Chapters 30-33 Summary

Mr. Crummles convinces Nicholas to stay for a “final performance,” which lasts for three nights. He attends a dinner with some of the actors as well as Miss Snevellicci’s parents. Mr. Snevellicci expounds on his adoration of females, even married ones. To prove it, he winks and blows kisses to Mrs. Lillyvick. Mr. Lillyvick becomes irate and attacks the elderly gentleman, knocking him under the table.

Rumor has it that a London manager is to be in the audience at the final performance. This causes each actor to make the most of his own performance, only to discover that the manager is asleep. He awakens and leaves the audience, for which Nicholas is grateful, not yet having come on stage.

Nicholas receives another letter from Newman Noggs, urging him to return to London at once. Nicholas sends Smike off to pay some debts while he goes to say good-bye. After an overly dramatic farewell, Nicholas and Smike take leave of the Crummles Company and board the stage for London.

Ralph Nickleby gives Newman Noggs a package to deliver. Newman stops to visit Miss La Creevy and vents his anger toward Ralph by shadowboxing Miss La Creevy’s miniatures. He makes Miss La Creevy his ally against Ralph’s hatred for Nicholas and contempt for Mrs. Nickleby.

Nicholas and Smike return to London. Nicholas decides to visit Miss La Creevy first but she is not home. He is unable to find Newman Noggs either, so he goes into a coffee room in a hotel. As he is sitting there, he overhears some gentlemen talking about “little Kate Nickleby” in an overly familiar manner. He confronts them and learns that the main perpetrator is named Sir Mulberry Hawk. Sir Mulberry grabs his whip and begins to beat Nicholas, but Nicholas snatches the whip and applies the whip to Sir Mulberry even more viciously, giving him a cut from his eye to his lip.

Nicholas relates his experience to Newman Noggs, who is pleased to hear it. He tends Nicholas’s wounds while listening to the story. The next morning, Nicholas drives to fetch Kate from the Witterleys’ home. He tells his mother that they are through with Ralph. Mrs. Nickleby is reluctant to take such a drastic step and worries what Pyke and Pluck will say. With great difficulty, Nicholas and Kate load their mother into a carriage, along with their belongings, and leave to take lodgings in an inn. Nicholas writes a letter to Ralph, telling him that they no longer want anything to do with him and are cutting off all relations with him for his part in the attempt to “sell” Kate to Sir Mulberry Hawk and Lord Verisopht.