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upstairs, and was now intent on fastening his apron.

‘Is Madame Mantalini in?’ faltered Kate.
‘Not often out at this time, miss,’ replied the man in a tone
which rendered “Miss,” something more offensive than “My dear.”

‘Can I see her?’ asked Kate.
‘Eh?’ replied the man, holding the door in his hand, and
honouring the inquirer with a stare and a broad grin, ‘Lord, no.’

‘I came by her own appointment,’ said Kate; ‘I am--I am--to be
employed here.’

‘Oh! you should have rung the worker’s bell,’ said the footman,
touching the handle of one in the door-post. ‘Let me see, though, I
forgot--Miss Nickleby, is it?’

‘Yes,’ replied Kate.
‘You’re to walk upstairs then, please,’ said the man. ‘Madame
Mantalini wants to see you--this way--take care of these things on
the floor.’

Cautioning her, in these terms, not to trip over a heterogeneous
litter of pastry-cook’s trays, lamps, waiters full of glasses, and piles
of rout seats which were strewn about the hall, plainly bespeaking
a late party on the previous night, the man led the way to the
second story, and ushered Kate into a back-room, communicating
by folding-doors with the apartment in which she had first seen
the mistress of the establishment.

‘If you’ll wait here a minute,’ said the man, ‘I’ll tell her
presently.’ Having made this promise with much affability, he
retired and left Kate alone.

There was not much to amuse in the room; of which the most
attractive feature was, a half-length portrait in oil, of Mr Mantalini,
whom the artist had depicted scratching his head in an easy

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