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Chapter 41

Containing some Romantic Passages between Mrs
Nickleby and the Gentleman in the Small-clothes
next Door.

Ever since her last momentous conversation with her son,
Mrs Nickleby had begun to display unusual care in the
adornment of her person, gradually superadding to those
staid and matronly habiliments, which had, up to that time,
formed her ordinary attire, a variety of embellishments and
decorations, slight perhaps in themselves, but, taken together, and
considered with reference to the subject of her disclosure, of no
mean importance. Even her black dress assumed something of a
deadly-lively air from the jaunty style in which it was worn; and,
eked out as its lingering attractions were; by a prudent disposal,
here and there, of certain juvenile ornaments of little or no value,
which had, for that reason alone, escaped the general wreck and
been permitted to slumber peacefully in odd corners of old
drawers and boxes where daylight seldom shone, her mourning
garments assumed quite a new character. From being the outward
tokens of respect and sorrow for the dead, they became converted
into signals of very slaughterous and killing designs upon the

Mrs Nickleby might have been stimulated to this proceeding by
a lofty sense of duty, and impulses of unquestionable excellence.
She might, by this time, have become impressed with the
sinfulness of long indulgence in unavailing woe, or the necessity of

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