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and being informed that the governing power was not yet out of
bed, requested an interview with the second in command;
whereupon Miss Knag appeared.

‘So far as I am concerned,’ said Miss Knag, when the message
had been delivered, with many ornaments of speech; ‘I could
spare Miss Nickleby for evermore.’

‘Oh, indeed, ma’am!’ rejoined Miss La Creevy, highly offended.
‘But, you see, you are not mistress of the business, and therefore
it’s of no great consequence.’

‘Very good, ma’am,’ said Miss Knag. ‘Have you any further
commands for me?’

‘No, I have not, ma’am,’ rejoined Miss La Creevy.
‘Then good-morning, ma’am,’ said Miss Knag.
‘Good-morning to you, ma’am; and many obligations for your
extreme politeness and good breeding,’ rejoined Miss La Creevy.

Thus terminating the interview, during which both ladies had
trembled very much, and been marvellously polite--certain
indications that they were within an inch of a very desperate
quarrel--Miss La Creevy bounced out of the room, and into the

‘I wonder who that is,’ said the queer little soul. ‘A nice person
to know, I should think! I wish I had the painting of her: I’D do her
justice.’ So, feeling quite satisfied that she had said a very cutting
thing at Miss Knag’s expense, Miss La Creevy had a hearty laugh,
and went home to breakfast in great good humour.

Here was one of the advantages of having lived alone so long!
The little bustling, active, cheerful creature existed entirely within
herself, talked to herself, made a confidante of herself, was as
sarcastic as she could be, on people who offended her, by herself;

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