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of thought took to flight, all simultaneously, and in an instant.

After a few minutes, Ralph rang his bell. Newman answered the
summons, and Ralph raised his eyes stealthily to his face, as if he
almost feared to read there, a knowledge of his recent thoughts.

There was not the smallest speculation, however, in the
countenance of Newman Noggs. If it be possible to imagine a man,
with two eyes in his head, and both wide open, looking in no
direction whatever, and seeing nothing, Newman appeared to be
that man while Ralph Nickleby regarded him.

‘How now?’ growled Ralph.
‘Oh!’ said Newman, throwing some intelligence into his eyes all
at once, and dropping them on his master, ‘I thought you rang.’
With which laconic remark Newman turned round and hobbled

‘Stop!’ said Ralph.
Newman stopped; not at all disconcerted.
‘I did ring.’

‘I knew you did.’
‘Then why do you offer to go if you know that?’
‘I thought you rang to say you didn’t ring” replied Newman.
‘You often do.’

‘How dare you pry, and peer, and stare at me, sirrah?’
demanded Ralph.

‘Stare!’ cried Newman, ‘at you! Ha, ha!’ which was all the
explanation Newman deigned to offer.

‘Be careful, sir,’ said Ralph, looking steadily at him. ‘Let me
have no drunken fooling here. Do you see this parcel?’

‘It’s big enough,’ rejoined Newman.
‘Carry it into the city; to Cross, in Broad Street, and leave it

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