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warm glow upon the sky, marked where the huge city lay. Solitary
fields, divided by hedges and ditches, through many of which he
had crashed and scrambled in his flight, skirted the road, both by
the way he had come and upon the opposite side. It was late now.
They could scarcely trace him by such paths as he had taken, and
if he could hope to regain his own dwelling, it must surely be at
such a time as that, and under cover of the darkness. This, by
degrees, became pretty plain, even to the mind of Smike. He had,
at first, entertained some vague and childish idea of travelling into
the country for ten or a dozen miles, and then returning
homewards by a wide circuit, which should keep him clear of
London--so great was his apprehension of traversing the streets
alone, lest he should again encounter his dreaded enemy--but,
yielding to the conviction which these thoughts inspired, he
turned back, and taking the open road, though not without many
fears and misgivings, made for London again, with scarcely less
speed of foot than that with which he had left the temporary abode
of Mr Squeers.

By the time he re-entered it, at the western extremity, the
greater part of the shops were closed. Of the throngs of people
who had been tempted abroad after the heat of the day, but few
remained in the streets, and they were lounging home. But of
these he asked his way from time to time, and by dint of repeated
inquiries, he at length reached the dwelling of Newman Noggs.

All that evening, Newman had been hunting and searching in
byways and corners for the very person who now knocked at his
door, while Nicholas had been pursuing the same inquiry in other
directions. He was sitting, with a melancholy air, at his poor
supper, when Smike’s timorous and uncertain knock reached his

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