See the gallery. Nell Trent lives with her grandfather, the proprietor of the Old Curiosity Shop. Grandfather has a disquieting secret, a gambling addiction fed by high-interest loans from the bully Daniel Quilp. The villainous Quilp wants to get possession of the shop, and Nell. But Nell organizes an escape from the shop in the dead of night, and she and Grandfather begin a harrowing odyssey through the English countryside with their nemesis in hot pursuit. Convinced that there is a family fortune to be gained, Nell's brother Fred and his friend Dick Swiveller join in the chase. Meanwhile, Nell and Grandfather encounter a slew of eccentric characters, including Mrs.
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By Charles Dickens
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A lthough I am an old man, night is generally my time for walking. In the summer I often leave home early in the morning, and roam about fields and lanes all day, or even escape for days or weeks together; but, saving in the country, I seldom go out until after dark, though, Heaven be thanked, I love its light and feel the cheerfulness it sheds upon the earth, as much as any creature living. I have fallen insensibly into this habit, both because it favours my infirmity and because it affords me greater opportunity of speculating on the characters and occupations of those who fill the streets. The glare and hurry of broad noon are not adapted to idle pursuits like mine; a glimpse of passing faces caught by the light of a street-lamp or a shop window is often better for my purpose than their full revelation in the daylight; and, if I must add the truth, night is kinder in this respect than day, which too often destroys an air-built castle at the moment of its completion, without the least ceremony or remorse. That constant pacing to and fro, that never-ending restlessness, that incessant tread of feet wearing the rough stones smooth and glossy—is it not a wonder how the dwellers in narrows ways can bear to hear it! Poor bird! But my present purpose is not to expatiate upon my walks.