Sunday, February 21, 2021

Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021 Week #3 Update

This is the third weekly update of Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021, and we are halfway through! How do you progress so far? What chapter are you in? 

Chapter XXII to XXXI follows the most interesting adventures of Nicholas and Smike, but also the most pitiable state of Kate.

On their journey to Portsmouth to seek a new situation, Nicholas and Smike stumbled upon a group of theatrical people, with a Mr. Vincent Crummles as the manager. Dickens has dedicated not less than four chapters to entertain us with 19th century theatrical world which had attracted himself. This is my favorite part of this book so far - the stage, the eccentric people, the excitement behind the curtain, and the marketing aspect. Nicholas is first engaged as a scriptwriter, but he then appears on the stage as well, with, surprisingly, huge success. Smike also impresses the audience by his appearance as the Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet. However, the merry adventure didn't last long. A letter from Newman Noggs indicating vaguely on the implorable state of Kate, impelled Nicholas to resign from stage and to take a journey homeward.

Sir Mulberry Hawk & co. change course in their campaigns to "avenge" Kate's rejection by charming the vain Mrs. Nickleby. They made her over the moon with pleasant dreams. In reality, Sir MH forces himself on Kate when she is accompanying Mr. Wititterly to the theater. Mrs. W becomes jealous of Kate and accuses her of flirting with the gentlemen. The indignant Kate pleads her uncle to help her. At first Ralph seems to be a bit touched by her despair, but in the end his business prevails. It's this situation which had forced Newman Noggs to take action by writing to Nicholas.

Approaching the arrival of Nicholas to London, Newman Noggs hires Miss La Creevy's help to soften the blow on the strong-headed Nicholas when he receives the full account of Kate's misfortune. And here we left them with their plot and strategy in chapter XXXI.


Mr. Lillyvick is indignant by old Mr. Snevellicci's free familiarity toward his wife (winking, blowing a kiss, kissing), but Mrs. Lillyvick doesn't mind at all (even Nicholas is astonished by Mr. Lillyvick's reaction).

Why do you think flirting with single woman is an offence, while with married woman is mere flattering? Do you find same treatment in present society? What will you feel if you're in Mrs. Lillyvick's position?

I'm not married, but I think I would be as offended as I were a married woman; or maybe even more? I understand that Mr. Snevellicci's conduct is more playful than that of Sir MH, but still, I think Kate would have been uncomfortable too by this treatment had she were the target. Does different classes/society view the same treatment differently? Or is it related with one's virtue? I think it's between culture and education.

Now let us hear your opinion! You can leave comments below, or you can post on your blog if you feel like it, but don't forget to leave the link here so we can visit and read your post! But If you have read ahead, please make sure to restrain from any spoiler.

Now I'm really curious about how Nicholas would respond towards Sir MH, and how the Kenwigses will react on Mr. Lillivyck's marriage news - that one will be hilarious!! 

See you next week!


  1. Fanda, I'm a week behind. I had some family complications beginning on Monday last week and I haven't read for four days. :( So I am catching up this weekend, and then I'll come back and review your post and question.

    1. Ruth, hopefully it's sorted out by now.
      I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion! :)

  2. Oops, I think my comment vanished. I fell a bit behind as well but will have some comments on Week 3 and 4 on my blog may be tomorrow.

    I rather enjoyed the theatrical section. Not sure why but the story of the performing pony and his parents always makes me laugh--as it did this time. As always I think Dickens did a great job with his cast of characters.

    The Lillyvick wedding was a surprise because I didn't remember that, but the scene at Ms Snevellicci's I think perhaps illustrates also perhaps the difference in mores among the theatre folk and others. I think the class and culture difference does stand out. I did feel for Mr Lillywick though.

    I love that Kate at her young age is able to stand up for herself. Her mother seemed more and more like Mrs Bennett this week but perhaps a worse version.


What do you think?