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often asked me about. Is this your Yorkshire gallantry? For
shame! for shame!’

Smike brightened up and smiled.
‘When I talk of home,’ pursued Nicholas, ‘I talk of mine--which
is yours of course. If it were defined by any particular four walls
and a roof, God knows I should be sufficiently puzzled to say
whereabouts it lay; but that is not what I mean. When I speak of
home, I speak of the place where--in default of a better--those I
love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy’s tent, or
a barn, I should call it by the same good name notwithstanding.
And now, for what is my present home, which, however alarming
your expectations may be, will neither terrify you by its extent nor
its magnificence!’

So saying, Nicholas took his companion by the arm, and saying
a great deal more to the same purpose, and pointing out various
things to amuse and interest him as they went along, led the way
to Miss La Creevy’s house.

‘And this, Kate,’ said Nicholas, entering the room where his
sister sat alone, ‘is the faithful friend and affectionate fellow-
traveller whom I prepared you to receive.’

Poor Smike was bashful, and awkward, and frightened enough,
at first, but Kate advanced towards him so kindly, and said, in
such a sweet voice, how anxious she had been to see him after all
her brother had told her, and how much she had to thank him for
having comforted Nicholas so greatly in their very trying reverses,
that he began to be very doubtful whether he should shed tears or
not, and became still more flurried. However, he managed to say,
in a broken voice, that Nicholas was his only friend, and that he
would lay down his life to help him; and Kate, although she was so

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