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particular, and into which she now launched until her breath was

Newman appeared not to hear these remarks, but preceded
them to a couple of rooms on the first floor, which some kind of
attempt had been made to render habitable. In one, were a few
chairs, a table, an old hearth-rug, and some faded baize; and a fire
was ready laid in the grate. In the other stood an old tent
bedstead, and a few scanty articles of chamber furniture.

‘Well, my dear,’ said Mrs Nickleby, trying to be pleased, ‘now
isn’t this thoughtful and considerate of your uncle? Why, we
should not have had anything but the bed we bought yesterday, to
lie down upon, if it hadn’t been for his thoughtfulness!’

‘Very kind, indeed,’ replied Kate, looking round. Newman
Noggs did not say that he had hunted up the old furniture they
saw, from attic and cellar; or that he had taken in the
halfpennyworth of milk for tea that stood upon a shelf, or filled the
rusty kettle on the hob, or collected the woodchips from the wharf,
or begged the coals. But the notion of Ralph Nickleby having
directed it to be done, tickled his fancy so much, that he could not
refrain from cracking all his ten fingers in succession: at which
performance Mrs Nickleby was rather startled at first, but
supposing it to be in some remote manner connected with the
gout, did not remark upon.

‘We need detain you no longer, I think,’ said Kate.
‘Is there nothing I can do?’ asked Newman.
‘Nothing, thank you,’ rejoined Miss Nickleby.
‘Perhaps, my dear, Mr Noggs would like to drink our healths,’
said Mrs Nickleby, fumbling in her reticule for some small coin.

‘I think, mama,’ said Kate hesitating, and remarking Newman’s

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