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Summary Chapter 31


Ralph is going over the interview he had with his niece, though he tries to dismiss it from his thoughts and concentrate on his work. He then decides to give it his attention so that he can rid himself of the distraction.

Ralph admits he likes Kate, though she is too proud and skittish. He wishes the mother and brother were dead so he could have her in his home. He pictures her living with him. He suddenly feels very lonely, and his riches lose their luster.

He notices that Noggs is staring at him through the window. Ralph successfully dispels his thoughts and returns to his work. He summons Noggs. Ralph accuses him of spying on him, and warns him not to do it again. Noggs denies it. Ralph gives him a package to deliver.

After completing his errand, Noggs visits Miss La Creevy. She has just returned from a visit to her brother John, whom she hasn’t seen in fifteen years. The brother had drifted away with his job and family. He recently sought her out and invited her to visit his family for a month.

She hasn’t seen Kate, but she had paid a visit to Mrs. Nickleby when she returned. The woman had acted superior and evasive. Miss La Creevy had wanted to visit Kate, but she didn’t think her new employers would approve. She was going to write her instead.

Noggs tells her he wants to assault Ralph Nickleby. He depends on him for his employment, but he suspects one day he’ll succumb to the desire. Miss La Creevy is frightened when he starts punching the air again.

Noggs tells Miss La Creevy about how Ralph used Kate as bait, and now she is being tormented and insulted by a bunch of scoundrels. He tells her he has written to Nicholas. Miss La Creevy, though, fears that Nicholas will commit some violence against his uncle and these men. Though she agrees that Kate needs to be removed from the situation, she believes they have to be cautious with how they tell Nicholas.

She advises Noggs to tell Nicholas late at night, when he’ll have time to cool his head. Since Nicholas will arrive early, Noggs should avoid him. Since Nicholas is likely to come to her next and then go to his mother, she will also make herself unavailable. She will take Mrs. Nickleby to the theater. Therefore, Nicholas will have no way of finding out what has happened or Kate’s address. 

Charles Dickens