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which, his countenance immediately fell again as he inquired, with
the utmost anxiety, whether it was probable that John Browdie
and Squeers had come to blows.
‘No! I think not,’ replied Smike. ‘I don’t think he could have
missed me till I had got quite away.’
Newman scratched his head with a shout of great
disappointment, and once more lifting up the mug, applied himself
to the contents; smiling meanwhile, over the rim, with a grim and
ghastly smile at Smike.
‘You shall stay here,’ said Newman; ‘you’re tired--fagged. I’ll
tell them you’re come back. They have been half mad about you.
‘God bless him!’ cried Smike.
‘Amen!’ returned Newman. ‘He hasn’t had a minute’s rest or
peace; no more has the old lady, nor Miss Nickleby.’
‘No, no. Has she thought about me?’ said Smike. ‘Has she
though? oh, has she, has she? Don’t tell me so if she has not.’
‘She has,’ cried Newman. ‘She is as noble-hearted as she is
‘Yes, yes!’ cried Smike. ‘Well said!’
‘So mild and gentle,’ said Newman.
‘Yes, yes!’ cried Smike, with increasing eagerness.
‘And yet with such a true and gallant spirit,’ pursued Newman.
He was going on, in his enthusiasm, when, chancing to look at
his companion, he saw that he had covered his face with his
hands, and that tears were stealing out between his fingers.
A moment before, the boy’s eyes were sparkling with unwonted
fire, and every feature had been lighted up with an excitement
which made him appear, for the moment, quite a different being.