Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

Chapter 29
Of the Proceedings of Nicholas, and certain Internal Divisions in the Company of
Mr Vincent Crummles
The unexpected success and favour with which his experiment at Portsmouth
had been received, induced Mr Crummles to prolong his stay in that town for a
fortnight beyond the period he had originally assigned for the duration of his visit,
during which time Nicholas personated a vast variety of characters with
undiminished success, and attracted so many people to the theatre who had
never been seen there before, that a benefit was considered by the manager a
very promising speculation. Nicholas assenting to the terms proposed, the
benefit was had, and by it he realised no less a sum than twenty pounds.
Possessed of this unexpected wealth, his first act was to enclose to honest John
Browdie the amount of his friendly loan, which he accompanied with many
expressions of gratitude and esteem, and many cordial wishes for his
matrimonial happiness. To Newman Noggs he forwarded one half of the sum he
had realised, entreating him to take an opportunity of handing it to Kate in secret,
and conveying to her the warmest assurances of his love and affection. He made
no mention of the way in which he had employed himself; merely informing
Newman that a letter addressed to him under his assumed name at the Post
Office, Portsmouth, would readily find him, and entreating that worthy friend to
write full particulars of the situation of his mother and sister, and an account of all
the grand things that Ralph Nickleby had done for them since his departure from
'You are out of spirits,' said Smike, on the night after the letter had been
'Not I!' rejoined Nicholas, with assumed gaiety, for the confession would have
made the boy miserable all night; 'I was thinking about my sister, Smike.'
'Is she like you?' inquired Smike.
'Why, so they say,' replied Nicholas, laughing, 'only a great deal handsomer.'
'She must be VERY beautiful,' said Smike, after thinking a little while with his
hands folded together, and his eyes bent upon his friend.
'Anybody who didn't know you as well as I do, my dear fellow, would say you
were an accomplished courtier,' said Nicholas.
'I don't even know what that is,' replied Smike, shaking his head. 'Shall I ever see
your sister?'
'To be sure,' cried Nicholas; 'we shall all be together one of these days--when we
are rich, Smike.'
'How is it that you, who are so kind and good to me, have nobody to be kind to
you?' asked Smike. 'I cannot make that out.'
'Why, it is a long story,' replied Nicholas, 'and one you would have some difficulty
in comprehending, I fear. I have an enemy--you understand what that is?'
'Oh, yes, I understand that,' said Smike.