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Summary Chapter 25


The new play is a hit and its showings are extended. The theater is open an extra day a week to accommodate the popularity. Nicholas earns thirty shillings, enjoys fame, and receives an autographed pamphlet from Mr. Curdle. Mr. Curdle becomes his friend.

Mr. Crummles tells him a new actress from the Theater Royal is joining them. It turns out to be a woman Nicholas met at the Kenwigs’ party, a Miss Petowker. Mr. Crummles says the woman is extremely talented. She is to come that day. She is an old friend of Mrs. Crummles, who was the young woman’s mentor.

Mr. Crummles goes on to boast about his wife, who comes from an acting family. Her many talents continue to amaze him, and she surprises him often by revealing a talent he didn’t know she had.

The Crummles receive a letter from Miss Petowker and burst out laughing. Nicholas puzzles over this reaction. Miss Petowker greets Nicholas warmly when she comes that night, acting as if he is an old friend rather than an acquaintance. The two act together in a short piece. Nicholas notices that she keeps her eye on a particular box during the act.

That same night, Nicholas and Smike sit down to dinner when they are visited by Mr. Lillyvick. He had arrived that morning, and it was his box that Miss Petowker had kept eyeing. He is a great admirer of Miss Petowker.

Mr. Lillyvick finds being a bachelor miserable. His family wishes to see him dead so they can have his money. He reveals to Nicholas that he is going to marry Miss Petowker the day after tomorrow. They are going to keep it a secret from his family, who would be jealous. Miss Petowker’s arrival was a pretence to arrange their wedding.

Mr. Lillyvick is revealing this to Nicholas because he knows that Nicholas is in contact with Newman Noggs. He wants Nicholas to keep their secret. Nicholas promises, and Mr. Lillyvick invites him to the breakfast after the wedding.

Miss Petwoker is staying with Miss Snevellicci. Miss Snevellicci, Miss Ledrook, Miss Crummles, and Miss Bravassa are going to the be the bridesmaids. When Miss Petowker awakes the morning of her wedding, she acts like she has “cold feet.” Her friends know that this is an act, but they play along—preaching to her about consistency. She regrets that her marriage may cause partings with friends and family. She drinks plenty of brandy to strengthen her nerve.

Everyone is stunningly and theatrically dressed for the wedding. The Crummles are the honorary parents who give the bride away.

Mr. Lillyvick gets offended at the breakfast when Mr. Folair comments that it doesn’t take long to get married, just as it doesn’t take long to hang oneself. Mr. Folair is upset that this joke is taken as an insult. He apologizes, but he spends the rest of the time holding a grudging contempt towards the groom. Everyone makes speeches. Miss Crummles accompanies the couple on their honeymoon.

Nicholas leaves the party early to study the part of Romeo. Smike is trying to learn his part as the Apothecary without much success. He asks Nicholas to repeat his lines. He learns better this way. Nicholas gives him pointers on body language that communicates ideas to the audience.

Both have success in their roles. 

Charles Dickens