Nicholas Nickleby: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Nicholas Nickleby

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Nickleby" redirects here. For other uses, see Nicholas Nickleby (disambiguation). For NCLB, see No Child Left Behind Act
Nicholas Nickleby  
Nickleby serialcover.jpg
Cover of serial, Vol. 13 1839
Author Charles Dickens
Original title The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Illustrator Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz)
Country England
Language English
Series 20 Monthly parts:
April 1838 -
October 1839
Genre(s) Novel
Social criticism
Publisher Chapman & Hall
Publication date 1839
Media type Print (Serial, Hardback, and Paperback)
Pages 952
OCLC Number 231037034
Preceded by Oliver Twist
Followed by The Old Curiosity Shop

Nicholas Nickleby; or, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a comic novel by Charles Dickens. Originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839, it was Dickens' third novel.

The lengthy novel centres around the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. His Uncle Ralph, who thinks Nicholas will never amount to anything, plays the role of an antagonist.



Nickleby is Dickens' third published novel. He returned to his favourite publishers and to the format that was so successful with The Pickwick Papers. The story first appeared in monthly parts, after which it was issued in one volume. The style is episodic and humorous. Dickens began writing 'Nickleby' while still working on Oliver Twist and while the mood is indeed lighter, his depiction of the Yorkshire school run by Wackford Squeers is as moving and influential as had been the workhouse and criminal underclass in Twist.

'Nickleby' marks a new development in a further sense as it is the first of Dickens' romances. When it was published the book was an immediate and complete success, and established Dickens's lasting reputation.

Major themes

Like many of Dickens' works, the novel has a contemporary setting. Much of the action takes place in London, with several chapters taking place in Dickens' birthplace of Portsmouth, as well as settings in Yorkshire and Devon.

The tone of the work is that of ironic social satire, with Dickens taking aim at what he perceives to be social injustices. Many memorable characters are introduced, including Nicholas' malevolent uncle Ralph, and the villainous Wackford Squeers, who operates an extremely abusive all-boys boarding school at which Nicholas temporarily serves as a tutor.

Major characters

As in most of Dickens’ works, there is a sprawling number of characters in the book. The major characters in Nicholas Nickleby include:

