Mr. Crummles decides to use Nicholas as much as possible before he departs. He plans to announce Nicholas’ last appearance. If Nicholas doesn’t leave, then they can say his appearance was extended at the urging of influential parties. Either way, both will draw audiences. He hopes to get three more appearances out of Nicholas.
Miss Snevellicci is touched by how kind Nicholas is to Mr. Digby (the stage name of Smike). Nicholas says he deserves all the kindness shown to him. Mr. Folair comments on how Mr. Digby is close-lipped about his past. Everybody is trying to figure out how two unlikely people like Mr. Johnson and Mr. Digby wound up together. Mr. Lenville believes that they have ran away from somewhere. He claims that Digby matches the description of a pickpocket that used to work around the coach stand.
Mr. and Mrs. Lillyvick are livng with Miss Snevelliccci. Miss Snevellicci’s parents are also living with her. The actress asks Nicholas to pay a visit before he leaves.
Miss Snevellicci’s father has been an actor. Mr. Lillyvick is happy in his marriage.
Mr. Snevellicci is a bit of a drinker. When he discovers his daughter is upset because a man she likes is leaving, he wants to beat up the man for trifling with the affections of his daughter. He forgets he is angry with another glass.
However, he flirts with Mrs. Lillyvick, angering Mr. Lillyvick into pouncing on him. Nicholas separates the two men. Mrs. Lillyvick is angry with her husband. The other ladies support her. Winking and blowing kisses at a married woman, in their book, is not inappropriate behavior. A disheartened Mr. Lillyvick apologizes, and everybody starts to feel sorry for him.
Mr. Snevellicci becomes boisterous after this, his ego boosted by his popularity with the women. Mrs. Snevellicci finds his stories about all the women who have loved him and that he has loved, and had considered loving, painful. However, she focuses on promoting her daughter to Nicholas with Miss Ledrook’s help. Nicholas, wary of women since the incident with Miss Squeers, purposely acts obtuse—much to their frustration.
The posters announcing Nicholas’ last appearance are put out. The theater company is placed in unusual excitement when they learn that a London manager is in the audience. Mr. Crummles believes that the man must be here to recruit his daughter. He is already forming the terms in his head. The man must agree to take the whole family for the disgustingly cheap sum of thirty pounds per week.
Everyone performs for the benefit of this one person. The manager winds up falling asleep during the performance, and everyone blames the comedic actor for it. Everybody winds up in an ill humor when the man leaves early.
Nicholas receives a letter the next day from Noggs to return to London at once. He quickly intrudes on the Crummles, who are still in bed, and explains he must leave. Mr. Crummles tries to detain him without much success. He laments on the rashness of young people.
Smike has everything ready when Nicholas returns. They quickly get some breakfast and buy an overly large coat for Smike. Mr. Crummles meets him at the coach office, putting on a flamboyant public display. Nichoalas is annoyed but puts on a cheerful face. Nicholas and Smike finally disengage themselves and leave.