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These were, the age, decrepitude, and weakness of Mrs
Sliderskew; the great improbability of her having any accomplice
or even acquaintance: taking into account her secluded habits,
and her long residence in such a house as Gride’s; the strong
reason there was to suppose that the robbery was not the result of
a concerted plan: otherwise she would have watched an
opportunity of carrying off a sum of money; the difficulty she
would be placed in when she began to think on what she had
done, and found herself encumbered with documents of whose
nature she was utterly ignorant; and the comparative ease with
which somebody, with a full knowledge of her position, obtaining
access to her, and working on her fears, if necessary, might worm
himself into her confidence and obtain, under one pretence or
another, free possession of the deed. To these were added such
considerations as the constant residence of Mr Squeers at a long
distance from London, which rendered his association with Mrs
Sliderskew a mere masquerading frolic, in which nobody was
likely to recognise him, either at the time or afterwards; the
impossibility of Ralph’s undertaking the task himself, he being
already known to her by sight; and various comments on the
uncommon tact and experience of Mr Squeers: which would make
his overreaching one old woman a mere matter of child’s play and
amusement. In addition to these influences and persuasions,
Ralph drew, with his utmost skill and power, a vivid picture of the
defeat which Nicholas would sustain, should they succeed, in
linking himself to a beggar, where he expected to wed an heiress--
glanced at the immeasurable importance it must be to a man
situated as Squeers, to preserve such a friend as himself--dwelt
on a long train of benefits, conferred since their first acquaintance,

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