  • Nicholas Nickleby The hero of the novel. His father has died and left Nicholas and his family penniless. Nicholas is not a typical hero: he can be violent, naïve, and emotional. But he devotes himself primarily to his friends and family and fiercely defies those who wrong the ones he loves.
  • Ralph Nickleby The book’s major antagonist, Nicholas’s uncle. He seems to care about nothing but money and takes an immediate dislike to the idealistic Nicholas. But, as gruff as he is, he harbours something of a soft spot for Kate. Ralph’s anger at Nicholas’s beating of Wackford Squeers leads to a vow to destroy the younger man, but the only man Ralph ends up destroying is himself. When it is revealed that Smike was his son, and that the boy died hating him, he takes his own life.
  • Kate Nickleby Nicholas's younger sister. Kate is a fairly passive character, typical of Dickensian women, but she shares some of her brother’s fortitude and strong will. She does not blanch at hard labour to earn her keep and defends herself against the lecherous Sir Mulberry Hawk. She finds well-deserved happiness with Frank Cheeryble.
  • Mrs. Nickleby Nicholas and Kate’s mother, who provides much of the novel’s comic relief. The muddleheaded Mrs. Nickleby does not see the true evil her children encounter until it is directly pointed out to her. She is stubborn, prone to long digressions on irrelevant or unimportant topics and unrealistic fantasies, and displays an often vague grasp of what is going on around her.
  • Smike A poor drudge living in Squeers’ "care". Smike is a pathetic figure, perpetually ill and a cripple, who has been in Squeers’ care since he was very young. Nicholas gives him the courage to run away, but when that fails Nicholas saves him again and he latches himself on to his protector. He falls in love with Kate, but his heart is broken when she falls in love with Frank Cheeryble. After Smike dies of "a dread disease " (tuberculosis), it is revealed that he is Ralph Nickleby’s son.
  • Newman Noggs: Ralph’s clerk, who becomes Nicholas’s closest friend. He was once a businessman of high standing but went bankrupt. He is an alcoholic, and his general good nature and insight into human nature is hidden under a veneer of irrational tics and erratic behavior.
  • Miss La Creevy: The Nicklebys' landlady. A plump, kindly woman in her fifties, she is a miniature-portrait painter. She is the first friend the Nicklebys make in London, and one of the truest. She is rewarded for her good-heartedness when she falls in love with Tim Linkinwater.
  • Wackford Squeers: A cruel, one-eyed, Yorkshire schoolmaster. He runs "Dotheboys Hall", a place where unwanted children can be sent away. He mistreats the boys horribly, whipping them regularly. He gets his comeuppance at the hands of Nicholas when he is beaten in retaliation for the whipping of Smike. He travels to London after he recovers and partakes in more bad business, fulfilling his grudge against Nicholas by becoming a close partner in Ralph’s schemes to fake Smike’s parentage and later to hide the will of Madeline Bray. He is arrested during the last of these tasks and sentenced to transportation to Australia.
  • Mr. Snawley An oil merchant who puts his two stepsons in Squeers' "care". He pretends to be Smike’s father to help Squeers get back at Nicholas but cracks under the pressure and eventually confesses to the police. He is arrested.
  • Mrs. Squeers Squeers' formidable wife. If possible, she is even more cruel and less affectionate than her husband to the boys in their care.
  • Fanny Squeers The Squeers’ daughter. She is 23 and is beginning to feel the pressure to find a man to settle down with. She falls in love with Nicholas until he bluntly rebuffs her affections, at which point she begins to hate him. Tilda Price (later Browdie) is her best friend, but the relationship is strained by Fanny’s pride and spitefulness. She is full of bluster and is under severe delusions about her own beauty and station.
  • Young Wackford Squeers The Squeers' loutish, piggy son. He is mainly preoccupied with filling his belly as often as he can and bullying his father’s boys, to his father’s great joy.
  • John Browdie A bluff Yorkshireman, Tilda’s fiancé, later her husband. Although he and Nicholas get off on the wrong foot, they become good friends when John helps Nicholas escape from Yorkshire. He later rescues Smike from Squeers again, proving himself a good and intelligent man. He is not, however, well-schooled in manners and has a rough and boisterous air.
  • Matilda Price (Browdie) Fanny’s best friend and Browdie’s fiancée; she goes by the name of Tilda. A pretty girl of 18, she puts up with Fanny’s pettiness because of their childhood friendship, but later breaks with her. She is rather coquettish, but settles down happily with John Browdie.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mantalini Milliners, Kate’s employers. Mr. Mantalini (real name Alfred Muntle) is a handsome man, with a fine moustache but foul mouth, who lives off his wife. He is not above stealing from his wife and threatens to dramatically kill himself when he does not get his way. Mrs. Mantalini is much older than her husband and equally prone to dramatics. She eventually gets wise and leaves him, but not until he has ruined her with extravagant spending and she is forced to sell the business to Miss Knag. Mr. Mantalini is seen again at the end of the book living in much reduced circumstances, romantically tied to a washerwoman, but still up to his old tricks.
  • Miss Knag Mrs. Mantalini’s right-hand woman and leader of the showroom forces. Miss Knag is a lady of considerable years, but is under the impression that she is a raving beauty. When Kate begins her employment with the Mantalinis, Miss Knag is quite kind to her, but when her age is insulted by a disgruntled customer who prefers Kate, she blames Kate and begins to treat her quite shabbily. She takes over the business when the Mantalinis go bankrupt, but fires Kate. A spinster, she lives with her brother Mortimer, a failed novelist.
