. They advise him to retire from London
before charges are brought up against him,
as Squeers is determined to confess all and
implicate Ralph. He refuses their help,
but is summoned back to their offices
that evening and told that Smike is dead.
When he reacts to the news with vicious glee,
the brothers reveal their final card.
The beggar Brooker emerges, and tells
Ralph that Smike was his own son.
As a young man, Ralph had married
a woman for her fortune, but kept it
secret so as to not forfeit her inheritance.
She eventually left him after bearing him a son,
whom he entrusted to Brooker, who
was then his clerk. Brooker, taking
the opportunity for vengeance, took
the boy to Squeers' school and told
Ralph the boy had died. Brooker now
repents his action, but a transportation sentence
kept him from putting the matter right.
Devastated at the thought that his only
son died as the best friend of
his greatest enemy, Ralph commits suicide.
Squeers is sentenced to transportation
to Australia, and, upon hearing this,
the boys at Dotheboys Hall rebel against
the Squeers family and escape with
the assistance of John Browdie.
Nicholas becomes a partner
in the Cheerybles' firm and marries Madeline.
Kate and Frank Cheeryble also marry,
as do Tim Linkinwater and Miss LaCreevy.
Brooker dies penitent. Noggs recovers
his respectability. The Nicklebys
and their now extended family return to
Devonshire, where they live in peace and contentment