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E-PUB â Nicholas Nickleby ô I may grow rich repeated Nicholas, with a mournful smile, ay, and I may grow old But rich or poor, or old or young, we shall ever be the same to each other, and in that our comfort lies The work of a young novelist at the height of his powers, Nicholas Nickleby is one of the touchstones of the English comic novel Around the central story of Nicholas Nickleby and the misfortunes of his family, Dickens created some of his most wonderful characters the muddle headed Mrs Nickleby, the gloriously theatrical Crummles, their protege Miss Petowker, the pretentious Mantalinis and the mindlessly cruel Squeers and his wife Nicholas Nickleby s loose, haphazard progress harks back to the picaresque novels of the th century particularly those of Smollett and Fielding Yet the novel s exuberant atmosphere of romance, adventure and freedom is overshadowed by Dickens awareness of social ills and financial and class insecurity 2nd readingI wouldn t have chosen this Dickens to reread but for recently joining a local group The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans The reread was certainly worth it and not only for the convivial fellowship of the monthly meetings How can you go wrong with cheese and cakes being offered, and tea and sometimes wine being poured Sure, there were the somewhat annoying coincidences, melodrama, blushing love interests and meaningless side plots and I don t mean at the meetings , all true t 2nd readingI wouldn t have chosen this Dickens to reread but for recently joining a local group The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans The reread was certainly worth it and not only for the convivial fellowship of the monthly meetings How can you go wrong with cheese and cakes being offered, and tea and sometimes wine being poured Sure, there were the somewhat annoying coincidences, melodrama, blushing love interests and meaningless side plots and I don t mean at the meetings , all true to the picaresque indicated by the novel s name, a style characteristic of Dickens first few novels, as he took for inspiration one of his favorite authors he even named one of his sons Henry Fielding My own almost meaningless side note I came across a reference to Morleena Kenwigs braids in Louisa May Alcott s Moods which I read during this time of rereading But if not for the reread, I wouldn t have again enjoyed the characters of Newman Noggs my favorite of the multitude , the gentleman in small clothes his two scenes so funny that I remembered them from my first read and Mrs Nickleby Yes, even Mrs Nickleby, who certainly haspersonality than her two children She s obtuse, self centered and muddleheaded but she can be sarcastic in the way of a mother whose children are always telling her how wrong she is To this, Mrs Nickleby only replied that she durst say she was very stupid, indeed she had no doubt she was, for her own children almost as much as told her so, every day of her life to be sure she was a little older than they, and perhaps some foolish people might think she ought reasonably to know best However, no doubt she was wrong of course she was she always was, she couldn t be right, she couldn t be expected to be so she had better not expose herself anyand to all Kate s conciliations and concessions for an hour ensuing, the good lady gave no other replies than Oh, certainly, why did they ask her , Her opinion was of no consequence, it didn t matter what she said If for nothing else, the novel is memorable for its being instrumental in the demise of the actual Yorkshire boarding schools the last scene set in the fictional Dotheboys Hall, seemingly comic, depicts how inhumane treatment leads toof the same What power for a novel and its author who, at the time of its writing, was only twenty five years old Peter Ackroyd, in his ground breaking biography of Charles Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby isperhaps the funniest novel in the English language The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful,The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family.It was published, as his previous novels had been, in monthly installments, between 1838 and 1839, and the la Peter Ackroyd, in his ground breaking biography of Charles Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby isperhaps the funniest novel in the English language The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful,The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family.It was published, as his previous novels had been, in monthly installments, between 1838 and 1839, and the last part was again a double issue Whilst Dickens was writing this he was between 26 and 27 years of age, and also putting the final touches to his enormously successfulOliver TwistSome of the plot elements, and Dickens s social criticisms, are very much in the vein ofOliver Twist Yet in many ways the novel issimilar to his first installment novel,The Pickwick PapersIt has a comic rather than a tragic feel, and is certainlylightweight and humorous thanOliver TwistIt could be classed as ironic social satire, pointing