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to keep his snuff. The absence of any pocket at all in the usual
direction, suddenly recalled to his recollection the fact that he had
no waistcoat on; and this leading him to a contemplation of the
extreme scantiness of his attire, he shut the door abruptly, and
retired upstairs with great precipitation.

Smike had made good speed while Nicholas was absent, and
with his help everything was soon ready for their departure. They
scarcely stopped to take a morsel of breakfast, and in less than half
an hour arrived at the coach-office: quite out of breath with the
haste they had made to reach it in time. There were yet a few
minutes to spare, so, having secured the places, Nicholas hurried
into a slopseller’s hard by, and bought Smike a great-coat. It
would have been rather large for a substantial yeoman, but the
shopman averring (and with considerable truth) that it was a most
uncommon fit, Nicholas would have purchased it in his impatience
if it had been twice the size.

As they hurried up to the coach, which was now in the open
street and all ready for starting, Nicholas was not a little
astonished to find himself suddenly clutched in a close and violent
embrace, which nearly took him off his legs; nor was his
amazement at all lessened by hearing the voice of Mr Crummles
exclaim, ‘It is he--my friend, my friend!’

‘Bless my heart,’ cried Nicholas, struggling in the manager’s
arms, ‘what are you about?’

The manager made no reply, but strained him to his breast
again, exclaiming as he did so, ‘Farewell, my noble, my lion-
hearted boy!’

In fact, Mr Crummles, who could never lose any opportunity for
professional display, had turned out for the express purpose of

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