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did the greater part of the boys, who were by this time roused.

‘Confound his impudence!’ muttered Squeers, rapping the
stair-rail impatiently with his cane. ‘Nickleby!’

‘Well, sir.’
‘Send that obstinate scoundrel down; don’t you hear me

‘He is not here, sir,’ replied Nicholas.
‘Don’t tell me a lie,’ retorted the schoolmaster. ‘He is.’
‘He is not,’ retorted Nicholas angrily, ‘don’t tell me one.’
‘We shall soon see that,’ said Mr Squeers, rushing upstairs. ‘I’ll
find him, I warrant you.’

With which assurance, Mr Squeers bounced into the dormitory,
and, swinging his cane in the air ready for a blow, darted into the
corner where the lean body of the drudge was usually stretched at
night. The cane descended harmlessly upon the ground. There
was nobody there.

‘What does this mean?’ said Squeers, turning round with a very
pale face. ‘Where have you hid him?’

‘I have seen nothing of him since last night,’ replied Nicholas.
‘Come,’ said Squeers, evidently frightened, though he
endeavoured to look otherwise, ‘you won’t save him this way.
Where is he?’

‘At the bottom of the nearest pond for aught I know,’ rejoined
Nicholas in a low voice, and fixing his eyes full on the master’s

‘Damn you, what do you mean by that?’ retorted Squeers in
great perturbation. Without waiting for a reply, he inquired of the
boys whether any one among them knew anything of their missing

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