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the slightest effort.’

‘I will do anything,’ replied Kate, ‘if you will only send me

‘Well, well, I will,’ said Ralph; ‘but you must get back your own
looks; for those you have, will frighten them, and nobody must
know of this but you and I. Now let us walk the other way. There.
You look better even now.’

With such encouragements as these, Ralph Nickleby walked to
and fro, with his niece leaning on his arm; actually trembling
beneath her touch.

In the same manner, when he judged it prudent to allow her to
depart, he supported her downstairs, after adjusting her shawl
and performing such little offices, most probably for the first time
in his life. Across the hall, and down the steps, Ralph led her too;
nor did he withdraw his hand until she was seated in the coach.

As the door of the vehicle was roughly closed, a comb fell from
Kate’s hair, close at her uncle’s feet; and as he picked it up, and
returned it into her hand, the light from a neighbouring lamp
shone upon her face. The lock of hair that had escaped and curled
loosely over her brow, the traces of tears yet scarcely dry, the
flushed cheek, the look of sorrow, all fired some dormant train of
recollection in the old man’s breast; and the face of his dead
brother seemed present before him, with the very look it bore on
some occasion of boyish grief, of which every minutest
circumstance flashed upon his mind, with the distinctness of a
scene of yesterday.

Ralph Nickleby, who was proof against all appeals of blood and
kindred--who was steeled against every tale of sorrow and
distress--staggered while he looked, and went back into his house,

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