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Charles Dickens

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel by Charles Dickens published in 1841. It tells the story of Nell Trent, a beautiful and virtuous young girl of “not quite fourteen.” An orphan, she lives with her maternal grandfather in his shop of odds and ends. Her grandfather loves her dearly, and Nell does not complain, but she lives a lonely existence with almost no friends her own age. Her only friend is Kit, an honest boy employed at the shop, whom she is teaching to write. Secretly obsessed with ensuring that Nell does not die in poverty as her parents did, her grandfather attempts to provide Nell with a good inheritance through gambling at cards. He keeps his nocturnal games a secret, but borrows heavily from the evil Daniel Quilp, a malicious, grotesquely deformed, hunchbacked dwarf moneylender. In the end, he gambles away what little money they have, and Quilp seizes the opportunity to take possession of the shop and evict Nell and her grandfather, to live as beggars…
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