1838/39 chapter 18
'Madame Mantalini,' said the young lady.
'Ma'am,' said Madame Mantalini.
'Pray have up that pretty young creature we saw yesterday.'
'Oh yes, do,' said the sister.
'Of all things in the world, Madame Mantalini,' said the lord's intended, throwing herself languidly on a sofa, 'I hate being waited upon by frights or elderly persons. Let me always see that young creature, I beg, whenever I come.'
'By all means,' said the old lord; 'the lovely young creature, by all means.'
'Everybody is talking about her,' said the young lady, in the same careless manner; 'and my lord, being a great admirer of beauty, must positively see her.'
'She IS universally admired,' replied Madame Mantalini. 'Miss Knag, send up Miss Nickleby. You needn't return.'
'I beg your pardon, Madame Mantalini, what did you say last?' asked Miss Knag, trembling.
'You needn't return,' repeated the superior, sharply. Miss Knag vanished without another word, and in all reasonable time was replaced by Kate, who took off the new bonnets and put on the old ones: blushing very much to find that the old lord and the two young ladies were staring her out of countenance all the time.
The pictures are: the original Hablot Browne illustration of Madame Mantalini’s shop, and Kate Nickleby from a 1912 edition of the book.
Nicholas Nickleby featured on the blog before, with a young lady who was richer, but clearly less refined, than Kate.
With thanks, of course, to Veronica Horwell.