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Summary Chapter 2

 

Though Ralph Nickleby doesn’t belong to a recognized profession, he does very well for himself. He lives in a neighborhood that is inhabited by bachelors and foreigners. It is a noisy place, full of music. None of his neighbors know what he does, only that he is very rich.

Ralph plans to go to a meeting at Parliament. He tells his clerk that he is expecting a letter. He orders Noggs to bring the letters to him if they come.

Ralph is paid a visit by Mr. Bonney, who seems very excited about the meeting they are about to attend. Mr. Bonney compliments Ralph Nickleby on his extraordinary clerk. Ralph tells him that Noggs was another person who was ruined by investing. He started drinking. He came to Ralph for a loan. Ralph wouldn’t give him the loan, but out of loyalty for their past business relationship, he had hired him as a clerk. The man is a little crazy, but he is useful. Nogg’s silent tongue is desirable in a trade where you don’t want your business discussed. He is also paid less than the usual wages given to a thirteen year old boy.

The Parliament meeting is on whether a petition for a business called the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company should be granted. The company promises to make good profits, but it wants to set up shop in a district that already has a muffin business.

Mr. Bonney discredits the current muffin business. The muffins sellers were debauched drunks. Their prices were too high for the poor to be able to afford their muffins, which leads to the poor seeking other vices (like alcohol) to quench their hunger. The muffin boys were mistreated. That is why Sir Matthew Pupker had created this bill, which will discourage private selling of muffins and allow the government to supply the people quality muffins at reduced prices. Another member even proposes that it should be made mandatory for citizens to buy the muffins.

The Parliament agrees in favor of the bill. 

Charles Dickens