Nicholas Nickleby

by Charles Dickens

Quotes & Notes
by Stephen Balbach, July 2007

See main review at Cool Reading.


"I am to be the scorn of my own sex, and the toy of the other; justly condemned by all women of right feeling, and despised by all honest and honourable me; sunken in my own esteem, and degraded in every eye that looks upon me."
(Ch. 28, p.350)

"Though no man hates himself, the coldest among us having too much self-love for that, yet most men unconsciously judge the world from themselves, and it will generally be found that those who sneer habitually at human nature, and affest to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant samples."
(Ch. 44, p.535-6)

"Although, to restless and ardent minds, morning may be the fitting season for exertion and activity, it is not always at that time that hope is strongest or the spirit most sanguine and buoyant. In trying and doubtful positions, youth, custom, a steady contemplation of the difficulties which surround us, and a familiarity with them, imperceptibly diminish our apprehensions and beget comparative indifference, if not a vague and reckless confidence in some relief, the means or nature of which we care not to foresee. But when we come, fresh, upon such things in the morning, with that dark and silent gap between us and yesterday; with every link in the brittle chain of hope, to rivet afresh; our hot enthusiasm subdued, and cool calm reason substituted in its stead; doubt and misgiving revive. As the traveller sees farthest by day, and becomes aware of rugged mountains and trackless plains which the friendly darkness had shrouded from his sight and mind together, so, the wayfarer in the toilsome path of human life sees, with each returning sun, some new obstacle to surmount, some new height to be attained. Distances stretch out before him which, last night, were scarcely taken into account, and the light which gilds all nature with its cheerful beams, seems but to shine upon the weary obstacles that yet lie strewn between him and the grave."
(Chapter 53, p.652)