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had done for them since his departure from London.
‘You are out of spirits,’ said Smike, on the night after the letter
had been dispatched.
‘Not I!’ rejoined Nicholas, with assumed gaiety, for the
confession would have made the boy miserable all night; ‘I was
thinking about my sister, Smike.’
‘Is she like you?’ inquired Smike.
‘Why, so they say,’ replied Nicholas, laughing, ‘only a great deal
‘She must be very beautiful,’ said Smike, after thinking a little
while with his hands folded together, and his eyes bent upon his
‘Anybody who didn’t know you as well as I do, my dear fellow,
would say you were an accomplished courtier,’ said Nicholas.
‘I don’t even know what that is,’ replied Smike, shaking his
head. ‘Shall I ever see your sister?’
‘To be sure,’ cried Nicholas; ‘we shall all be together one of
these days--when we are rich, Smike.’
‘How is it that you, who are so kind and good to me, have
nobody to be kind to you?’ asked Smike. ‘I cannot make that out.’
‘Why, it is a long story,’ replied Nicholas, ‘and one you would
have some difficulty in comprehending, I fear. I have an enemy--
you understand what that is?’
‘Oh, yes, I understand that,’ said Smike.
‘Well, it is owing to him,’ returned Nicholas. ‘He is rich, and not
so easily punished as your old enemy, Mr Squeers. He is my uncle,
but he is a villain, and has done me wrong.’