  • The Kenwigs Family Newman Nogg’s neighbours. Mr. and Mrs. Kenwigs are dependent on the latter’s wealthy uncle Mr. Lillyvick, and everything they do is designed to please him so he will not write their children (including their baby, named Lillyvick) out of his will. Their daughter Morleena, is an awkward child of 7.
  • Mr. Lillyvick Mrs. Kenwig’s uncle, a collector of the water rate, a position which gives him great importance among his poor relatives. He falls in love with Miss Petowker, and marries her to the Kenwigs' great distress. But when she elopes with another man, he comes back to his family a sadder but wiser man.
  • Henrietta Petowker of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. A minor actress with a prestigious company, though a major star with the somewhat less stellar Crummles troop. Mrs. Crummles' protégée. She marries Mr. Lillyvick after meeting him at the Kenwig’s wedding anniversary, but leaves him very quickly.
  • Sir Mulberry Hawk is a lecherous nobleman and money-lender, who has taken Lord Verisopht under his wing. One of the most truly evil characters in the novel, he forces himself upon Kate and behaves in a thoroughly abhorrent manner. He is beaten by Nicholas, and swears revenge, but nothing comes of it. His reckoning comes when he kills Lord Frederick in a duel and must flee to France.
  • Lord Frederick Verisopht Hawk’s friend, a rich young nobleman. He owes both Ralph and Sir Mulberry vast sums. He becomes infatuated with Kate and is used by Hawk to find her whereabouts. When Nicholas confronts them in a coffeehouse, Lord Frederick sees the error of his ways and breaks with Hawk. Some weeks later, they meet again in a casino in London and get into an altercation, an event which leads to a duel, in which Lord Frederick is killed. He is one of the few characters in the novel to undergo a journey, from a thoughtless, drunken boy to a mature young man who dies redeemed and repentant.
  • Mr. Pluck and Mr. Pyke Hangers-on to Hawk and Verisopht. They are never seen apart and are quite indistinguishable from one another. Pluck and Pyke are intelligent, sly and dapper, perfect to do Hawk’s dirty work for him.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Wittiterly A wealthy, pretentious couple who employ Kate as a companion to Mrs. Wittiterly. Julia Wittiterly is a hypochondriac who acts as if a feather would knock her over, but she has a fierce temper when she does not get her way. Mr. Wittiterly flatters his wife and toadies to her every whim. They are oblivious to the degradation Kate is submitted to under their noses.
  • Mr. Vincent Crummles Head of the Crummles theatre troupe, a larger-than-life theatre manager and actor who takes Nicholas under his wing. He takes great pride in his profession, but also sometimes yearns for a quieter life settled down with his wife and children.
  • Mrs. Crummles, Mr. Crummles' wife, a glamorous dowager. A formidable but loving presence to the actors in her troupe.
  • The "Infant Phenomenon", Miss Ninetta Crummles, Mr. and Mrs. Crummles daughter. She is a very prominent member of the Crummles troupe, and a dancing part is written for her in every performance. She is supposedly ten years old, but is actually closer to fifteen, having been kept on a steady diet of gin to keep her looking young.
  • Mr. Folair a pantomimist with the company. He is an apt flatterer, but does not hesitate to say exactly what he thinks of people once their back is turned.
  • Miss Snevellicci. The talented leading lady of the Crummles troupe. She and Nicholas flirt with romance, but nothing comes of it, and she eventually leaves the troupe to get married.
  • Mr. Lenville an overdramatic, self-centred Tragedian, who becomes jealous of the attention Nicholas is getting as an actor, and attempts to pull his nose in front of the company, an act which results in the actor himself being knocked down and his cane broken by Nicholas.
  • Charles and Ned Cheeryble twin brothers, wealthy merchants who are as magnanimous as they are jovial. They give Nicholas a job and provide for his family, and become key figures in the turning about of the happy ending. Like Pluck and Pyke, they are fairly interchangeable.
  • Frank Cheeryble Ned and Charles’ nephew by their late sister, who is just as open-hearted as his uncles. He shares Nicholas’s streak of anger when his sense of chivalry is roused. He falls in love with, and later marries, Kate.
  • Tim Linkinwater The brother Cheeryble’s loyal clerk. An elderly, stout, pleasant gentleman, he is jokingly referred to by the Brothers as "a Fierce Lion". He is prone to hyperbole. He finds happiness with Miss La Creevy.
  • Brooker an old man. A mysterious figure who appears several times during the novel, we eventually find out that he was formerly Ralph’s clerk. He was responsible for bringing Ralph’s son (Smike) to Dotheboys Hall. An ex-convict, he returns to extort money from Ralph with the information his son is alive. When that fails, he goes to Noggs, and eventually brings his story to light.
  • Madeline Bray A beautiful but destitute young woman. Proud and dutiful to her father, she is willing to throw her life away for him. Nicholas falls in love at first sight, and she comes to feel the same way.
  • Walter Bray Madeline’s father, formerly a gentleman. He is an extremely selfish man who has wasted his wife’s fortune and is dying in a debtor’s prison, oweing vast sums of money to both Ralph and Gride. He fools himself that he is acting for the benefit of his daughter by agreeing to her marriage with Gride, but when he realizes what he has done, he dies of grief before the marriage goes through, freeing Madeline from her obligations.
  • Arthur Gride an elderly miser and associate of Ralph. He pretends to be in love with Madeline, but is only interested in her inheritance. A coward and a boot-licker, he is a thoroughly unlikeable character.
  • Peg Sliderskew Gride’s elderly housekeeper. Very deaf and going senile, she ends up playing a large part in the denouement when she steals Madeline’s grandmother’s will.

