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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens




392

Chapter 22

Nicholas, accompanied by Smike, sallies forth to
seek his Fortune. He encounters Mr Vincent
Crummles; and who he was, is herein made
manifest.

The whole capital which Nicholas found himself entitled to,
either in possession, reversion, remainder, or expectancy,
after paying his rent and settling with the broker from
whom he had hired his poor furniture, did not exceed, by more
than a few halfpence, the sum of twenty shillings. And yet he
hailed the morning on which he had resolved to quit London, with
a light heart, and sprang from his bed with an elasticity of spirit
which is happily the lot of young persons, or the world would
never be stocked with old ones.

It was a cold, dry, foggy morning in early spring. A few meagre
shadows flitted to and fro in the misty streets, and occasionally
there loomed through the dull vapour, the heavy outline of some
hackney coach wending homewards, which, drawing slowly
nearer, rolled jangling by, scattering the thin crust of frost from its
whitened roof, and soon was lost again in the cloud. At intervals
were heard the tread of slipshod feet, and the chilly cry of the poor
sweep as he crept, shivering, to his early toil; the heavy footfall of
the official watcher of the night, pacing slowly up and down and
cursing the tardy hours that still intervened between him and
sleep; the rambling of ponderous carts and waggons; the roll of the
lighter vehicles which carried buyers and sellers to the different


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