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immeasurable delight and admiration of all the readers thereof.
Kate’s picture, too, would be in at least half-a-dozen of the
annuals, and on the opposite page would appear, in delicate type,
‘Lines on contemplating the Portrait of Lady Mulberry Hawk. By
Sir Dingleby Dabber.’ Perhaps some one annual, of more
comprehensive design than its fellows, might even contain a
portrait of the mother of Lady Mulberry Hawk, with lines by the
father of Sir Dingleby Dabber. More unlikely things had come to
pass. Less interesting portraits had appeared. As this thought
occurred to the good lady, her countenance unconsciously
assumed that compound expression of simpering and sleepiness
which, being common to all such portraits, is perhaps one reason
why they are always so charming and agreeable.

With such triumphs of aerial architecture did Mrs Nickleby
occupy the whole evening after her accidental introduction to
Ralph’s titled friends; and dreams, no less prophetic and equally
promising, haunted her sleep that night. She was preparing for
her frugal dinner next day, still occupied with the same ideas--a
little softened down perhaps by sleep and daylight--when the girl
who attended her, partly for company, and partly to assist in the
household affairs, rushed into the room in unwonted agitation,
and announced that two gentlemen were waiting in the passage
for permission to walk upstairs.

‘Bless my heart!’ cried Mrs Nickleby, hastily arranging her cap
and front, ‘if it should be--dear me, standing in the passage all this
time--why don’t you go and ask them to walk up, you stupid

While the girl was gone on this errand, Mrs Nickleby hastily
swept into a cupboard all vestiges of eating and drinking; which

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