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perceive it.

‘It’s my way to say, when I am up in London,’ continued
Squeers, ‘that to them boys she is a mother. But she is more than a
mother to them; ten times more. She does things for them boys,
Nickleby, that I don’t believe half the mothers going, would do for
their own sons.’

‘I should think they would not, sir,’ answered Nicholas.
Now, the fact was, that both Mr and Mrs Squeers viewed the
boys in the light of their proper and natural enemies; or, in other
words, they held and considered that their business and
profession was to get as much from every boy as could by
possibility be screwed out of him. On this point they were both
agreed, and behaved in unison accordingly. The only difference
between them was, that Mrs Squeers waged war against the
enemy openly and fearlessly, and that Squeers covered his
rascality, even at home, with a spice of his habitual deceit; as if he
really had a notion of someday or other being able to take himself
in, and persuade his own mind that he was a very good fellow.

‘But come,’ said Squeers, interrupting the progress of some
thoughts to this effect in the mind of his usher, ‘let’s go to the
schoolroom; and lend me a hand with my school-coat, will you?’

Nicholas assisted his master to put on an old fustian shooting-
jacket, which he took down from a peg in the passage; and
Squeers, arming himself with his cane, led the way across a yard,
to a door in the rear of the house.

‘There,’ said the schoolmaster as they stepped in together; ‘this
is our shop, Nickleby!’

It was such a crowded scene, and there were so many objects to
attract attention, that, at first, Nicholas stared about him, really

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