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on for a few seconds, rather doubtful what to do, but feeling
uncertain whether the fit would end in his being embraced, or
scratched, and considering that either infliction would be equally
agreeable, he walked off very quietly while Miss Squeers was
moaning in her pocket-handkerchief.

‘This is one consequence,’ thought Nicholas, when he had
groped his way to the dark sleeping-room, ‘of my cursed readiness
to adapt myself to any society in which chance carries me. If I had
sat mute and motionless, as I might have done, this would not
have happened.’

He listened for a few minutes, but all was quiet.
‘I was glad,’ he murmured, ‘to grasp at any relief from the sight
of this dreadful place, or the presence of its vile master. I have set
these people by the ears, and made two new enemies, where,
Heaven knows, I needed none. Well, it is a just punishment for
having forgotten, even for an hour, what is around me now!’

So saying, he felt his way among the throng of weary-hearted
sleepers, and crept into his poor bed.

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