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Summary Chapter 19


Miss Knag and the other women make Kate’s life miserable, particularly when she is called to model. Her pitiful salary is earned with much hardship.

When she leaves work, she finds her mother talking to her uncle. He invites Kate to dine with him tomorrow. Mrs. Nickleby, while deciding what Kate should wear, laments on the jewels she had to give up. She wishes her husband had taken her advice to make arrangements with the creditors.

Ralph wants Kate to entertain at a party for some business associates. Kate agrees to help, though she isn’t certain she’ll be good at it.

Mrs. Nickleby thinks her brother-in-law fancies Kate. She expects this will improve their fortunes. Being introduced to other wealthy gentlemen might help Kate get a good marriage.

The next evening, Kate goes to her uncle’s home. She is amazed at all the well-dressed servants and the finery. She is uncomfortable to find herself to be the only female at the party. To make things worse, the other gentlemen are coarse and rough. They regard her uncle with contempt.

Kate is repulsed and offended by the men. Frederick Verisopht and Mulberry Hawk fight over her. Pyke and Pluck are toadies of Hawk’s. Mulberry Hawk is known for ruining wealthy men.

Kate is trying to be invisible. The men make a bet whether she will look Mulberry in the face and say she was not thinking about why the men weren’t wooing her. She flees the room in embarrassment and cries. Mulberry, having won the bet, drinks to her health and spirit. A servant tells Kate her uncle would like to see her before she leaves. She remains upstairs and reads, unwilling to face the gentlemen.

Getting caught up in the book, she doesn’t notice Mulberry Hawk enter the room. He grabs her arm, saying he wants to talk to her. She pushes him back. As Ralph enters, she indignantly tells him that as her uncle, he is supposed to protect her from insults such as these.

Ralph shows Mulberry the door after getting Kate to sit down. Mulberry realizes that Ralph wanted the lord, and Mulberry had gotten in the way of that scheme. He realizes that Kate was invited to lure the lord. Ralph admits this is true, but he knew the lord would not be so aggressive in his advances and upset his niece.

Ralph feels bad about what has happened, since Kate has tried to please him. She asks why he did this to her. He tells her he didn’t consider the possibility that something like this would happen.

Kate tells him she wants to leave. He helps her compose herself. As he puts her in the coach, he is startled by her face—which reminds him of his dead brother.  

Charles Dickens