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THE WORKS OF

CHARLES DICKENS

NATIONAL EDITION

VOLUME

IV




THE YORKSHIRE SCHOOLMASTER AT THE SARACEN'S HEAD.



National iCibrarji lEhttimt



THE WORKS OF

CHARLES DICKENS




NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

PARTS ONE AND TWO



t, Srattm anb ffia., 3nr.



THE LIFE
AND ADVENTURES OF

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

CONTAINING A FAITHFUL ACCOUNT

OF THE FORTUNES, MISFORTUNES,

UPRISINGS, DOWNFALLINGS, AND

COMPLETE CAREER OF THE

NICKLEBY FAMILY



With Illustrations by
HABLOT KNIGHT BROWNE ('PHIZ')



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. I



'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'
was first published as a volume in 1839, having
previously been issued in twenty monthly parts,
from April 1838 to October 1839.

This Edition contains all the copyright emen-
dations made in the text as revised by the Author
in 1867 and 1868.



PREFACES, ETC.



NICKLEBY PROCLAMATION BY 'BOZ,'

1838

ON the Thirty-first of March will be published, to be
continued Monthly, price One Shilling, and completed
in Twenty Parts, the First Number of 'THE LIFE AND
ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY'; containing a
faithful account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Upris-
ings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the
Nickleby Family. Edited by 'Boz.' And each Monthly
Part embellished with two Illustrations by 'Phiz.'

proclamation*

Wbeteas we are the only true and lawful 'Boz.'



wbereas it hath been reported to us, who are
commencing a New Work, to be called

'THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY/

THAT some dishonest dullards, resident in the by-
streets and cellars of this town, impose upon the un-
wary and credulous, by producing cheap and
wretched imitations of our delectable Works.

xi



xii NICHOLAS NICKLEBY



Wberea'S, we derive but small comfort under
this injury, from the knowledge that the dishonest
dullards aforesaid, cannot, by reason of their mental
smallness, follow near our heels, but are constrained
to creep along by dirty and little-frequented ways,
at a most respectful and humble distance behind.

Enfc T12lbereas,in like manner, as some other vermin
are not worth the killing for the sake of their car-
cases, so these kennel pirates are not worth the pow-
der and shot of the law, inasmuch as whatever dam-
ages they may commit, they are in no condition to
pay any.

This is to give Notice,

Firstly,

To PIRATES.

THAT we have at length devised a mode of
execution for them, so summary and terrible,
that if any gang or gangs thereof presume to
hoist but one shred of the colours of the good
ship Nickleby, we. will hang them on gibbets so
lofty and enduring, that their remains shall be
a monument of our just vengeance to all suc-
ceeding ages ; and it shall not lie in the power of
any Lord High Admiral, on earth, to cause
them to be taken down again.

Secondly,
To THE PUBLIC.

THAT in our new work, as in our preceding
one, it will be our aim to amuse, by producing a
rapid succession of characters and incidents, and
describing them as cheerfully and pleasantly as
in us lies; that we have wandered into fresh
fields and pastures new, to seek materials for the
purpose; and that, in behalf of Nicholas
Nickleby, we confidently hope to enlist both their



PREFACES



xin



heartiest merriment and their kindliest sympa-
thies.

Thirdly,

To THE POTENTATES OF PATERNOSTER Row.

THAT from the Thirtieth Day of March next,
until further notice, we shall hold our Levees, as
heretofore, on the last evening but one of every
month, between the hours of seven and nine, at
our Board of Trade, Number One Hundred
and Eighty-six in the Strand, London; where
we again request the attendance (in vast crowds)
of their accredited agents and ambassadors.
Gentlemen to wear knots upon their shoulders;
and patent cabs to draw up with their doors to-
wards the grand entrance, for the convenience
of loading.

GIVEN at the office of our Board of Trade
aforesaid, in the presence of our Secretaries,
EDWARD CHAPMAN and WILLIAM HALL,
on this Twenty-eighth day of February,
One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-
eight.

(Signed) BOZ.

