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so many had bitter cause to remember.

‘Humph!’ said Ralph, pausing at the door. ‘This is an
unexpected favour, sir.’

‘And an unwelcome one,’ said brother Charles; ‘an unwelcome
one, I know.’

‘Men say you are truth itself, sir,’ replied Ralph. ‘You speak
truth now, at all events, and I’ll not contradict you. The favour is,
at least, as unwelcome as it is unexpected. I can scarcely say

‘Plainly, sir--’ began brother Charles.
‘Plainly, sir,’ interrupted Ralph, ‘I wish this conference to be a
short one, and to end where it begins. I guess the subject upon
which you are about to speak, and I’ll not hear you. You like
plainness, I believe; there it is. Here is the door as you see. Our
way lies in very different directions. Take yours, I beg of you, and
leave me to pursue mine in quiet.’

‘In quiet!’ repeated brother Charles mildly, and looking at him
with more of pity than reproach. ‘To pursue his way in quiet!’

‘You will scarcely remain in my house, I presume, sir, against
my will,’ said Ralph; ‘or you can scarcely hope to make an
impression upon a man who closes his ears to all that you can say,
and is firmly and resolutely determined not to hear you.’

‘Mr Nickleby, sir,’ returned brother Charles: no less mildly than
before, but firmly too: ‘I come here against my will, sorely and
grievously against my will. I have never been in this house before;
and, to speak my mind, sir, I don’t feel at home or easy in it, and
have no wish ever to be here again. You do not guess the subject
on which I come to speak to you; you do not indeed. I am sure of
that, or your manner would be a very different one.’

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