Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

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
The square in which the counting-house of the brothers Cheeryble was situated,
although it might not wholly realise the very sanguine expectations which a
stranger would be disposed to form on hearing the fervent encomiums bestowed
upon it by Tim Linkinwater, was, nevertheless, a sufficiently desirable nook in the
heart of a busy town like London, and one which occupied a high place in the
affectionate remembrances of several grave persons domiciled in the
neighbourhood, whose recollections, however, dated from a much more recent
period, and whose attachment to the spot was far less absorbing, than were the
recollections and attachment of the enthusiastic Tim.
And let not those whose eyes have been accustomed to the aristocratic gravity of
Grosvenor Square and Hanover Square, the dowager barrenness and frigidity of
Fitzroy Square, or the gravel walks and garden seats of the Squares of Russell
and Euston, suppose that the affections of Tim Linkinwater, or the inferior lovers
of this particular locality, had been awakened and kept alive by any refreshing
associations with leaves, however dingy, or grass, however bare and thin. The
city square has no enclosure, save the lamp-post in the middle: and no grass, but
the weeds which spring up round its base. It is a quiet, little-frequented, retired
spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation, and appointments of long-
waiting; and up and down its every side the Appointed saunters idly by the hour
together wakening the echoes with the monotonous sound of his footsteps on the
smooth worn stones, and counting, first the windows, and then the very bricks of
the tall silent houses that hem him round about. In winter-time, the snow will
linger there, long after it has melted from the busy streets and highways. The
summer's sun holds it in some respect, and while he darts his cheerful rays
sparingly into the square, keeps his fiery heat and glare for noisier and less-
imposing precincts. It is so quiet, that you can almost hear the ticking of your own
watch when you stop to cool in its refreshing atmosphere. There is a distant hum-
-of coaches, not of insects--but no other sound disturbs the stillness of the
square. The ticket porter leans idly against the post at the corner: comfortably
warm, but not hot, although the day is broiling. His white apron flaps languidly in
the air, his head gradually droops upon his breast, he takes very long winks with
both eyes at once; even he is unable to withstand the soporific influence of the
place, and is gradually falling asleep. But now, he starts into full wakefulness,
recoils a step or two, and gazes out before him with eager wildness in his eye. Is
it a job, or a boy at marbles? Does he see a ghost, or hear an organ? No; sight
more unwonted still--there is a butterfly in the square--a real, live butterfly! astray
from flowers and sweets, and fluttering among the iron heads of the dusty area
But if there were not many matters immediately without the doors of Cheeryble
Brothers, to engage the attention or distract the thoughts of the young clerk,