Jean and Angela requested a quote from Nicholas Nickleby. It's a long one, so I've put it below the cut!
"'What!' said Nicholas, 'cucumbers and vegetable marrows flying at the heads of the family as they walk in their own garden, and not meant impertinently! Why, mother — '
"Nicholas stopped short; for there was an indescribable expression of placid triumph, mingled with a modest confusion, lingering between the borders of Mrs Nickleby's nightcap, which arrested his attention suddenly.
"'He must be a very weak, and foolish, and inconsiderate man,' said Mrs Nickleby; 'blamable indeed — at least I suppose other people would consider him so; of course I can't be expected to express any opinion on that point, especially after always defending your poor dear papa when other people blamed him for making proposals to me; and to be sure there can be no doubt that he has taken a very singular way of showing it. Still at the same time, his attentions are — that is, as far as it goes, and to a certain extent of course — a flattering sort of thing; and although I should never dream of marrying again with a dear girl like Kate still unsettled in life — '
"'Surely, mother, such an idea never entered your brain for an instant?' said Nicholas.
"'Bless my heart, Nicholas my dear,' returned his mother in a peevish tone, 'isn't that precisely what I am saying, if you would only let me speak? Of course, I never gave it a second thought, and I am surprised and astonished that you should suppose me capable of such a thing. All I say is, what step is the best to take, so as to reject these advances civilly and delicately, and without hurting his feelings too much, and driving him to despair, or anything of that kind? My goodness me!' exclaimed Mrs Nickleby, with a half-simper, 'suppose he was to go doing anything rash to himself. Could I ever be happy again, Nicholas?'
"Despite his vexation and concern, Nicholas could scarcely help smiling, as he rejoined, 'Now, do you think, mother, that such a result would be likely to ensue from the most cruel repulse?'
"'Upon my word, my dear, I don't know,' returned Mrs Nickleby; 'really, I don't know. I am sure there was a case in the day before yesterday's paper, extracted from one of the French newspapers, about a journeyman shoemaker who was jealous of a young girl in an adjoining village, because she wouldn't shut herself up in an air-tight three-pair-of-stairs, and charcoal herself to death with him; and who went and hid himself in a wood with a sharp-pointed knife, and rushed out, as she was passing by with a few friends, and killed himself first, and then all the friends, and then her — no, killed all the friends first, and then herself, and then HIMself — which it is quite frightful to think of. Somehow or other,' added Mrs Nickleby, after a momentary pause, 'they always ARE journeyman shoemakers who do these things in France, according to the papers. I don't know how it is — something in the leather, I suppose.'
"'But this man, who is not a shoemaker — what has he done, mother, what has he said?' inquired Nicholas, fretted almost beyond endurance, but looking nearly as resigned and patient as Mrs Nickleby herself. 'You know, there is no language of vegetables, which converts a cucumber into a formal declaration of attachment.'"