Little Nell is a 14-year-old beauty with a heart of gold raised by her kind, secretive grandfather. He runs an antique shop, and borrows significant sums of money from Mr.Quilp, the moneylender. No one knows what the grandfather does with the money, but he is thought to be rich and increasing his assets. Then the secret comes out: the old man is a gambler, he hopes to secure the future of his beloved granddaughter by winning a fortune. That, of course, never happens. The grandfather keeps losing, gambling the money away every night and sinking deeper in debt.
When Mr.Quilp finds out where his money is going, he is furious. He takes the shop from the old man, and Little Nell and her grandfather flee from London, fearing more harm. They travel mostly on foot, Little Nell leading the way and taking care of her devastated grandfather who becomes a weak, childlike creature unable to think for himself.
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe