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town that has gone down in the world, and taken to letting
lodgings. Many of its first and second floors are let, furnished, to
single gentlemen; and it takes boarders besides. It is a great resort
of foreigners. The dark-complexioned men who wear large rings,
and heavy watch-guards, and bushy whiskers, and who
congregate under the Opera Colonnade, and about the box-office
in the season, between four and five in the afternoon, when they
give away the orders,--all live in Golden Square, or within a street
of it. Two or three violins and a wind instrument from the Opera
band reside within its precincts. Its boarding-houses are musical,
and the notes of pianos and harps float in the evening time round
the head of the mournful statue, the guardian genius of a little
wilderness of shrubs, in the centre of the square. On a summerís
night, windows are thrown open, and groups of swarthy
moustached men are seen by the passer-by, lounging at the
casements, and smoking fearfully. Sounds of gruff voices
practising vocal music invade the eveningís silence; and the fumes
of choice tobacco scent the air. There, snuff and cigars, and
German pipes and flutes, and violins and violoncellos, divide the
supremacy between them. It is the region of song and smoke.
Street bands are on their mettle in Golden Square; and itinerant
glee-singers quaver involuntarily as they raise their voices within
its boundaries.

This would not seem a spot very well adapted to the transaction
of business; but Mr Ralph Nickleby had lived there,
notwithstanding, for many years, and uttered no complaint on that
score. He knew nobody round about, and nobody knew him,
although he enjoyed the reputation of being immensely rich. The
tradesmen held that he was a sort of lawyer, and the other

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