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extraordinary how long a man may look among the crowd without
discovering the face of a friend, but it is no less true. Mr Nickleby
looked, and looked, till his eyes became sore as his heart, but no
friend appeared; and when, growing tired of the search, he turned
his eyes homeward, he saw very little there to relieve his weary
vision. A painter who has gazed too long upon some glaring
colour, refreshes his dazzled sight by looking upon a darker and
more sombre tint; but everything that met Mr Nickleby’s gaze
wore so black and gloomy a hue, that he would have been beyond
description refreshed by the very reverse of the contrast.

At length, after five years, when Mrs Nickleby had presented
her husband with a couple of sons, and that embarrassed
gentleman, impressed with the necessity of making some
provision for his family, was seriously revolving in his mind a little
commercial speculation of insuring his life next quarter-day, and
then falling from the top of the Monument by accident, there
came, one morning, by the general post, a black-bordered letter to
inform him how his uncle, Mr Ralph Nickleby, was dead, and had
left him the bulk of his little property, amounting in all to five
thousand pounds sterling.

As the deceased had taken no further notice of his nephew in
his lifetime, than sending to his eldest boy (who had been
christened after him, on desperate speculation) a silver spoon in a
morocco case, which, as he had not too much to eat with it,
seemed a kind of satire upon his having been born without that
useful article of plate in his mouth, Mr Godfrey Nickleby could, at
first, scarcely believe the tidings thus conveyed to him. On
examination, however, they turned out to be strictly correct. The
amiable old gentleman, it seemed, had intended to leave the whole

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