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

IT has afforded the Author great amusement and
satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn
from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous
statements concerning himself in provincial newspa-
pers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster lays
claim to being the original of Mr. Squeers. One
worthy, he has reason to believe, has actually con-



xiv NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

suited authorities learned in the law, as to his having
good grounds on which to rest an action for libel ; an-
other has meditated a journey to London, for the
express purpose of committing an assault and battery
upon his traducer ; a third perfectly remembers being
waited on last January twelvemonth by two gentle-
men, one of whom held him in conversation while the
other took his likeness; and, although Mr. Squeers
has but one eye, and he has two, and the published
sketch does not resemble him (whoever he may be)
in any other respect, still he and all his friends and
neighbours know at once for whom it is meant, because
the character is so like him.

While the Author cannot but feel the full force of
the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures
to suggest that these contentions may arise from the
fact, that Mr. Squeers is the representative of a class,
and not of an individual. Where imposture, igno-
rance, and brutal cupidity, are the stock in trade of a
small body of men, and one is described by these
characteristics, all his fellows will recognise some-
thing belonging to themselves, and each will have a
misgiving that the portrait is his own.

To this general description, as to most others, there
may be some exceptions; and although the Author
neither saw nor heard of any in the course of an ex-
cursion which he made into Yorkshire, before he
commenced these adventures, or before or since, it
affords him much more pleasure to assume their ex-
istence than to doubt it. He has dwelt thus long
upon this point, because his object in calling public
attention to the system would be very imperfectly
fulfilled, if he did not state now in his own person,
emphatically and earnestly, that Mr. Squeers and his



PREFACES



xv



school are faint and feeble pictures of an existing
reality, purposely subdued and kept down lest they
should be deemed impossible that there are upon
record trials at law* in which damages have been
sought as a poor recompense for lasting agonies and
disfigurements inflicted upon children by the treat-
ment of the master in these places, involving such of-
fensive and foul details of neglect, cruelty, and dis-
ease, as no writer of fiction would have the boldness
to imagine and that, since he has been engaged upon
these Adventures, he has received from private quar-
ters far beyond the reach of suspicion or distrust,
accounts of atrocities, in the perpetration of which,
upon neglected or repudiated children, these schools
have been the main instruments, very far exceeding
any that appear in these pages.

To turn to a more pleasant subject, it may be
right to say, that there are two characters in this book
which are drawn from life. It is remarkable that
what we call the world, which is so very credulous in
what professes to be true, is most incredulous in what
professes to be imaginary; and that while every
day in real life it will allow in one man no blemishes,
and in another no virtues, it will seldom admit a very
strongly-marked character, either good or bad, in a
fictitious narrative, to be within the limits of proba-
bility. For this reason, they have been very slightly
and imperfectly sketched. Those who take an in-
terest in this tale will be glad to learn that the
BROTHERS CHEERYBLE live; that their liberal charity,
their singleness of heart, their noble nature, and their
unbounded benevolence, are no creations of the Au-
thor's brain; but are prompting every day (and often-
est by stealth) some munificent and generous deed in
that town of which they are the pride and honour.



XVI

It only now remains for the writer of these pas-
sages, with that feeling of regret with which we leave
almost any pursuit that has for a long time occupied
us and engaged our thoughts, and which is naturally
augmented in such a case as this, when that pursuit
has been surrounded by all that could animate and
cheer him on, it only now remains for him, before
abandoning his task, to bid his readers farewell.

'The author of a periodical performance/ says
Mackenzie, 'has indeed a claim to the attention and
regard of his readers, more interesting than that of
any other writer. Other writers submit their senti-
ments to their readers, with the reserve and circum-
spection of him who has had time to prepare for a
public appearance. He who has followed Horace's
rule, of keeping his book nine years in his study, must
have withdrawn many an idea which in the warmth of
composition he had conceived, and altered many an
expression which in the hurry of writing he had set
down. But the periodical essayist commits to his
readers the feelings of the day, in the language which
those feelings have prompted. As he has delivered
himself with the freedom of intimacy and the cor-
diality of friendship, he will naturally look for the
indulgence which those relations may claim; and when
he bids his readers adieu, will hope, as well as feel,
the regrets of an acquaintance, and the tenderness of a
friend.'

With such feelings and such hopes the periodical
essayist, the Author of these pages, now lays them be-
fore his readers in a completed form, flattering him-
self, like the writer just quoted, that on the first of
next month they may miss his company at the accus-
tomed time as something which used to be expected



PREFACES



xv n



with pleasure ; and think of the papers which on that
day of so many past months they have read, as the
correspondence of one who wished their happiness,
and contributed to their amusement.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST CHEAP EDITION

THIS story was begun within a few months after the
publication of the completed Pickwick Papers.
There were, then, a good many cheap Yorkshire
schools in existence. There are very few now.

