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that burst of enthusiasm in his young child’s mind, and saw in it a
foreshadowing of his future eminence. He pressed a penny into his
hand, and gave vent to his feelings (as did his exemplary wife
also), in a shout of approving laughter. The infantine appeal to
their common sympathies, at once restored cheerfulness to the
conversation, and harmony to the company.

‘He’s a nasty stuck-up monkey, that’s what I consider him,’ said
Mrs Squeers, reverting to Nicholas.

‘Supposing he is,’ said Squeers, ‘he is as well stuck up in our
schoolroom as anywhere else, isn’t he?--especially as he don’t like

‘Well,’ observed Mrs Squeers, ‘there’s something in that. I hope
it’ll bring his pride down, and it shall be no fault of mine if it

Now, a proud usher in a Yorkshire school was such a very
extraordinary and unaccountable thing to hear of,--any usher at
all being a novelty; but a proud one, a being of whose existence the
wildest imagination could never have dreamed--that Miss
Squeers, who seldom troubled herself with scholastic matters,
inquired with much curiosity who this Knuckleboy was, that gave
himself such airs.

‘Nickleby,’ said Squeers, spelling the name according to some
eccentric system which prevailed in his own mind; ‘your mother
always calls things and people by their wrong names.’

‘No matter for that,’ said Mrs Squeers; ‘I see them with right
eyes, and that’s quite enough for me. I watched him when you
were laying on to little Bolder this afternoon. He looked as black
as thunder, all the while, and, one time, started up as if he had
more than got it in his mind to make a rush at you. I saw him,

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