up social injustices, while full of Dickens s taste for absurdity.The picaresque style ofThe Pickwick Papersrecalls very much the earlier 18th century fashion for vignettes, such as those written by Henry Fielding Although Nicholas Nickleby is held together by a continuing saga, it is still very episodic subject to shifts in focus, and with such a wealth of characters and subplots that the main thrust of the novel occasionally seems to be lost However, this episodic feel was still a very popular style of the time When it was published the book was an immediate success, further establishing Dickens s reputation Indeed, an engraving of one of the most famous portraits of Dickens, is used as the frontispiece, and is calledthe Nickleby PortraitCharles Dickens sat for this portrait in June 1839, partway through the serialisation of the novel It was by the artist Daniel Maclise, and had been commissioned by Dickens s publishers, Chapman and Hall Nicholas Nickleby is typical of many early English novels, being focused on one person s life, and as such isof a fictional biography than being especially plot driven Unlike his preceding novel,Oliver Twist , the title character of this is already a young man with family responsibilities at the start of the novel His future is very uncertain, due to the death of his father, who had made some poor investments The readers sees that the major conflict in this novel is going to be the struggle of a small family to make their way in the world after suffering a tragic loss To some extent, this is autobiographical The Nickleby family are genteel but impoverished Dickens s own personal struggles and experiences as a young man were similar, since his father had also forfeited his gentility because of financial incompetence In Nicholas Nickleby we are introduced to the protagonist s uncle, Ralph Nickleby, very near the beginning As soon as Ralph comes on the scene we realise this will add spice to the situation For what a miserable old skinflint he is,there was something in his very wrinkles, and in his cold restless eye, which seemed to tell of cunning that would announce itself in spite of him Ralph takes against Nicholas right from the start, apparently purely based on envy, because Nicholas is young, bright and open At this point we realise he is destined to be Nicholas s antagonist And the warning bells begin to ring when we are told that Ralph Nickleby is unscrupulous in his financial dealings, because Nicholas has turned to his uncle for assistance, hoping for support for his mother and sister after the death of his father Very quickly then, we identify Ralph as the villain of the piece And Dickens gives full rein to his talent for inventing over the top characters, who stay in the mind far longer than the details of the story itself Who can forget the grotesque headmaster Wackford Squeers, with his,one eye when the popular prejudice is in favour of two Or Mrs Nickleby with her rapid barrage of discursions which would put Mrs Bennet of Austen sPride and Prejudiceto shame Or the kindly, generous benefactors, the Cheeryble brothers, Charles and Ned, who have built a thriving business on treating others with respect and compassion They address each other asmy dear fellowand not only look and act alike but also dress alike and wear white hats As well as the main characters there are a myriad of minor eccentric characters in this novel, all of whom are a delight Blink and you may miss them The Crummles s family of actors, with their daughter Ninette, the starryInfant Phenomenon , who at the age of ten had,been precisely the same age not perhaps to the full extent of the memory of the oldest inhabitant, but certainly for five good years But she had been kept up late every night, and put upon an unlimited allowance of gin and water from infancy, to prevent her growing tall, and perhaps this system of training had produced in the infant phenomenon these additional phenomena The other actors, unsurprisingly, were none too keen on her privileged position The leading man Mr Folair termed her theInfernal PhenomenonThen there is Mrs Mantalini, the astute business woman who owns a dressmaking and millinery shop, for whom Nicholas s sister Kate is sent to work as a seamstress, and her husband, a foppish fellow with extravagent tastes, given to histrionics and repeated attempts to kill himself There is the fun loving but ultimately self seeking Kenwigs family, the revolting, lusting, scheming old man Arthur Gride, denounced as a wretch and a villain, and the dastardly nobleman whom we all want to boo, Sir Mulberry Hawk The names too are typical Dickens whimsy, chosen with an eye to amuse and appealDotheboys Hall, the vile school where the boys were well and truly done to , with Wackford Squeers as its headmaster, overkeen on whacking his pupils Miss Knag the spiteful forewoman of the dressmakers and milliners There is Lord Frederick Verisoft soft of brainweak and silly , his friend the Honourable Mr Snobb, and Sir Mulberry Hawkthe most knowing card in the packwho treats everyone, including his friends , as his prey The Cheeryble brothers now who can read their name without