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Chapter 15

Acquaints the Reader with the Cause and Origin of
the Interruption described in the last Chapter, and
with some other Matters necessary to be known.

Newman Noggs scrambled in violent haste upstairs with
the steaming beverage, which he had so
unceremoniously snatched from the table of Mr Kenwigs,
and indeed from the very grasp of the water-rate collector, who
was eyeing the contents of the tumbler, at the moment of its
unexpected abstraction, with lively marks of pleasure visible in his
countenance. He bore his prize straight to his own back-garret,
where, footsore and nearly shoeless, wet, dirty, jaded, and
disfigured with every mark of fatiguing travel, sat Nicholas and
Smike, at once the cause and partner of his toil; both perfectly
worn out by their unwonted and protracted exertion.

Newman’s first act was to compel Nicholas, with gentle force, to
swallow half of the punch at a breath, nearly boiling as it was; and
his next, to pour the remainder down the throat of Smike, who,
never having tasted anything stronger than aperient medicine in
his whole life, exhibited various odd manifestations of surprise
and delight, during the passage of the liquor down his throat, and
turned up his eyes most emphatically when it was all gone.

‘You are wet through,’ said Newman, passing his hand hastily
over the coat which Nicholas had thrown off; ‘and I--I--haven’t
even a change,’ he added, with a wistful glance at the shabby
clothes he wore himself.

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