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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Noah Claypole is employed by Fagin on a secret mission.
Fagin waits for Noah to come down for breakfast. When Claypole arrives and sits down to eat, Fagin congratulates him on his success at pocketing six shilling and nine pence half penny on the very first day. Noah feels flattered and describes the way he had pinched pin pots and milk cans too along with the money.
Soon Fagin asks the youth to help him in executing a job. Noah refuses to comply with his request if the work will involve him in going to the office of the police or the court. When Fagin informs him that the job involves shadowing a woman, Noah gives his consent since he feels he is adept at such a job. The youth questions Fagin about the identity of the woman. Fagin informs him that she is a young woman belonging to their profession and, since he suspected her of having new friends, he would like to know their identity. Noah waits for six days to get the signal from Fagin to follow the girl. On the seventh day, a Sunday, Fagin points out Nancy to Noah and when she leaves the house, directs the youth to follow her cautiously. The chase begins. Nancy looks anxious and turns around from time to time as she walks in a hurry, Noah keeps track of her by walking behind her at a distance.
As mentioned earlier, Fagin plots with Noah to harm the person who tries to help Oliver.
Fagin keeps a watch on Nancy and instructs Noah to follow her when she leaves her home the next Sunday. Thus unnoticed, Claypole follows the girl through dark streets. Nancy seems to be unaware of her pursuer though she fears the worst. As the story progresses, Nancy's future seems doomed as compared to the fate of Oliver and Rose which becomes happier.
As the church clock strikes three quarters past eleven, Nancy as well as Noah emerge on the London Bridge. While she walks fast, Claypole slows down to walk unnoticed. The dark night aids the two of them to do their work stealthily. Nancy walks up and down, looking restless while Noah steps down to keep pace with her movements and remain unnoticed. At the stroke of midnight, a young woman accompanied by a grey haired man alight from a carriage to walk down to the bridge. When Nancy catches sight of them, she runs ahead to meet them but cautions them to step aside before starting a conversation. Before they go down the steps below, they stand unseen at a darkened spot.
After Nancy climbs down a few steps, the elderly man stops her from moving down any further. Nancy expresses fear of something she does not know when she is questioned by the gentleman about being so cautious and secretive.
She relates how she had risked her life to go over to meet Rose the other day and how she had mixed laudanum into Sikes' drinks to make him fall off to sleep before she could step out of the house. Then the gentleman informs her that if they found it difficult to apprehend Monks, Nancy had to help them to catch hold of Fagin. However, when she refuses to expose Fagin, the gentleman asks her to help them locate Monks. Lowering her voice, she gives them information about the location, the place and the time likely to be visited by Monks in the near future. She also describes his physical appearance and mannerisms in such a way that he could be spotted by anyone. However, when she tries to point out a distinct mark below his handkerchief the gentleman aids her in her description. Both Nancy and Rose are surprised at the elderly man's disclosure and inquire whether he was acquainted with this a person.
The couple takes leave of Nancy after offering to help her in whatever way they could. They also persuade her to leave the company of the evil men in whose clutches she is caught and promise to transport her to a distant land where she could hope to start a new life. Nancy refuses to accept their offer and decides to go back to her wretched home even though she hates it.
Finally, after giving up their hope to reform Nancy, Rose and Mr. Brownlow return to their carriage. Nancy falls down, giving vent to her feelings through her tears before she walks back home. Noah Claypole comes out of the hiding and hurries down the road to deliver the news to Fagin.
Just before midnight, when it is dark and misty, Nancy walks on London Bridge restlessly. The whole scene is ominous and is charged with dramatic intensity. As the clock strikes twelve, suspense builds and envelops the air. As Nancy looks around anxiously, Rose alights from a carriage and walks towards her. Once again the two women present a picture of contrast. While Rose feels secure as she is escorted by Mr. Brownlow, Nancy looks helpless as she stands alone to express her fears. It is as easy to admire Rose as it is to pity Nancy.
Each revelation of Nancy rings a death knell. Noah overhears each piece of their conversation and waits eagerly to convey the news to Fagin. The meeting between the two women becomes significant as it results in security for Rose and misery for Nancy.