smiling Mrs Wititterly who seems to witter a lot and hasan air of sweet insipidityThere is such a superfluity of names, some in characters who shine brightly for a paragraph or two, and then disappear without trace There is Mr Crowl, whoutters a low querulous growl , and perhaps the best of the lot, Sir Tumley Snuffim, who is perhaps not such a good doctor if his patients snuff it All the episodes with these larger than life characters seem tailor made for the stage Many of the speeches seem to cry out for an actor s ringing declamation on stage in a 19th century melodrama Nicholas s way of talking is very stilted, and sadly, this stiff formal kind of language sometimes does alienate the modern reader, such as this, a simple acquiescence,It s not in my nature to resist any entreaty, unless it is to do something positively wrong and, beyond a feeling of pride, I know nothing which should prevent my doing this I know nobody here, and nobody knows me So be it then I yield Dickens does indulge his love of all things theatrical in this novel, with a large part of the action being devoted to scenes in Portsmouth, where Nickleby akaMr Johnsonboth writes and performs in the acting troupes, much as Dickens himself did Perhaps this was deliberately so, because he dedicates it to his friend, the distinguished actor and theatre director William Macready You can see Dickens s love of the theatre in almost every scene here But this makes the tragic scenes so muchpowerful, because of the contrasting comic scenes And who, out of the general reading population of the time, would really have stayed with a piece of tragic literature about their contemporaries including the poorest of them all had it not been made so hugely entertaining It s a real rarity for the time, for an author to focus on the lives of such poor people Noggs and Smike are fully developed characters, but few of Dickens s contemporaries Thackeray for instance would bother with them Dickens is quite deliberately appealing to the common people He has the common touch and Trollope s disparaging nickname for him ofMr Popular Sentimentis perhaps not given without a certain amount of malicious envy The characters here are very much larger than life characters, but the main characters we are following aresensitively drawn Madeline Bray is an heroic, brave character, beautiful and self sacrificing, going through agonies of mind as she stays loyal to her father depite his despicable deeds The reader is positively willing for her to have a good end The character of Smike, the ex Dotheboys Hall boy, is portrayed in such an affecting way, without resort to sentiment, that Dickens manages to tug at our heart strings whenever he comes into the action Then there are those others such as Newman Noggs, whom we know has fallen into the service and clutches of Ralph Nickleby through his own weakness for drink Yet throughout we are willing him to somehow escape, recognising that here is a man of worth and principle He is virtually a guardian angel to Nicholas, because of his benevolence and integrity Dickens makes it abundantly clear to his readers just who are the goodies, and who are the baddies This is at root an entertainment of a novel, although one very much designed to expose a scandal of the time.For just asOliver Twistwas intended to alert the largest possible audience to the scandal of the workhouses in the light of the recent changes to the Poor Law, Nicholas Nickleby was deliberately written to expose the ugly truth about Yorkshire boarding schools In the preface to the novel Dickens calls Yorkshire schoolmasters,Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dogThen in his second preface, to the 1848 Cheap Edition, he notes that such schools as Dotheboys were common in Yorkshire at the time of writing but had begun to disappear,This story was begun, within a few months after the publication of the completed Pickwick Papers There were, then, a good many cheap Yorkshire schools in existence There are very few now Such then was the power of a Dickens novel to influence popular opinion When a great author of such stature and persuasive ability aimed his satirical voice at one social problem after another, both society and Parliament itself rapidly moved to change things His fiction influenced both public perception and social reform, and this is one of the reasons he is truly a great author We know that prior to Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens had seen advertisements in the London papers for cheap boarding schools in Yorkshire It was stressed that there wereno holidaysfrom these schools Dickens s antennae must have gone up, as he knew they were a convenient place to dispose of unwanted or illegitimate children During the writing ofOliver TwistDickens and his friend, Hablot Browne who was to illustrate the book had travelled in secret to Yorkshire to investigate these schools in January 1838 There they met William Shaw, the headmaster of Bowes Academy The neglect and maltreatment at this notorious school was responsible for the blindness of several boys, and some actually died as a consequence There is no doubt that Dickens