Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

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
The ensuing morning brought reflection with it, as morning usually does; but
widely different was the train of thought it awakened in the different persons who
had been so unexpectedly brought together on the preceding evening, by the
active agency of Messrs Pyke and Pluck.
The reflections of Sir Mulberry Hawk--if such a term can be applied to the
thoughts of the systematic and calculating man of dissipation, whose joys,
regrets, pains, and pleasures, are all of self, and who would seem to retain
nothing of the intellectual faculty but the power to debase himself, and to degrade
the very nature whose outward semblance he wears--the reflections of Sir
Mulberry Hawk turned upon Kate Nickleby, and were, in brief, that she was
undoubtedly handsome; that her coyness MUST be easily conquerable by a man
of his address and experience, and that the pursuit was one which could not fail
to redound to his credit, and greatly to enhance his reputation with the world. And
lest this last consideration--no mean or secondary one with Sir Mulberry-- should
sound strangely in the ears of some, let it be remembered that most men live in a
world of their own, and that in that limited circle alone are they ambitious for
distinction and applause. Sir Mulberry's world was peopled with profligates, and
he acted accordingly.
Thus, cases of injustice, and oppression, and tyranny, and the most extravagant
bigotry, are in constant occurrence among us every day. It is the custom to
trumpet forth much wonder and astonishment at the chief actors therein setting at
defiance so completely the opinion of the world; but there is no greater fallacy; it
is precisely because they do consult the opinion of their own little world that such
things take place at all, and strike the great world dumb with amazement.
The reflections of Mrs Nickleby were of the proudest and most complacent kind;
and under the influence of her very agreeable delusion she straightway sat down
and indited a long letter to Kate, in which she expressed her entire approval of
the admirable choice she had made, and extolled Sir Mulberry to the skies;
asserting, for the more complete satisfaction of her daughter's feelings, that he
was precisely the individual whom she (Mrs Nickleby) would have chosen for her
son-in-law, if she had had the picking and choosing from all mankind. The good
lady then, with the preliminary observation that she might be fairly supposed not
to have lived in the world so long without knowing its ways, communicated a
great many subtle precepts applicable to the state of courtship, and confirmed in
their wisdom by her own personal experience. Above all things she commended
a strict maidenly reserve, as being not only a very laudable thing in itself, but as
tending materially to strengthen and increase a lover's ardour. 'And I never,'
added Mrs Nickleby, 'was more delighted in my life than to observe last night, my
dear, that your good sense had already told you this.' With which sentiment, and
various hints of the pleasure she derived from the knowledge that her daughter