The New Student's Reference Work/Old Curiosity Shop
Old Curiosity Shop is a novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1840. The story centers around Little Nell, the grandchild of the keeper of the shop, and her weary quest for a safe retreat for her grandfather and herself. The grandfather, in an eager desire to secure a fortune for his grandchild, became addicted to gambling. Losing all his property and still crazed with the gambler's hope of winning, he borrows from Daniel Quilp, a malignant old dwarf, and thus comes into his power. Little Nell, realizing his position, takes him and a few personal belongings and secretly steals away, and with this double burden enters upon a wandering life which ends only with death. The story is one of a quiet, lovable, little girl surrounded with wild and grotesque though not impossible companions. Little Nell is said to have been a great favorite of the author. The story incidentally is a sermon on gambling.