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Summary Chapter 11


Kate has many doubts about her uncle and her new position, which makes her downhearted. Her mother tries to cheer her by mentioning cases she has heard of where a milliner started with nothing, became prosperous, and contracted a successful marriage. Miss La Creevy expresses her doubts, but Mrs. Nickleby finds optimistic rebuttals.

Miss La Creevy mentions she painted some milliners once, and it was an unhealthy occupation that left workers pale and sickly. Mrs. Nickleby counters that a girl she hired to make her a cloak had a face full of color. The landlady retorts she probably was a drunk. Miss La Creevy tells Kate she will keep her in her prayers and come visit her.

Newman Noggs comes on Saturday. He tells them that Nicholas sends his love. Mrs. Nickleby wants to hire a coach. Kate asks Noggs if she saw him the day that Nicholas left, but he denies it.

They arrive at a dilapidated mansion near a busy wharf. Kate finds it a depressing house. It looks like the sort of house a violent crime had occurred in. Mrs. Nickleby chides Kate on her morbid fancies. She asks why Kate hadn’t thought of this earlier. She remarks on how much Kate is like her father. Unless Mrs. Nickleby had the foresight to think of something, Mr. Nickleby never thought about it.

The house is liveable though sparse. It contains only the necessary furniture. Mrs. Nickleby puts on a satisfied front, remarking how kind it was of her brother-in-law to furnish the home. Newman Noggs snickers at this thought, for Ralph Nickleby had done no such thing. It had been Noggs who had gotten the few bits of furniture and food.

Kate tells Noggs that he can leave. Mrs. Nickleby offers him a drink, but Kate—seeing his expression—says that would hurt his feelings. He bows and exits. Kate is tempted to ask him back, for she finds the house fearfully oppressive. 

Charles Dickens