intended the headmaster Wackford Squeers to be a portrayal of William Shaw, and that Dotheboys Hall was Bowes Academy It became so infamous that Bowes Academy , eventually by 1903 became known as Dotheboys Hall Many of the other characters were also based on real life people The character of Miss La Crevy, who befriended the Nickleby family, was based on the actual person, Rosa Emma Drummond, who painted a miniature engraved portrait of Dickens on ivory Dickens had commissioned this, so that he could give it to his fiancee, Catherine Hogarth as an engagement present Like Miss Drummond, Miss La Creevy, was a good natured, middle aged miniature painter, described by Dickens as amincing young lady of fiftyVincent Crummles and his daughterThe Infant Phenomenonwere based on the actor manager T D Davenport and his nine year old prodigy of a daughter, JeanInfant phenomenawere a regular feature of many theatrical shows during the early decades of the nineteenth century Davenport and his daughter appeared on the Portsmouth stage in March 1837 Dickens s own mother, Elizabeth Dickens, was the model for Mrs Nickleby Luckily for Charles she didn t recognise herself in the character In fact she asked someone if they,really believed there ever was such a woman And most surprising and notable of all is that the Cheeryble brothers were based on real life characters too They are based on two benefactors who were brothers, Daniel and William Grant They came from Scotland, but settled in Ramsbottom in Greater Manchester although during Dickens s time, this will have been thought of as part of the county of Lancashire Some of the fine houses they built are still there For instance, St Andrew s Church from 1832 is also known as Grant s Church It was originally consecrated as a Scottish Presbyterian Chapel, with a donation of 5,000 by William Grant The Grant brothers regularly gave money to promising new enterprises and for education, supporting schools, libraries and the charitable institutions, and when homes and farmlands on Speyside were swept away by floods in 1829, gave 100 to swell The Flood Fund Dickens was keen to make sure everyone knew of these remarkable pair This is from his preface, in May, 1848,It may be right to say that there are 2 characters in this book which are drawn from life Those who take an interest in this tale will be glad to learn that the Brothers Cheeryble do live that their liberal charity, their singleness of heart, noble nature and unbounded benevolence are no creatures of the author s brain, but are prompting every day some munificent and generous deed in that town of which they are the pride and honourHe was writing at breakneck speed againOliver Twisthad overlappedThe Pickwick Papersby 10 months, and when he startedNicholas Nickleby ,Oliver Twistwas still a long way from being completed So perhaps the persuasive writing he was so keen on, the social conscience he displayed in his writing in the early part of this novel, feels very familiar, because it was written on the same days as the latter half of Oliver Twist He was also, of course, doing his editing work too Dickens seemed to delight in working under pressure at high speed What the reader takes away from this novel is mainly a memory of the dramatic, eccentric and unique characters, although probably only a fraction of the total proliferation stay with us We may remember the plot too Yet credit should also be given to Dickens s masterly powers of description, which are also very apparent in Nicholas Nickleby Often Dickens will exaggerate for effect, or use personification, or even the pathetic fallacy, where he is keen to convey a mood He is adept at attributing human qualities and emotions to inanimate objects Here s a wonderful description of Arthur Gride,a little old man, of about seventy or seventy five years of age, of a very lean figure, much bent and slightly twisted He wore such scanty trousers as displayed his shrunken spindle shanks in their full uglinessHis nose and chin were sharp and prominent, his jaws had fallen inwards from loss of teeth, his face was shrivelled and yellow, save where the cheeks were streaked with the colour of a dry winter apple and where his beard had been, there lingered yet a few grey tufts which seemed, like the ragged eyebrows, to denote the badness of the soil from which they sprung The whole air and attitude of the form was one of stealthy cat like obsequiousness the whole expression of the face was concentrated in a wrinkled leer, compounded of cunning, lecherousness, slyness, and avarice And here is his house,an old house, dismal dark and dusty, which seemed to have withered, like himself, and to have grown yellow and shrivelled in hoarding him from the light of day, as he had in hoarding his money Meagre old chairs and tables, of spare and bony make, and hard and cold as misers hearts, were ranged, in grim array, against the gloomy walls attenuated presses, grown lank and lantern jawed in guarding the treasures they enclosed, and tottering, as though from constant fear and dread of thieves, shrunk up in dark corners, whence they cast no shadows on the ground, and seemed to hide and