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good you always were to him--so it will be to me, to think what
excellent terms we were always upon, and how fond he always was
of me, poor fellow! It was very natural you should have been
attached to him, my dear--very--and of course you were, and are
very much cut up by this. I am sure it’s only necessary to look at
you and see how changed you are, to see that; but nobody knows
what my feelings are--nobody can--it’s quite impossible!’

While Mrs Nickleby, with the utmost sincerity, gave vent to her
sorrows after her own peculiar fashion of considering herself
foremost, she was not the only one who indulged such feelings.
Kate, although well accustomed to forget herself when others were
to be considered, could not repress her grief; Madeline was
scarcely less moved than she; and poor, hearty, honest little Miss
La Creevy, who had come upon one of her visits while Nicholas
was away, and had done nothing, since the sad news arrived, but
console and cheer them all, no sooner beheld him coming in at the
door, than she sat herself down upon the stairs, and bursting into
a flood of tears, refused for a long time to be comforted.

‘It hurts me so,’ cried the poor body, ‘to see him come back
alone. I can’t help thinking what he must have suffered himself. I
wouldn’t mind so much if he gave way a little more; but he bears it
so manfully.’

‘Why, so I should,’ said Nicholas, ‘should I not?’
‘Yes, yes,’ replied the little woman, ‘and bless you for a good
creature! but this does seem at first to a simple soul like me--I
know it’s wrong to say so, and I shall be sorry for it presently--this
does seem such a poor reward for all you have done.’

‘Nay,’ said Nicholas gently, ‘what better reward could I have,
than the knowledge that his last days were peaceful and happy,

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