his salary would be six pounds a year.

‘Well, mother,’ said Kit excitedly after the Garlands had left. ‘Six pounds a year! We won’t need to worry about money again!’

Just two days later Kit, wearing smart new clothes, arrived to start work at Mr and Mrs Garland’s beautiful cottage. He knocked on the door, and after what seemed like a very long time a young servant-girl opened it. She looked shy and was very pretty.

‘I suppose you’re Kit, sir,’ said the girl, looking down at her feet. ‘My name is Barbara.’

Then she looked up at Kit, and they both smiled shyly at each other.

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