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markets; the sound of ineffectual knocking at the doors of heavy
sleepers--all these noises fell upon the ear from time to time, but
all seemed muffled by the fog, and to be rendered almost as
indistinct to the ear as was every object to the sight. The sluggish
darkness thickened as the day came on; and those who had the
courage to rise and peep at the gloomy street from their curtained
windows, crept back to bed again, and coiled themselves up to

Before even these indications of approaching morning were rife
in busy London, Nicholas had made his way alone to the city, and
stood beneath the windows of his mother’s house. It was dull and
bare to see, but it had light and life for him; for there was at least
one heart within its old walls to which insult or dishonour would
bring the same blood rushing, that flowed in his own veins.

He crossed the road, and raised his eyes to the window of the
room where he knew his sister slept. It was closed and dark. ‘Poor
girl,’ thought Nicholas, ‘she little thinks who lingers here!’ He
looked again, and felt, for the moment, almost vexed that Kate was
not there to exchange one word at parting. ‘Good God!’ he
thought, suddenly correcting himself, ‘what a boy I am!’

‘It is better as it is,’ said Nicholas, after he had lounged on, a
few paces, and returned to the same spot. ‘When I left them
before, and could have said goodbye a thousand times if I had
chosen, I spared them the pain of leave-taking, and why not now?’
As he spoke, some fancied motion of the curtain almost persuaded
him, for the instant, that Kate was at the window, and by one of
those strange contradictions of feeling which are common to us all,
he shrunk involuntarily into a doorway, that she might not see
him. He smiled at his own weakness; said ‘God bless them!’ and

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