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The door of this deserted mansion Newman opened with a key
which he took out of his hat--in which, by-the-bye, in consequence
of the dilapidated state of his pockets, he deposited everything,
and would most likely have carried his money if he had had any--
and the coach being discharged, he led the way into the interior of
the mansion.

Old, and gloomy, and black, in truth it was, and sullen and dark
were the rooms, once so bustling with life and enterprise. There
was a wharf behind, opening on the Thames. An empty dog-
kennel, some bones of animals, fragments of iron hoops, and
staves of old casks, lay strewn about, but no life was stirring there.
It was a picture of cold, silent decay.

‘This house depresses and chills one,’ said Kate, ‘and seems as
if some blight had fallen on it. If I were superstitious, I should be
almost inclined to believe that some dreadful crime had been
perpetrated within these old walls, and that the place had never
prospered since. How frowning and how dark it looks!’

‘Lord, my dear,’ replied Mrs Nickleby, ‘don’t talk in that way, or
you’ll frighten me to death.’

‘It is only my foolish fancy, mama,’ said Kate, forcing a smile.
‘Well, then, my love, I wish you would keep your foolish fancy to
yourself, and not wake up my foolish fancy to keep it company,’
retorted Mrs Nickleby. ‘Why didn’t you think of all this before--
you are so careless--we might have asked Miss La Creevy to keep
us company or borrowed a dog, or a thousand things--but it
always was the way, and was just the same with your poor dear
father. Unless I thought of everything--’ This was Mrs Nickleby’s
usual commencement of a general lamentation, running through a
dozen or so of complicated sentences addressed to nobody in

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