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‘Wait one instant, Kate. Let us hear if there’s anything the
matter,’ returned her brother. ‘Hush!’

‘You nasty, idle, vicious, good-for-nothing brute,’ cried the
woman, stamping on the ground, ‘why don’t you turn the mangle?’

‘So I am, my life and soul!’ replied the man’s voice. ‘I am always
turning. I am perpetually turning, like a demd old horse in a
demnition mill. My life is one demd horrid grind!’

‘Then why don’t you go and list for a soldier?’ retorted the
woman; ‘you’re welcome to.’

‘For a soldier!’ cried the man. ‘For a soldier! Would his joy and
gladness see him in a coarse red coat with a little tail? Would she
hear of his being slapped and beat by drummers demnebly?
Would she have him fire off real guns, and have his hair cut, and
his whiskers shaved, and his eyes turned right and left, and his
trousers pipeclayed?’

‘Dear Nicholas,’ whispered Kate, ‘you don’t know who that is.
It’s Mr Mantalini I am confident.’

‘Do make sure! Peep at him while I ask the way,’ said Nicholas.
‘Come down a step or two. Come!’

Drawing her after him, Nicholas crept down the steps and
looked into a small boarded cellar. There, amidst clothes-baskets
and clothes, stripped up to his shirt-sleeves, but wearing still an
old patched pair of pantaloons of superlative make, a once brilliant
waistcoat, and moustache and whiskers as of yore, but lacking
their lustrous dye--there, endeavouring to mollify the wrath of a
buxom female--not the lawful Madame Mantalini, but the
proprietress of the concern--and grinding meanwhile as if for very
life at the mangle, whose creaking noise, mingled with her shrill
tones, appeared almost to deafen him--there was the graceful,

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