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‘Only in the kitchen, sir,’ replied the boy. ‘Missus said as I was
sitting up, I might go in there for a warm.’

‘Your missus is a fool,’ retorted Squeers. ‘You’d have been a
deuced deal more wakeful in the cold, I’ll engage.’

By this time Mr Squeers had dismounted; and after ordering
the boy to see to the pony, and to take care that he hadn’t any
more corn that night, he told Nicholas to wait at the front-door a
minute while he went round and let him in.

A host of unpleasant misgivings, which had been crowding
upon Nicholas during the whole journey, thronged into his mind
with redoubled force when he was left alone. His great distance
from home and the impossibility of reaching it, except on foot,
should he feel ever so anxious to return, presented itself to him in
most alarming colours; and as he looked up at the dreary house
and dark windows, and upon the wild country round, covered with
snow, he felt a depression of heart and spirit which he had never
experienced before.

‘Now then!’ cried Squeers, poking his head out at the front-
door. ‘Where are you, Nickleby?’
‘Here, sir,’ replied Nicholas.
‘Come in, then,’ said Squeers ‘the wind blows in, at this door, fit
to knock a man off his legs.’

Nicholas sighed, and hurried in. Mr Squeers, having bolted the
door to keep it shut, ushered him into a small parlour scantily
furnished with a few chairs, a yellow map hung against the wall,
and a couple of tables; one of which bore some preparations for
supper; while, on the other, a tutor’s assistant, a Murray’s
grammar, half-a-dozen cards of terms, and a worn letter directed
to Wackford Squeers, Esquire, were arranged in picturesque

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