Of the monstrous neglect of education in England,
and the disregard of it by the State as a means of
forming good or bad citizens, and miserable or happy
men, this class of schools long afforded a notable ex-
ample. Although any man who had proved his un-
fitness for any other occupation in life, was free,
without examination or qualification, to open a school
anywhere; although preparation for the functions he
undertook, was required in the surgeon who assisted
to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist,
perhaps, to send him out of it, in the chemist, the
attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick
maker, the whole round of crafts and trades, the
schoolmaster excepted; and although schoolmasters,
as a race, were the blockheads and impostors that
might naturally be expected to arise from such a state
of things, and to flourish in it ; these Yorkshire school-
masters were the lowest and most rotten round in the
whole ladder. Traders in the avarice, indifference,
or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of chil-
dren ; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few con-
siderate persons would have entrusted the board and
lodging of a horse or a dog; they formed the worthy
corner-stone of a structure, which, for absurdity and



xviii NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

a magnificent high-handed laissez-aller neglect, has
rarely been exceeded in the world.

We hear sometimes of an action for damages
against the unqualified medical practitioner, who has
deformed a broken limb in pretending to heal it.
But, what about the hundreds of thousands of minds
that have been deformed for ever by the incapable
pettifoggers who have pretended to form them!

I make mention of the race, as of the Yorkshire
schoolmasters, in the past tense. Though it has not
yet finally disappeared, it is dwindling daily. A long
day's work remains to be done about us in the way of
education, Heaven knows! but great improvements
and facilities towards the attainment of a good one,
have been furnished, of late years, to those who can
afford to pay for it.

I cannot call to mind, now, how I came to hear
about Yorkshire schools when I was a not very robust
child, sitting in bye-places, near Rochester Castle,
with a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and
Sancho Panza ; but I know that my first impressions
of them were picked up at that time, and that they
were, somehow or other, connected with a suppurated
abscess that some boy had come home with, in conse-
quence of his Yorkshire guide, philosopher, and
friend, having ripped it open with an inky pen-knife.
The impression made upon me, however made, never
left me. I was always curious about them fell, long
afterwards, and at sundry times, into the way of hear-
ing more about them at last, having an audience,
resolved to write about them.

With that intent I went down into Yorkshire be-
fore I began this book, in very severe winter-time
which is pretty faithfully described herein. As I
wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was fore-
warned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty,



PREFACES



xix



be shy of receiving a visit from the author of the
Pickwick Papers, I consulted with a professional
friend here, who had a Yorkshire connection, and with
whom I concerted a pious fraud. He gave me some
letters of introduction, in the name, I think, of my
travelling companion; they bore reference to a sup-
posititious little boy who had been left with a widowed
mother who didn't know what to do with him ; the poor
lady had thought, as a means of thawing the tardy
compassion of her relations in his behalf, of sending
him to a Yorkshire school; I was the poor lady's
friend, travelling that way ; and if the recipient of the
letter could inform me of a school in his neighbour-
hood, the writer would be very much obliged.

I went to several places in that part of the country
where I understood these schools to be most plenti-
fully sprinkled, and had no occasion to deliver a letter
until I came to a certain town which shall be name-
less. The person to whom it was addressed, was not
at home; but he came down at night, through the
snow, to the inn where I was staying. It was after
dinner; and he needed little persuasion to sit down
by the fire in a warm corner, and take his share of the
wine that was on the table.