Literary significance & criticism

While some consider the book to be among the finest works of 19th century comedy, Nicholas Nickleby is occasionally criticized for its lack of character development.[1]

Theatre adaptation

It has been adapted for stage, film or television at least seven times. Perhaps the most extraordinary version (from playwright David Edgar) was created in 1980 when a large-scale stage production of the novel was performed in the West End by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was a theatrical experience which lasted more than ten hours (counting intermissions and a dinner break - the actual playing time was approximately eight-and-a-half hours). The production received both critical and popular acclaim. All of the actors played multiple roles because of the huge number of characters, except for Roger Rees, who played Nicholas and David Threlfall who played Smike (due to the large amount of time they were on stage). The play moved to Broadway in 1981. In 1982 the RSC had the show recorded as three two-hour and one three-hour episodes for Channel 4, where it became the channel's first drama. In 1983, it was shown on television in the United States, where it won an Emmy Award for Best Mini-Series. This version is currently available in the DVD format. December 2007 saw not only a full re-broadcast of the TV version on BBC Four, but also a two-month London transfer to the Gielgud Theatre for a Chichester Festival Theatre production of the original play (directed by Jonathan Church and Philip Franks, and with Daniel Weyman as Nicholas and David Dawson as Smike).

Other theatre adaptations include the musical Smike, the 1838 Nicholas Nickleby; or, Doings at Do-The-Boys Hall (premièred at the Adelphi Theatre and City of London Theatre, and featuring Mary Anne Keeley as Smike), an 1850s American version featuring Joseph Jefferson as Newman Noggs, and another in the late 19th century featuring Nellie Farren as Smike.

Film and TV adaptations

In 1977, the BBC Television adapted the novel, directed by Christopher Barry and starring Nigel Havers in the title role, Derek Francis as Wackford Squeers and Patricia Routledge as Madame Mantalini. In 2001, a new version for British television was directed by Stephen Whittaker, as The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.[2]

An American silent version was made in 1903, and another silent film adaptation followed in 1912, featuring Victory Bateman as Miss La Creevey and Ethyle Cooke as Miss Snevellici. The first sound film adaptation was released in 1947, starring Cedric Hardwicke as Ralph Nickleby, Sally Ann Howes as Kate, Derek Bond as Nicholas, and Stanley Holloway as Crummles. In 2002, another feature-length film of the story was released. It was directed by American director Douglas McGrath and its cast featured Charlie Hunnam, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Bell, Alan Cumming, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Plummer, Juliet Stevenson, and Barry Humphries.

Mentions in popular culture

  • In Roald Dahl's story of The BFG, the Big Friendly Giant learns to write by reading the Dickens novel "hundreds of times".
  • Another character of Roald Dahl's, the headmistress Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, advocates Wackford Squeers' method of teaching as one that should be admired.
  • In Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust, Nicholas Nickleby is one of several Dickens' novels Tony Last is forced to read to the psychotic Mr. Todd as compensation for having his life saved by the latter.
  • Ray Bradbury's Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend of Mine features a man who pretends to be Dickens.
  • Laurel McKelva Hand, the main character in Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter, reads Nicholas Nickleby to her father as he recuperates from eye surgery.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, a 4th season 3-episode arc dealt with Dr. Arik Soong and his augmented test tube "children" that were remnants froms the 1990's Eugenics War. An augment named Udar was shunned by his "siblings" because he didn't possess all of the same superior abilities that the rest were engineered with. He was nicknamed Smike by his "siblings" because of his perceived shortcomings and was eventually killed by his "brother" Malik in the episode Cold Station 12. Udar was played by actor Kaj-Erik Eriksen, and Dr. Arik Soong was played by Special Guest Star Brent Spiner.


