Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 38


Kate enjoys the tranquility of her new life, particularly after suffering for a while. Her happy personality of old is restored, and she becomes more beautiful.

Miss La Creevy remarks on the changes she has witnessed in the family. However, while it has been beneficial to everyone else, she has noticed that Smike is more troubled. She believes that he realizes how deficient he is mentally, and this causes him more pain. He isn’t as light-hearted as he used to be, though he is still devoted. Miss La Creevy has Smike escort her back to her home, where she offers him some food and gets him into a better humor.

Mulberry Hawk, meanwhile, is laid up from the injuries he received. Lord Verisopht faithfully attends to him. Mr. Pyke and Mr. Pluck are not sympathetic and annoy him by drinking constantly.

Ralph Nickleby visits, expressing his concern for Mr. Hawk. He bribes the servant to persuade Mulberry Hawk to see him. The invalid has had no desire to see anyone, but he relents.

Ralph tells Hawk that he is sorry that Nicholas inflicted such a heavy punishment on him, but he has disinherited his nephew. He wanted Mulberry Hawk to know that he can freely pursue Nicholas without Ralph interfering on his nephew’s behalf. He himself wishes that Nicholas was dead.

Ralph then goes on to tell Mulberry that everyone has heard about this incident. There was even a song composed about it. Mulberry vows to have his revenge. He plans to also extend it to Kate Nickleby.

Ralph tells Mulberry that Nicholas is seeking him out even now. When Lord Verisopht overhears Hawk’s renewed declaration to revenge himself, he tells Hawk that he will not permit a cowardly attack on Nicholas. He blames himself as much as Mulberry Hawk for not taking a stand before, which resulted in Hawk’s injuries. He tells Hawk that he should have given his name and address. Besides, his conduct toward Miss Nickleby was wrong, and he brought this upon himself. Lord Verisopht believes that Kate is a virtuous girl, and any brother would have defended her the way Nicholas did.

After leaving Miss La Creevy’s, Smike walks home. He is assaulted by Wackford Squeers, Jr. Mr. Squeers seizes him and throws him into a carriage. He beats Smike.

They go to Mr. Snawley’s home, where the Squeers have been staying. Mr. Squeers tells the Snawleys that he raised Smike like his own son, and Smike showed his gratitude by running away.

Squeers asks Smike if he is living with Nicholas, but Smike refuses to answer. Mr. Squeers locks him in a room. 

Charles Dickens