I am afraid he is dead now. I recollect he was a
jovial, ruddy, broadfaced man; that we got ac-
quainted directly; and that we talked on all kinds of
subjects, except the school, which he showed a great
anxiety to avoid. 'Was there any large school near?'
I asked him, in reference to the letter. 'Oh, yes,' he
said; 'there was a pratty big 'un.' 'Was it a good
one?' I asked. 'Ey!' he said, 'it was as good as
anoother; that was a' a matther of opinion'; and fell
to looking at the fire, staring round the room, and
whistling a little. On my reverting to some other
topic that we had been discussing, he recovered im-



xx NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

mediately; but, though I tried him again and again,
I never approached the question of the school, even
if he were in the middle of a laugh, without observing
that his countenance fell, and that -he became uncom-
fortable. At last, when we had passed a couple of
hours or so, very agreeably, he suddenly took up his
hat, and leaning over the table and looking me full in
the face, said, in a low voice: 'Weel, Misther, we 've
been vary pleasant toogather, and ar '11 spak' my
moind tiv'ee. Dinnot let the weedur send her lattle
boy to yan o' our schoolmeasthers, while there 's a
harse to hoold in a' Lunnun, or a gootther to lie asleep
in. Ar wouldn't mak' ill words amang my neeburs,
and ar speak tiv'ee quiet loike. But I 'm dom'd if
ar can gang to bed and not tell'ee, for weedur's sak',
to keep the lattle boy from a' sike scoondrels while
there 's a harse to hoold in a' Lunnun, or a gootther to
lie asleep in I' Repeating these words with great
heartiness, and with a solemnity, on his jolly face that
made it look twice as large as before, he shook hands
and went away. I never saw him afterwards, but I
sometimes imagine that I descry a faint reflection of
him in John Browdie.

In reference to these gentry, I may here quote a
few words from the original preface to this book.

'It has afforded the Author great amusement and
satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn,
from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous
statements concerning himself in provincial news-
papers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster
lays claim to being the original Mr. Squeers. One
worthy, he has reason to believe, has actually con-
sulted authorities learned in the law, as to his having
good grounds on which to rest an action for libel;
another, has meditated a journey to London, for the
express purpose of committing an assault and battery



PREFACES



xxi



on his traducer; a third, perfectly remembers being
waited on, last January twelvemonth, by two gentle-
men, one of whom held him in conversation while the
other took his likeness; and, although Mr. Squeers
has but one eye, and he has two, and the published
sketch does not resemble him (whoever he may be)
in any other respect, still he and all his friends and
neighbours know at once for whom it is meant, be-
cause the character is so like him.

'While the Author cannot but feel the full force of
the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures
to suggest that these contentions may arise from the
fact, that Mr. Squeers is the representative of a class,
and not of an individual. Where imposture, igno-
rance, and brutal cupidity, are the stock in trade of a
small body of men, and one is described by these char-
acteristics, all his fellows will recognise something
belonging to themselves, and each will have a mis-
giving that the portrait is his own.

'The Author's object in calling public attention to
the system would be very imperfectly fulfilled, if he
did not state now, in his own person, emphatically
and earnestly, that Mr. Squeers and his school are
faint and feeble pictures of an existing reality, pur-
posely subdued and kept down lest they should be
deemed impossible that there are, upon record, trials
at law in which damages have been sought as a poor
recompense for lasting agonies and disfigurements
inflicted upon children by the treatment of the mas-
ter in these places, involving such offensive and foul
details of neglect, cruelty, and disease, as no writer of
fiction would have the boldness to imagine and that,
since he has been engaged upon these Adventures,
he has received, from private quarters far beyond the
reach of suspicion or distrust, accounts of atrocities,
in the perpetration of which, upon neglected or re-



xxii NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

pudiated children, these schools have been the main
instruments, very far exceeding any that appear in
these pages.'

This comprises all I need say on the subject; ex-
cept that if I had seen occasion, I had resolved to re-
print a few of these details of legal proceedings, from
certain old newspapers.

One other quotation from the same Preface, may
serve to introduce a fact that my readers may think
curious.

'To turn to a more pleasant subject, it may be right
to say, that there are two characters in this book which
are drawn from life. It is remarkable that what we
call the world, which is so very credulous in what pro-
fesses to be true, is most incredulous in what pro-
fesses to be imaginary; and that, while, every day in
real life, it will allow in one man no blemishes, and in
another no virtues, it will seldom admit a very
strongly-marked character, either good or bad, in a
fictitious narrative, to be within the limits of proba-
bility. But those who take an interest in this tale,
will be glad to learn that the Brothers Cheeryble live ;
that their liberal charity, their singleness of heart,
their noble nature, and their unbounded benevolence,
are no creations of the Author's brain; but are
prompting every day (and oftenest by stealth) some
munificent and generous deed in that town of which
they are the pride and honour.'