Nicholas Nickleby was originally issued in 19 monthly numbers; the last was a double-number and cost two shillings instead of one. Each number comprised 32 pages of text and two illustrations by Phiz:

  • I - March 1838 (chapters 1-4);
  • II - April 1838 (chapters 5-7);
  • III - May 1838 (chapters 8-10);
  • IV - June 1838 (chapters 11-14);
  • V - July 1838 (chapters 15-17);
  • VI - August 1838 (chapters 18-20);
  • VII - September 1838 (chapters 21-23);
  • VIII - October 1838 (chapters 24-26);
  • IX - November 1838 (chapters 27-29);
  • X - December 1838 (chapters 30-33);
  • XI - January 1839 (chapters 34-36);
  • XII - February 1839 (chapters 37-39);
  • XIII - March 1839 (chapters 40-42);
  • XIV - April 1839 (chapters 43-45);
  • XV - May 1839 (chapters 46-48);
  • XVI - June 1839 (chapters 49-51);
  • XVII - July 1839 (chapters 52-54);
  • XVIII - August 1839 (chapters 55-58);
  • XIX-XX - September 1839 (chapters 59-65).


  1. ^ Goodwin, Sue (2004). "Assignment Guide for Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby". Kingwood College Library. Retrieved 2007-02-12.  
  2. ^

External links

Online editions





Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, (or Nicholas Nickleby for short) (1838-1839), by Charles Dickens, centers around the life and adventures of a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies, while his Uncle Ralph thinks he will never amount to anything.


  • Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal.
    • Chapter 1.
  • The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.
    • Chapter 3.
  • He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two.
    • Chapter 4.
  • Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you've conquered human nature.
    • Chapter 5.
  • There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.
    • Chapter 10.
  • Oh! they're too beautiful to live, much too beautiful!
    • Chapter 14.
  • A man in public life expects to be sneered at—it is the fault of his elevated sitiwation, and not of himself.
    • Chapter 14.
  • I pity his ignorance and despise him.
    • Chapter 15.
  • Quadruped lions are said to be savage, only when they are hungry; biped lions are rarely sulky longer than when their appetite for distinction remains unappeased.
    • Chapter 15.
  • Miss Knag still aimed at youth, although she had shot beyond it, years ago.
    • Chapter 17.
  • May not the complaint, that common people are above their station, often take its rise in the fact of uncommon people being below theirs?
    • Chapter 17.
  • He is a wonderfully accomplished man—most extraordinarily accomplished—reads—hem—reads every novel that comes out; I mean every novel that—hem—that has any fashion in it, of course. The fact is, that he did find so much in the books he read, applicable to his own misfortunes, and did find himself in every respect so much like the heroes—because of course he is conscious of his own superiority, as we all are, and very naturally—that he took to scorning everything, and became a genius.
    • Miss Knag, a millener’s assistant, is speaking of her brother, Mr. Mortimer Knag, a stationer and keeper of a small circulating library.
    • Chapter 18.
  • There are not a few among the disciples of charity who require, in their vocation, scarcely less excitement than the votaries of pleasure in theirs.
    • Chapter 18.
  • That sort of half sigh, which, accompanied by two or three slight nods of the head, is pity's small change in general society.
    • Chapter 18.
  • One of the many to whom, from straightened circumstances, a consequent inability to form the associations they would wish, and a disinclination to mix with the society they could obtain, London is as complete a solitude as the plains of Syria.
    • Chapter 20.
  • How can you capture the sympathies of the audience unless you have a small man, fighting against a bigger one?
    • Chapter 22.
  • For nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy, that we can scarcely mark their progress.
    • Chapter 22.
  • Language was not powerful enough to describe the infant phenomenon. “I’ll tell you what, sir,” he said; “the talent of this child is not to be imagined. She must be seen, sir—seen—to be ever so faintly appreciated.”... The infant phenomenon, though of short stature, had a comparatively aged countenance, and had moreover been precisely the same age—not perhaps to the full extent of the memory of the oldest inhabitant, but certainly for five good years.
    • Chapter 23.
  • Making himself very amiable to the infant phenomenon, was an inebriated elderly gentleman in the last depths of shabbiness, who played the calm and virtuous old men.
    • Chapter 23.
  • "The unities, sir," he said, "are a completeness — a kind of universal dovetailedness with regard to place and time — a sort of a general oneness, if I may be allowed to use so strong an expression. I take those to be the dramatic unities, so far as I have been enabled to bestow attention upon them, and I have read much upon the subject, and thought much."
    • Chapter 24.
  • The plot was most interesting. It belonged to no particular age, people, or country, and was perhaps the more delightful on that account, as nobody’s previous information could afford the remotest glimmering of what would ever come of it.
    • Chapter 24.
  • Although a skillful flatterer is a most delightful companion if him all to yourself, his taste becomes very doubtful when he takes to complimenting other people.
    • Chapter 28.
  • It is a hopeless endeavour to attract people to a theatre unless they can be first brought to believe that they will never get in.
    • Chapter 30.
  • She is sitting there before me. There is the graceful outline of her form; it cannot be mistaken — there is nothing like it. The two countesses had no outlines at all, and the dowager's was a demd outline. Why is she so excruciatingly beautiful that I cannot be angry with her, even now?
    • Chapter 34.
  • A demd, damp, moist, unpleasant body!
    • Chapter 34.
  • It is a pleasant thing to reflect upon, and furnishes a complete answer to those who contend for the gradual degeneration of the human species, that every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.
    • Chapter 36.
  • Young men not being as a class remarkable for modesty or self-denial, especially when there is a lady in the case, when, if they colour at all, it is rather their practise to colour the story, and not themselves.
    • Chapter 43.
  • Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it cannot be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues — faith and hope.
    • Chapter 43.
  • There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets.
    • Chapter 44.
  • There was a literary gentleman present who who had dramatised in his time two hundred and forty-seven novels as fast as they had come out—and who was a literary gentleman in consequence.
    • Chapter 48.
  • Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.
    • Chapter 49.
  • Drinking tents were full, glasses began to clink in carriages, hampers to be unpacked, tempting provisions to be set forth, knives and forks to rattle, champagne corks to fly, eyes to brighten that were not dull before, and pickpockets to count their gains during the last heat. The attention so recently strained on one object of interest, was now divided among a hundred; and, look where you would, there was a motley assemblage of feasting, talking, begging, gambling and mummery.
    • Describing the scene at the Hampton race-course
    • Chapter 50.
  • It was not exactly a hairdresser’s; that is to say, people of a coarse and vulgar turn of mind might have called it a barber’s; for they not only cut and curled ladies elegantly, and children carefully, but shaved gentlemen easily.
    • Chapter 52.
  • When men are about to commit, or sanction the commission of some injustice, it is not uncommon for them to express pity for the object either of that or some parallel proceeding, and to feel themselves, at the time, quite virtuous and moral, and immensely superior to those who express no pity at all. This is a kind of upholding of faith above works, and is very comfortable.
    • Chapter 54.
  • Look to yourself, and heed this warning that I give you! Your day is past, and night is coming on.
    • Chapter 54.
  • He has gone to the demnition bow-wows.
    • Chapter 64.
  • My life is one demd horrid grind.
    • Chapter 64.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original text related to:

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby
by Charles Dickens
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, (or Nicholas Nickleby for short) is a comic novel of Charles Dickens. Originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839, it was Dickens' third novel. The lengthy novel centres around the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. His Uncle Ralph, who thinks Nicholas will never amount to anything, plays the role of an antagonist.
— Excerpted from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

This edition is taken from Project Gutenberg and The University of Adelaide. The full title and subtitle is The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickelby Family.

