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for his mother had spoken of some new kindnesses towards Kate
which she had not denied. ‘No,’ thought Nicholas, ‘I have acted for
the best.’

But, before he had gone five hundred yards, some other and
different feeling would come upon him, and then he would lag
again, and pulling his hat over his eyes, give way to the
melancholy reflections which pressed thickly upon him. To have
committed no fault, and yet to be so entirely alone in the world; to
be separated from the only persons he loved, and to be proscribed
like a criminal, when six months ago he had been surrounded by
every comfort, and looked up to, as the chief hope of his family--
this was hard to bear. He had not deserved it either. Well, there
was comfort in that; and poor Nicholas would brighten up again,
to be again depressed, as his quickly shifting thoughts presented
every variety of light and shade before him.

Undergoing these alternations of hope and misgiving, which no
one, placed in a situation of ordinary trial, can fail to have
experienced, Nicholas at length reached his poor room, where, no
longer borne up by the excitement which had hitherto sustained
him, but depressed by the revulsion of feeling it left behind, he
threw himself on the bed, and turning his face to the wall, gave
free vent to the emotions he had so long stifled.

He had not heard anybody enter, and was unconscious of the
presence of Smike, until, happening to raise his head, he saw him,
standing at the upper end of the room, looking wistfully towards
him. He withdrew his eyes when he saw that he was observed, and
affected to be busied with some scanty preparations for dinner.

‘Well, Smike,’ said Nicholas, as cheerfully as he could speak, ‘let
me hear what new acquaintances you have made this morning, or

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