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‘I don’t think you quite understand,’ said Kate, gently.
‘Well I am sure, Kate, my dear, you’re very polite!’ replied Mrs
Nickleby. ‘I have been married myself I hope, and I have seen
other people married. Not understand, indeed!’

‘I know you have had great experience, dear mama,’ said Kate;
‘I mean that perhaps you don’t quite understand all the
circumstances in this instance. We have stated them awkwardly, I
dare say.’

‘That I dare say you have,’ retorted her mother, briskly. ‘That’s
very likely. I am not to be held accountable for that; though, at the
same time, as the circumstances speak for themselves, I shall take
the liberty, my love, of saying that I do understand them, and
perfectly well too; whatever you and Nicholas may choose to think
to the contrary. Why is such a great fuss made because this Miss
Magdalen is going to marry somebody who is older than herself?
Your poor papa was older than I was, four years and a half older.
Jane Dibabs--the Dibabses lived in the beautiful little thatched
white house one story high, covered all over with ivy and creeping
plants, with an exquisite little porch with twining honysuckles and
all sorts of things: where the earwigs used to fall into one’s tea on a
summer evening, and always fell upon their backs and kicked
dreadfully, and where the frogs used to get into the rushlight
shades when one stopped all night, and sit up and look through
the little holes like Christians--Jane Dibabs, she married a man
who was a great deal older than herself, and would marry him,
notwithstanding all that could be said to the contrary, and she was
so fond of him that nothing was ever equal to it. There was no fuss
made about Jane Dibabs, and her husband was a most honourable
and excellent man, and everybody spoke well of him. Then why

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