If I were to attempt to sum up the hundreds upon
hundreds of letters, from all sorts of people in all sorts
of latitudes and climates, to which this unlucky para-
graph has since given rise, I should get into an arith-
metical difficulty from which I could not easily extri-
cate myself. Suffice it to say, that I believe the appli-
cations for loans, gifts, and offices of profit that I have
been requested to forward to the originals of the



PREFACES



xxm



Brothers Cheeryble (with whom I never interchanged
any communication in my life) , would have exhausted
the combined patronage of all the Lord Chancellors
since the accession of the House of Brunswick, and
would have broken the rest of the Bank of England,
There is only one other point, on which I would
desire to offer a remark. If Nicholas be not always
found to be blameless or agreeable, he is not always
intended to appear so. He is a young man of an im-
petuous temper and of little or no experience; and I
saw no reason why such a hero should be lifted out of
nature.

DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, May, 1848.



CONTENTS

CHAP.

PAGE

I. Introduces all the rest ... i

n. Of .Air. Ralph Nickleby, and his Estab-
lishment, and his Undertakings. And
of a Great Joint Stock Company of
Vast National Importance ... 8

in. Mr. Ralph Nickleby receives sad Tid-
ings of his Brother, but bears up nobly
against the Intelligence communicated
to him. The Reader is informed how
he liked Nicholas, who is herein intro-
duced, and how kindly he proposed to
make his Fortune at once .... 24

iv. Nicholas and his Uncle (to secure the
Fortune without loss of time) wait
upon Mr. Wackford Squeers, the
Yorkshire Schoolmaster .... 39

v. Nicholas starts for Yorkshire. Of his
Leave-Taking and his Fellow-Trav-
ellers, and what befel them on the
Road 56

vi. In which the Occurrence of the Accident
mentioned in the last Chapter, affords
an Opportunity to a Couple of Gentle-
men to tell Stories against each other 70

XXV



xxvi NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

CHAP. PAGE

vii. Mr. and Mrs. Squeers at Home . . . 101

YIII. Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys

Hall 112

ix. Of Miss Squeers, Mrs. Squeers, Master
Squeers, and Mr. Squeers ; and of Va-
rious Matters and Persons connected
no less with the Squeerses than with

Nicholas Nickleby 129

x. How Mr. Ralph Nickleby provided for

his Niece and Sister-in-Law . . .151
xi. Newman Noggs inducts Mrs. and Miss
Nickleby into their New Dwelling in
the City 170

xii. Whereby the Reader will be enabled to
trace the further course of Miss Fanny
Squeers's Love, and to ascertain
whether it ran smooth or otherwise . 177

xin. Nicholas varies the Monotony of Dothe-
boys Hall by a most vigorous and re-
markable Proceeding, which leads to
Consequences of some Importance . 192

xrv. Having the Misfortune to treat of none
but Common People, is necessarily of
a Mean and Vulgar Character . .211
xv. Acquaints the Reader with the Cause
and Origin of the Interruption de-
scribed in the last Chapter, and with
some other Matters necessary to be
known 228



CONTENTS xxvii

CHAP. PACE

xvi. Nicholas seeks to employ himself in a
new Capacity, and being unsuccessful,
accepts an Engagement as Tutor in a
Private Family 246

xvn. Follows the Fortunes of Miss Nickleby 273
xvin. Miss Knag, after doting on Kate Nickle-
by for three whole Days, makes up
her Mind to hate her for evermore.
The Causes which lead Miss Knag to
form this Resolution 286

xix. Descriptive of a Dinner at Mr. Ralph
Nickleby's, and of the Manner in
which the Company entertained them-
selves, before Dinner, at Dinner, and
after Dinner 305

xx. Wherein Nicholas at length encounters
his Uncle, to whom he expresses his
Sentiments with much Candour.
His Resolution 327

xxi. Madame Mantalini finds herself in a Sit-
uation of some Difficulty, and Miss
Nickleby finds herself in no Situation
atall 343

xxn. Nicholas, accompanied by Smike, sallies
forth to seek his Fortune. He en-
counters Mr. Vincent Crummies; and
who he was, is herein made manifest . 360



xxviii NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

CHAP. PAGE

xxni. Treats of the Company of Mr. Vincent
Crummies, and of his Affairs, Domes-
tic and Theatrical 38 J

xxiv. Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevel-



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