Table of Contents

  • Preface— Author's Preface
  • Chapter 1— Introduces all the Rest
  • Chapter 2— Of Mr Ralph Nickleby, and his Establishments, and his Undertakings, and of a great Joint Stock Company of vast national Importance
  • Chapter 3— Mr Ralph Nickleby receives Sad Tidings of his Brother, but bears up nobly against the Intelligence communicated to him. The Reader is informed how he liked Nicholas, who is herein introduced, and how kindly he proposed to make his Fortune at once.
  • Chapter 4— Nicholas and his Uncle (to secure the Fortune without loss of time) wait upon Mr Wackford Squeers, the Yorkshire Schoolmaster
  • Chapter 5— Nicholas starts for Yorkshire. Of his Leave-taking and his Fellow-Travellers, and what befell them on the Road
  • Chapter 6— In which the Occurrence of the Accident mentioned in the last Chapter, affords an Opportunity to a couple of Gentlemen to tell Stories against each other
  • Chapter 7— Mr and Mrs Squeers at Home
  • Chapter 8— Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys Hall
  • Chapter 9— Of Miss Squeers, Mrs Squeers, Master Squeers, and Mr Squeers; and of various Matters and Persons connected no less with the Squeerses than Nicholas Nickleby
  • Chapter 10— How Mr Ralph Nickleby provided for his Niece and Sister-in-Law
  • Chapter 11— Newman Noggs inducts Mrs and Miss Nickleby into their New Dwelling in the City
  • Chapter 12— Whereby the Reader will be enabled to trace the further course of Miss Fanny Squeer's Love, and to ascertain whether it ran smooth or otherwise
  • Chapter 13— Nicholas varies the Monotony of Dothebys Hall by a most vigorous and remarkable proceeding, which leads to Consequences of some Importance
  • Chapter 14— Having the Misfortune to treat of none but Common People, is necessarily of a Mean and Vulgar Character
  • Chapter 15— Acquaints the Reader with the Cause and Origin of the Interruption described in the last Chapter, and with some other Matters necessary to be known
  • Chapter 16— Nicholas seeks to employ himself in a New Capacity, and being unsuccessful, accepts an engagement as Tutor in a Private Family
  • Chapter 17— Follows the Fortunes of Miss Nickleby
  • Chapter 18— Miss Knag, after doting on Kate Nickleby for three whole Days, makes up her Mind to hate her for evermore. The Causes which led Miss Knag to form this Resolution.
  • Chapter 19— Descriptive of a Dinner at Mr Ralph Nickleby's, and of the Manner in which the Company entertained themselves, before Dinner, at Dinner, and after Dinner
  • Chapter 20— Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his Uncle, to whom he expresses his Sentiments with much Candour. His Resolution.
  • Chapter 21— Madam Mantalini finds herself in a Situation of some Difficulty, and Miss Nickleby finds herself in no Situation at all
  • Chapter 22— Nicholas, accompanied by Smike, sallies forth to seek his Fortune. He encounters Mr Vincent Crummles; and who he was, is herein made manifest
  • Chapter 23— Treats of the Company of Mr Vincent Crummles, and of his Affairs, Domestic and Theatrical
  • Chapter 24— Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevellicci, and the first Appearance of Nicholas upon any Stage
  • Chapter 25— Concerning a young Lady from London, who joins the Company, and an elderly Admirer who follows in her Train; with an affecting Ceremony consequent on their Arrival
  • Chapter 26— Is fraught with some Danger to Miss Nickleby's Peace of Mind
  • Chapter 27— Mrs Nickleby becomes acquainted with Messrs Pyke and Pluck, whose Affection and Interest are beyond all Bounds
  • Chapter 28— Miss Nickleby, rendered desperate by the Persecution of Sir Mulberry Hawk, and the Complicated Difficulties and Distresses which surround her, appeals, as a last resource, to her Uncle for Protection
  • Chapter 29— Of the Proceedings of Nicholas, and certain Internal Divisions in the Company of Mr Vincent Crummles
  • Chapter 30— Festivities are held in honour of Nicholas, who suddenly withdraws himself from the Society of Mr Vincent Crummles and his Theatrical Companions
  • Chapter 31— Of Ralph Nickleby and Newman Noggs, and some wise Precautions, the success or failure of which will appear in the Sequel