cower from observationArthur Gride s house, thus seems to take on the aspect of a living creature itself, as though the essence of its inhabitant had oozed into the very fibres of the house and its contents Of course it is exaggerated and whimsical rather than realistic, but it is brilliantly described Here s another example, where a different house is described It feels less organic, but holdsof a portent Kate Nickleby has this to say of the house Ralph acquires for them,This house depresses and chills one and seems as if some blight had fallen on it If I were superstitious, I should be almost inclined to believe that some dreadful crime had been perpetrated within these old walls, and that the place had never prospered since How frowning and how dark it looks So this house seems to foreshadow the sinister plans that Ralph has for Kate Both of these to me show Dickens s supreme craft as a writer Nicholas Nickleby is partly a bildungsroman a story about the coming of age of the main character and partly a social commentary on injustice The maltreatment of children in the educational system features highly throughout, with Dickens using all the tricks of the trade to persuade his readers pathos, comedy, satire, and powerful storytelling He also employs coincidences, which we all love in life, and melodrama, which heightened the entertainment value at the time it was written As well as focusing on the private Yorkshire poor schools, savagely condemning those responsible for the system that treated children so cruelly, it also indicts those who use fraudulent financial tactics and other dishonest business practices There is certainly a memorable plot, and it could be thought of as Three Weddings and a Funeral but there are two funerals here, and they are poles apart They are both highly dramatic and tragic, because they are ultimately both avoidable.So is it the funniest novel in the English language Well it all depends on your taste It is possibly the funniest novel ever written by Dickens himself Yet it is also extremely poignant, sad, chilling, bitter and it has to be said overblown and melodramatic It is by turns absurd, comic, tragic and moving It is quintessentially Charles Dickens If you love Dickens, you ll love this one don t miss it Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air, feeling life in its most vivid form Being completely faithless and illoyal, I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite Yes, I know I have said it before, and I am likely to say it again, knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions But Nicholas really is my Now Time Favourite.I should like to state my case, as it would be very un Dickensian of me not to Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air, feeling life in its most vivid form Being completely faithless and illoyal, I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite Yes, I know I have said it before, and I am likely to say it again, knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions But Nicholas really is my Now Time Favourite.I should like to state my case, as it would be very un Dickensian of me not to indulge in a long explanation of my way of thinking on the subject, especially as it is a tricky situation, claiming a favourite child among so many Dickens knows where that favouritism can lead in real life, having painted the effects of parenting in his most colourful characters.Why First of all, it is a social satire Well, well, well, that is not an argument they all are Agree, but this one touches on the virtues and vices not only of the Victorian society it describes, but of human family relations and business endeavours in general We will still find plenty of schoolmasters making a profit of parents neglect or gullibility, and those contemporary school masters will be infinitely better at marketing their fraud with pretty business phrases of the educational genre than the odious Mr Squeers We will still find misers of Uncle Scrooge s calibre, just like Ralph Nickleby, all therealistic for not undergoing the magical Christmassy transformation of his later double We will find posers and cruisers who live off their social status, filling their days with vanities and sexual assaults on women who are too poor and neglected to protect themselves against the shamelessness of complete entitlement Mulberry your downfall made me SMILE Dickens strong sense of social injustice is like therapy for my tortured heart, and I don t mind at all that it is quite improbable that all the good, hardworking, caring characters have their reward in the end Nobody knew better than Dickens that real life doesn t play fair at any time But he also knew what a relief it is to feel, for once, in literature, that AMOR VINCIT OMNIA how much injustice, misery, and wrong, there was, and yet how the world rolled on, from year to year, alike careless and indifferent, and no man seeking to remedy or redress it when he thought of all this, and selected from the mass the one slight case on which his thoughts were bent, he felt indeed, that there was little ground for hope, and little reason why it should not form an atom in the