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the most eloquent phrases--his devotion to the brothers, and his
hope that he might live and die in their service.

To all this, brother Charles listened in profound silence, and
with his chair so turned from Nicholas that his face could not be
seen. He had not spoken either, in his accustomed manner, but
with a certain stiffness and embarrassment very foreign to it.
Nicholas feared he had offended him. He said, ‘No, no, he had
done quite right,’ but that was all.

‘Frank is a heedless, foolish fellow,’ he said, after Nicholas had
paused for some time; ‘a very heedless, foolish fellow. I will take
care that this is brought to a close without delay. Let us say no
more upon the subject; it’s a very painful one to me. Come to me
in half an hour; I have strange things to tell you, my dear sir, and
your uncle has appointed this afternoon for your waiting upon him
with me.’

‘Waiting upon him! With you, sir!’ cried Nicholas.
‘Ay, with me,’ replied the old gentleman. ‘Return to me in half
an hour, and I’ll tell you more.’

Nicholas waited upon him at the time mentioned, and then
learnt all that had taken place on the previous day, and all that
was known of the appointment Ralph had made with the brothers;
which was for that night; and for the better understanding of
which it will be requisite to return and follow his own footsteps
from the house of the twin brothers. Therefore, we leave Nicholas
somewhat reassured by the restored kindness of their manner
towards him, and yet sensible that it was different from what it
had been (though he scarcely knew in what respect): so he was full
of uneasiness, uncertainty, and disquiet.

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