Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

Chapter 11
Newman Noggs inducts Mrs and Miss Nickleby into their New Dwelling in the
Miss Nickleby's reflections, as she wended her way homewards, were of that
desponding nature which the occurrences of the morning had been sufficiently
calculated to awaken. Her uncle's was not a manner likely to dispel any doubts or
apprehensions she might have formed, in the outset, neither was the glimpse she
had had of Madame Mantalini's establishment by any means encouraging. It was
with many gloomy forebodings and misgivings, therefore, that she looked
forward, with a heavy heart, to the opening of her new career.
If her mother's consolations could have restored her to a pleasanter and more
enviable state of mind, there were abundance of them to produce the effect. By
the time Kate reached home, the good lady had called to mind two authentic
cases of milliners who had been possessed of considerable property, though
whether they had acquired it all in business, or had had a capital to start with, or
had been lucky and married to advantage, she could not exactly remember.
However, as she very logically remarked, there must have been SOME young
person in that way of business who had made a fortune without having anything
to begin with, and that being taken for granted, why should not Kate do the
same? Miss La Creevy, who was a member of the little council, ventured to
insinuate some doubts relative to the probability of Miss Nickleby's arriving at this
happy consummation in the compass of an ordinary lifetime; but the good lady
set that question entirely at rest, by informing them that she had a presentiment
on the subject--a species of second-sight with which she had been in the habit of
clenching every argument with the deceased Mr Nickleby, and, in nine cases and
three-quarters out of every ten, determining it the wrong way.
'I am afraid it is an unhealthy occupation,' said Miss La Creevy. 'I recollect getting
three young milliners to sit to me, when I first began to paint, and I remember that
they were all very pale and sickly.'
'Oh! that's not a general rule by any means,' observed Mrs Nickleby; 'for I
remember, as well as if it was only yesterday, employing one that I was
particularly recommended to, to make me a scarlet cloak at the time when scarlet
cloaks were fashionable, and she had a very red face--a very red face, indeed.'
'Perhaps she drank,' suggested Miss La Creevy.
'I don't know how that may have been,' returned Mrs Nickleby: 'but I know she
had a very red face, so your argument goes for nothing.'
In this manner, and with like powerful reasoning, did the worthy matron meet
every little objection that presented itself to the new scheme of the morning.
Happy Mrs Nickleby! A project had but to be new, and it came home to her mind,
brightly varnished and gilded as a glittering toy.
This question disposed of, Kate communicated her uncle's desire about the
empty house, to which Mrs Nickleby assented with equal readiness,
characteristically remarking, that, on the fine evenings, it would be a pleasant
amusement for her to walk to the West end to fetch her daughter home; and no