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and not answering, was supposed to be asleep, until some person
going in and shaking him by the arm, he fell heavily to the ground
and was discovered to be dead.

‘Who is the owner of this house?’ said Nicholas, hastily.
An elderly woman was pointed out to him; and to her he said,
as he knelt down and gently unwound Madeline’s arms from the
lifeless mass round which they were entwined: ‘I represent this
lady’s nearest friends, as her servant here knows, and must
remove her from this dreadful scene. This is my sister to whose
charge you confide her. My name and address are upon that card,
and you shall receive from me all necessary directions for the
arrangements that must be made. Stand aside, every one of you,
and give me room and air for God’s sake!’

The people fell back, scarce wondering more at what had just
occurred, than at the excitement and impetuosity of him who
spoke. Nicholas, taking the insensible girl in his arms, bore her
from the chamber and downstairs into the room he had just
quitted, followed by his sister and the faithful servant, whom he
charged to procure a coach directly, while he and Kate bent over
their beautiful charge and endeavoured, but in vain, to restore her
to animation. The girl performed her office with such expedition,
that in a very few minutes the coach was ready.

Ralph Nickleby and Gride, stunned and paralysed by the awful
event which had so suddenly overthrown their schemes (it would
not otherwise, perhaps, have made much impression on them),
and carried away by the extraordinary energy and precipitation of
Nicholas, which bore down all before him, looked on at these
proceedings like men in a dream or trance. It was not until every
preparation was made for Madeline’s immediate removal that

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