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Chapter 19

Descriptive of a Dinner at Mr Ralph Nickleby’s, and
of the Manner in which the Company entertained
themselves, before Dinner, at Dinner, and after

The bile and rancour of the worthy Miss Knag undergoing
no diminution during the remainder of the week, but
rather augmenting with every successive hour; and the
honest ire of all the young ladies rising, or seeming to rise, in exact
proportion to the good spinster’s indignation, and both waxing
very hot every time Miss Nickleby was called upstairs; it will be
readily imagined that that young lady’s daily life was none of the
most cheerful or enviable kind. She hailed the arrival of Saturday
night, as a prisoner would a few delicious hours’ respite from slow
and wearing torture, and felt that the poor pittance for her first
week’s labour would have been dearly and hardly earned, had its
amount been trebled.

When she joined her mother, as usual, at the street corner, she
was not a little surprised to find her in conversation with Mr Ralph
Nickleby; but her surprise was soon redoubled, no less by the
matter of their conversation, than by the smoothed and altered
manner of Mr Nickleby himself.

‘Ah! my dear!’ said Ralph; ‘we were at that moment talking
about you.’

‘Indeed!’ replied Kate, shrinking, though she scarce knew why,
from her uncle’s cold glistening eye.

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