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‘Oh you naughty thing!’ rejoined Miss Snevellicci. ‘I don’t know
though, that I should much mind his knowing my opinion of him;
with some other people, indeed, it might be--’ Here Miss
Snevellicci stopped, as though waiting to be questioned, but no
questioning came, for Nicholas was thinking about more serious

‘How kind it is of you,’ resumed Miss Snevellicci, after a short
silence, ‘to sit waiting here for him night after night, night after
night, no matter how tired you are; and taking so much pains with
him, and doing it all with as much delight and readiness as if you
were coining gold by it!’

‘He well deserves all the kindness I can show him, and a great
deal more,’ said Nicholas. ‘He is the most grateful, single-hearted,
affectionate creature that ever breathed.’

‘So odd, too,’ remarked Miss Snevellicci, ‘isn’t he?’
‘God help him, and those who have made him so; he is indeed,’
rejoined Nicholas, shaking his head.

‘He is such a devilish close chap,’ said Mr Folair, who had come
up a little before, and now joined in the conversation. ‘Nobody can
ever get anything out of him.’

‘What should they get out of him?’ asked Nicholas, turning
round with some abruptness.

‘Zooks! what a fire-eater you are, Johnson!’ returned Mr Folair,
pulling up the heel of his dancing shoe. ‘I’m only talking of the
natural curiosity of the people here, to know what he has been
about all his life.’

‘Poor fellow! it is pretty plain, I should think, that he has not the
intellect to have been about anything of much importance to them
or anybody else,’ said Nicholas.

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