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Chapter 33

In which Mr Ralph Nickleby is relieved, by a very
expeditious Process, from all Commerce with his

Smike and Newman Noggs, who in his impatience had
returned home long before the time agreed upon, sat
before the fire, listening anxiously to every footstep on the
stairs, and the slightest sound that stirred within the house, for the
approach of Nicholas. Time had worn on, and it was growing late.
He had promised to be back in an hour; and his prolonged
absence began to excite considerable alarm in the minds of both,
as was abundantly testified by the blank looks they cast upon each
other at every new disappointment.

At length a coach was heard to stop, and Newman ran out to
light Nicholas up the stairs. Beholding him in the trim described
at the conclusion of the last chapter, he stood aghast in wonder
and consternation.

‘Don’t be alarmed,’ said Nicholas, hurrying him back into the
room. ‘There is no harm done, beyond what a basin of water can

‘No harm!’ cried Newman, passing his hands hastily over the
back and arms of Nicholas, as if to assure himself that he had
broken no bones. ‘What have you been doing?’

‘I know all,’ interrupted Nicholas; ‘I have heard a part, and
guessed the rest. But before I remove one jot of these stains, I
must hear the whole from you. You see I am collected. My

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