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Chapter 8

Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys Hall.

Aride of two hundred and odd miles in severe weather, is
one of the best softeners of a hard bed that ingenuity can
devise. Perhaps it is even a sweetener of dreams, for those
which hovered over the rough couch of Nicholas, and whispered
their airy nothings in his ear, were of an agreeable and happy
kind. He was making his fortune very fast indeed, when the faint
glimmer of an expiring candle shone before his eyes, and a voice
he had no difficulty in recognising as part and parcel of Mr
Squeers, admonished him that it was time to rise.

‘Past seven, Nickleby,’ said Mr Squeers.
‘Has morning come already?’ asked Nicholas, sitting up in bed.
‘Ah! that has it,’ replied Squeers, ‘and ready iced too. Now,
Nickleby, come; tumble up, will you?’

Nicholas needed no further admonition, but ‘tumbled up’ at
once, and proceeded to dress himself by the light of the taper,
which Mr Squeers carried in his hand.

‘Here’s a pretty go,’ said that gentleman; ‘the pump’s froze.’
‘Indeed!’ said Nicholas, not much interested in the intelligence.
‘Yes,’ replied Squeers. ‘You can’t wash yourself this morning.’
‘Not wash myself!’ exclaimed Nicholas.

‘No, not a bit of it,’ rejoined Squeers tartly. ‘So you must be
content with giving yourself a dry polish till we break the ice in the
well, and can get a bucketful out for the boys. Don’t stand staring
at me, but do look sharp, will you?’

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