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minute and intricate calculations of odd days, which nobody who
has worked sums in simple-interest can fail to have found most
embarrassing, by establishing the one general rule that all sums of
principal and interest should be paid on pocket-money day, that is
to say, on Saturday: and that whether a loan were contracted on
the Monday, or on the Friday, the amount of interest should be, in
both cases, the same. Indeed he argued, and with great show of
reason, that it ought to be rather more for one day than for five,
inasmuch as the borrower might in the former case be very fairly
presumed to be in great extremity, otherwise he would not borrow
at all with such odds against him. This fact is interesting, as
illustrating the secret connection and sympathy which always
exist between great minds. Though Master Ralph Nickleby was
not at that time aware of it, the class of gentlemen before alluded
to, proceed on just the same principle in all their transactions.

From what we have said of this young gentleman, and the
natural admiration the reader will immediately conceive of his
character, it may perhaps be inferred that he is to be the hero of
the work which we shall presently begin. To set this point at rest,
for once and for ever, we hasten to undeceive them, and stride to
its commencement.

On the death of his father, Ralph Nickleby, who had been some
time before placed in a mercantile house in London, applied
himself passionately to his old pursuit of money-getting, in which
he speedily became so buried and absorbed, that he quite forgot
his brother for many years; and if, at times, a recollection of his old
playfellow broke upon him through the haze in which he lived--
for gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his
old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal--it

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