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brought along with it a companion thought, that if they were
intimate he would want to borrow money of him. So, Mr Ralph
Nickleby shrugged his shoulders, and said things were better as
they were.

As for Nicholas, he lived a single man on the patrimonial estate
until he grew tired of living alone, and then he took to wife the
daughter of a neighbouring gentleman with a dower of one
thousand pounds. This good lady bore him two children, a son and
a daughter, and when the son was about nineteen, and the
daughter fourteen, as near as we can guess--impartial records of
young ladies’ ages being, before the passing of the new act,
nowhere preserved in the registries of this country--Mr Nickleby
looked about him for the means of repairing his capital, now sadly
reduced by this increase in his family, and the expenses of their

‘Speculate with it,’ said Mrs Nickleby.
‘Spec-u-late, my dear?’ said Mr Nickleby, as though in doubt.
‘Why not?’ asked Mrs Nickleby.

‘Because, my dear, if we should lose it,’ rejoined Mr Nickleby,
who was a slow and time-taking speaker, ‘if we should lose it, we
shall no longer be able to live, my dear.’

‘Fiddle,’ said Mrs Nickleby.
‘I am not altogether sure of that, my dear,’ said Mr Nickleby.
‘There’s Nicholas,’ pursued the lady, ‘quite a young man--it’s
time he was in the way of doing something for himself; and Kate
too, poor girl, without a penny in the world. Think of your brother!
Would he be what he is, if he hadn’t speculated?’

‘That’s true,’ replied Mr Nickleby. ‘Very good, my dear. Yes. I
will speculate, my dear.’

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