huge aggregate of distress and sorrow, and add one small and unimportant unit to swell the great amount And yet, Dickens goes on to show that giving up is not an option, and that the atom of sorrow that one individual feels is worthy of the great author s attention, and he gives harsh reality a fictional, poetical justice that being all he can do It isthan nothing, decidedly So, do I need any other arguments The one I chose doesn t seem to make Nicholas Nickleby stand out beside Bleak House, David Copperfield, Martin Chuzzlewit, Great Expectations and all the other former all time favourite Dickenses.So what was so refreshing this time around The bad characters were what I expected, shown in their malice, sly greed and comical evil The huge cast of funny supporting characters were equipped with the usual amount of burlesque humour, and they were ranging from circus actors to owners of small businesses, showing the diversity in which family vanities can express themselves, for good and for bad Nothing unexpected there, just good old Dickensian performance.The difference lies in the good main characters The minor complaint I had regarding other Dickens novels was my lack of bonding with the too good to be true lead protagonists I didn t like David Copperfield himself that much, being just too gullible and naive, and I certainly didn t warm to the overly sweet and self sacrificing Esther in Bleak House That silent suffering felt almost like Dostoevsky and Dickens, with his sense of humour and sharp eye for satire can t compete with the Russian master in the arena of suffering for the sake of honour it just doesn t match his joie de vivre Nicholas and his sister Kate are of a different calibre, though Hotheaded, rash, confident, they don t suffer in silence, they SPEAK UP I loved that Losing your temper and speaking truth to power is so muchrewarding in my world than silently suffering in your chamber, crying little unseen tears over your unfair fate, while leaving it to others to fix your mess Nicholas and Kate, and their friends, are very independent, honest thinkers, and they deserve what they get because they are willing to fight for it, and to work honestly to achieve happiness.Cheers to Nicholas and Kate Keep kicking and screaming.I won t say anythingnow, as I can feel the need to analyse each single character in depth, to the boredom and annoyance of anyone who proceeds to read this far Read the book instead, it is worth each minute spent on it December Dickens 2017 a blast The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles DickensThe novel centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies Nicholas Nickleby s father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative, Nicholas s uncle, Ralph N The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles DickensThe novel centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies Nicholas Nickleby s father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative, Nicholas s uncle, Ralph Nickleby Ralph, a cold and ruthless businessman, has no desire to help his destitute relations and hates Nicholas, who reminds him of his dead brother, on sight He gets Nicholas a low paying job as an assistant to Wackford Squeers, who runs the school Dotheboys Hall in Yorkshire Nicholas is initially wary of Squeers a very unpleasant man with one eye because he is gruff and violent towards his young charges, but he tries to quell his suspicions As Nicholas boards the stagecoach for Greta Bridge, he is handed a letter by Ralph s clerk, Newman Noggs A once wealthy businessman, Noggs lost his fortune, became a drunk, and had no other recourse but to seek employment with Ralph, whom he loathes The letter expresses concern for him as an innocent young man, and offers assistance if Nicholas ever requires it Once he arrives in Yorkshire, Nicholas comes to realise that Squeers is running a scam he takes in unwanted children most of whom are illegitimate, crippled or deformed for a high fee, and starves and mistreats them while using the money sent by their parents, who only want to get them out of their way, to pad his own pockets Squeers and his monstrous wife whip and beat the children regularly, while spoiling their own son Lessons are no better they show how poorly educated Squeers himself is and he uses the lessons as excuses to send the boys off on chores While he is there, Nicholas befriends a simple boy named Smike, who is older than the other students and now acts as an unpaid servant Nicholas attracts the attention of Fanny Squeers, his employer s plain and shrewish daughter, who deludes herself into thinking that Nicholas is in love with her She attempts to disclose her affections during a game of cards, but Nicholas doesn t catch her meaning Instead he ends up flirting with her friend Tilda Price, to the consternation of both Fanny and Tilda s friendly but crude mannered fianc John Browdie After being accosted by Fanny again, Nicholas bluntly tells her he does not return her affections and wishes to be free of the horrible atmosphere of Dotheboys Hall, earning her enmity 2010 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