  • Chapter 32— Relating chiefly to some remarkable Conversation, and some remarkable Proceedings to which it gives rise
  • Chapter 33— In which Mr Ralph Nickleby is relieved, by a very expeditious Process, from all Commerce with his Relations
  • Chapter 34— Wherein Mr Ralph Nickleby is visited by Persons with whom the Reader has been already made acquainted
  • Chapter 35— Smike becomes known to Mrs Nickleby and Kate. Nicholas also meets with new Acquaintances. Brighter Days seem to dawn upon the Family
  • Chapter 36— Private and confidential; relating to Family Matters. Showing how Mr Kenwigs underwent violent Agitation, and how Mrs Kenwigs was as well as could be expected
  • Chapter 37— Nicholas finds further Favour in the Eyes of the brothers Cheeryble and Mr Timothy Linkinwater. The brothers give a Banquet on a great Annual Occasion. Nicholas, on returning Home from it, receives a mysterious and important Disclosure from the Lips of Mrs Nickleby
  • Chapter 38— Comprises certain Particulars arising out of a Visit of Condolence, which may prove important hereafter. Smike unexpectedly encounters a very old Friend, who invites him to his House, and will take no Denial
  • Chapter 39— In which another old Friend encounters Smike, very opportunely and to some Purpose
  • Chapter 40— In which Nicholas falls in Love. He employs a Mediator, whose Proceedings are crowned with unexpected Success, excepting in one solitary Particular
  • Chapter 41— Containing some Romantic Passages between Mrs Nickleby and the Gentleman in the Small-clothes next Door
  • Chapter 42— Illustrative of the convivial Sentiment, that the best of Friends must sometimes part
  • Chapter 43— Officiates as a kind of Gentleman Usher, in bringing various People together
  • Chapter 44— Mr Ralph Nickleby cuts an old Acquaintance. It would also appear from the Contents hereof, that a Joke, even between Husband and Wife, may be sometimes carried too far
  • Chapter 45— Containing Matter of a surprising Kind
  • Chapter 46— Throws some Light upon Nicholas's Love; but whether for Good or Evil the Reader must determine
  • Chapter 47— Mr Ralph Nickleby has some confidential Intercourse with another old Friend. They concert between them a Project, which promises well for both
  • Chapter 48— Being for the Benefit of Mr Vincent Crummles, and positively his last Appearance on this Stage
  • Chapter 49— Chronicles the further Proceedings of the Nickleby Family, and the Sequel of the Adventure of the Gentleman in the Small-clothes
  • Chapter 50— Involves a serious Catastrophe
  • Chapter 51— The Project of Mr Ralph Nickleby and his Friend approaching a successful Issue, becomes unexpectedly known to another Party, not admitted into their Confidence
  • Chapter 52— Nicholas despairs of rescuing Madeline Bray, but plucks up his Spirits again, and determines to attempt it. Domestic Intelligence of the Kenwigses and Lillyvicks
  • Chapter 53— Containing the further Progress of the Plot contrived by Mr Ralph Nickleby and Mr Arthur Gride
  • Chapter 54— The Crisis of the Project and its Result
  • Chapter 55— Of Family Matters, Cares, Hopes, Disappointments, and Sorrows
  • Chapter 56— Ralph Nickleby, baffled by his Nephew in his late Design, hatches a Scheme of Retaliation which Accident suggests to him, and takes into his Counsels a tried Auxiliary
  • Chapter 57— How Ralph Nickleby's Auxiliary went about his Work, and how he prospered with it
  • Chapter 58— In which one Scene of this History is closed
  • Chapter 59— The Plots begin to fail, and Doubts and Dangers to disturb the Plotter
  • Chapter 60— The Dangers thicken, and the Worst is told
  • Chapter 61— Wherein Nicholas and his Sister forfeit the good Opinion of all worldly and prudent People
  • Chapter 62— Ralph makes one last Appointment--and keeps it
  • Chapter 63— The Brothers Cheeryble make various Declarations for themselves and others. Tim Linkinwater makes a Declaration for himself
  • Chapter 64— An old Acquaintance is recognised under melancholy Circumstances, and Dotheboys Hall breaks up for ever
  • Chapter 65— Conclusion
PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address