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kind and considerate, seemed to be so wholly unconscious of his
distress and embarrassment, that he recovered almost
immediately and felt quite at home.

Then, Miss La Creevy came in; and to her Smike had to be
presented also. And Miss La Creevy was very kind too, and
wonderfully talkative: not to Smike, for that would have made him
uneasy at first, but to Nicholas and his sister. Then, after a time,
she would speak to Smike himself now and then, asking him
whether he was a judge of likenesses, and whether he thought that
picture in the corner was like herself, and whether he didn’t think
it would have looked better if she had made herself ten years
younger, and whether he didn’t think, as a matter of general
observation, that young ladies looked better not only in pictures,
but out of them too, than old ones; with many more small jokes
and facetious remarks, which were delivered with such good-
humour and merriment, that Smike thought, within himself, she
was the nicest lady he had ever seen; even nicer than Mrs
Grudden, of Mr Vincent Crummles’s theatre; and she was a nice
lady too, and talked, perhaps more, but certainly louder, than Miss
La Creevy.

At length the door opened again, and a lady in mourning came
in; and Nicholas kissing the lady in mourning affectionately, and
calling her his mother, led her towards the chair from which
Smike had risen when she entered the room.

‘You are always kind-hearted, and anxious to help the
oppressed, my dear mother,’ said Nicholas, ‘so you will be
favourably disposed towards him, I know.’

‘I am sure, my dear Nicholas,’ replied Mrs Nickleby, looking
very hard at her new friend, and bending to him with something

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