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should take. And so all good angels bless you, Kate, till I can carry
you to some home of mine, where we may revive the happiness
denied to us now, and talk of these trials as of things gone by. Do
not keep me here, but let me go at once. There. Dear girl--dear

The grasp which had detained him relaxed, and Kate swooned
in his arms. Nicholas stooped over her for a few seconds, and
placing her gently in a chair, confided her to their honest friend.

‘I need not entreat your sympathy,’ he said, wringing her hand,
‘for I know your nature. You will never forget them.’

He stepped up to Ralph, who remained in the same attitude
which he had preserved throughout the interview, and moved not
a finger.

‘Whatever step you take, sir,’ he said, in a voice inaudible
beyond themselves, ‘I shall keep a strict account of. I leave them to
you, at your desire. There will be a day of reckoning sooner or
later, and it will be a heavy one for you if they are wronged.’

Ralph did not allow a muscle of his face to indicate that he
heard one word of this parting address. He hardly knew that it was
concluded, and Mrs Nickleby had scarcely made up her mind to
detain her son by force if necessary, when Nicholas was gone.

As he hurried through the streets to his obscure lodging,
seeking to keep pace, as it were, with the rapidity of the thoughts
which crowded upon him, many doubts and hesitations arose in
his mind, and almost tempted him to return. But what would they
gain by this? Supposing he were to put Ralph Nickleby at
defiance, and were even fortunate enough to obtain some small
employment, his being with them could only render their present
condition worse, and might greatly impair their future prospects;

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