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ago, or less.’
Ralph glanced at the direction, opened the letter, and read as
‘You are known to me now. There are no reproaches I could
heap upon your head which would carry with them one
thousandth part of the grovelling shame that this assurance will
awaken even in your breast.
‘Your brother’s widow and her orphan child spurn the shelter
of your roof, and shun you with disgust and loathing. Your kindred
renounce you, for they know no shame but the ties of blood which
bind them in name with you.
‘You are an old man, and I leave you to the grave. May every
recollection of your life cling to your false heart, and cast their
darkness on your death-bed.’
Ralph Nickleby read this letter twice, and frowning heavily, fell
into a fit of musing; the paper fluttered from his hand and dropped
upon the floor, but he clasped his fingers, as if he held it still.
Suddenly, he started from his seat, and thrusting it all
crumpled into his pocket, turned furiously to Newman Noggs, as
though to ask him why he lingered. But Newman stood unmoved,
with his back towards him, following up, with the worn and
blackened stump of an old pen, some figures in an Interest-table
which was pasted against the wall, and apparently quite
abstracted from every other object.