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Chapter 2

Of Mr Ralph Nickleby, and his Establishments, and
his Undertakings, and of a great Joint Stock
Company of vast national Importance.

Mr Ralph Nickleby was not, strictly speaking, what you
would call a merchant, neither was he a banker, nor an
attorney, nor a special pleader, nor a notary. He was
certainly not a tradesman, and still less could he lay any claim to
the title of a professional gentleman; for it would have been
impossible to mention any recognised profession to which he
belonged. Nevertheless, as he lived in a spacious house in Golden
Square, which, in addition to a brass plate upon the street-door,
had another brass plate two sizes and a half smaller upon the left
hand door-post, surrounding a brass model of an infant’s fist
grasping a fragment of a skewer, and displaying the word ‘Office,’
it was clear that Mr Ralph Nickleby did, or pretended to do,
business of some kind; and the fact, if it required any further
circumstantial evidence, was abundantly demonstrated by the
diurnal attendance, between the hours of half-past nine and five,
of a sallow-faced man in rusty brown, who sat upon an
uncommonly hard stool in a species of butler’s pantry at the end of
the passage, and always had a pen behind his ear when he
answered the bell.

Although a few members of the graver professions live about
Golden Square, it is not exactly in anybody’s way to or from
anywhere. It is one of the squares that have been; a quarter of the

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