Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

Chapter 27
Mrs Nickleby becomes acquainted with Messrs Pyke and Pluck, whose Affection
and Interest are beyond all Bounds
Mrs Nickleby had not felt so proud and important for many a day, as when, on
reaching home, she gave herself wholly up to the pleasant visions which had
accompanied her on her way thither. Lady Mulberry Hawk--that was the
prevalent idea. Lady Mulberry Hawk!--On Tuesday last, at St George's, Hanover
Square, by the Right Reverend the Bishop of Llandaff, Sir Mulberry Hawk, of
Mulberry Castle, North Wales, to Catherine, only daughter of the late Nicholas
Nickleby, Esquire, of Devonshire. 'Upon my word!' cried Mrs Nicholas Nickleby, 'it
sounds very well.'
Having dispatched the ceremony, with its attendant festivities, to the perfect
satisfaction of her own mind, the sanguine mother pictured to her imagination a
long train of honours and distinctions which could not fail to accompany Kate in
her new and brilliant sphere. She would be presented at court, of course. On the
anniversary of her birthday, which was upon the nineteenth of July ('at ten
minutes past three o'clock in the morning,' thought Mrs Nickleby in a parenthesis,
'for I recollect asking what o'clock it was'), Sir Mulberry would give a great feast
to all his tenants, and would return them three and a half per cent on the amount
of their last half-year's rent, as would be fully described and recorded in the
fashionable intelligence, to the immeasurable delight and admiration of all the
readers thereof. Kate's picture, too, would be in at least half-a-dozen of the
annuals, and on the opposite page would appear, in delicate type, 'Lines on
contemplating the Portrait of Lady Mulberry Hawk. By Sir Dingleby Dabber.'
Perhaps some one annual, of more comprehensive design than its fellows, might
even contain a portrait of the mother of Lady Mulberry Hawk, with lines by the
father of Sir Dingleby Dabber. More unlikely things had come to pass. Less
interesting portraits had appeared. As this thought occurred to the good lady, her
countenance unconsciously assumed that compound expression of simpering
and sleepiness which, being common to all such portraits, is perhaps one reason
why they are always so charming and agreeable.
With such triumphs of aerial architecture did Mrs Nickleby occupy the whole
evening after her accidental introduction to Ralph's titled friends; and dreams, no
less prophetic and equally promising, haunted her sleep that night. She was
preparing for her frugal dinner next day, still occupied with the same ideas--a little
softened down perhaps by sleep and daylight--when the girl who attended her,
partly for company, and partly to assist in the household affairs, rushed into the
room in unwonted agitation, and announced that two gentlemen were waiting in
the passage for permission to walk upstairs.
'Bless my heart!' cried Mrs Nickleby, hastily arranging her cap and front, 'if it
should be--dear me, standing in the passage all this time--why don't you go and
ask them to walk up, you stupid thing?'
While the girl was gone on this errand, Mrs Nickleby hastily swept into a
cupboard all vestiges of eating and drinking; which she had scarcely done, and