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They had not been in this apartment a couple of minutes, when
a female bounced into the room, and, seizing Mr Squeers by the
throat, gave him two loud kisses: one close after the other, like a
postman’s knock. The lady, who was of a large raw-boned figure,
was about half a head taller than Mr Squeers, and was dressed in
a dimity night-jacket; with her hair in papers; she had also a dirty
nightcap on, relieved by a yellow cotton handkerchief which tied it
under the chin.

‘How is my Squeery?’ said this lady in a playful manner, and a
very hoarse voice.

‘Quite well, my love,’ replied Squeers. ‘How’s the cows?’
‘All right, every one of ’em,’ answered the lady.

‘And the pigs?’ said Squeers.
‘As well as they were when you went away.’
‘Come; that’s a blessing,’ said Squeers, pulling off his great-
coat. ‘The boys are all as they were, I suppose?’

‘Oh, yes, they’re well enough,’ replied Mrs Squeers, snappishly.
‘That young Pitcher’s had a fever.’

‘No!’ exclaimed Squeers. ‘Damn that boy, he’s always at
something of that sort.’

‘Never was such a boy, I do believe,’ said Mrs Squeers;
‘whatever he has is always catching too. I say it’s obstinacy, and
nothing shall ever convince me that it isn’t. I’d beat it out of him;
and I told you that, six months ago.’

‘So you did, my love,’ rejoined Squeers. ‘We’ll try what can be

Pending these little endearments, Nicholas had stood,
awkwardly enough, in the middle of the room: not very well

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