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‘No; but do you think so, Kate?’ said Mrs Nickleby, with as
much gravity as if it were a question of the most imminent and
thrilling interest. ‘If you don’t, say so at once, you know; because
it’s just as well to be correct, particularly on a point of this kind,
which is very curious and worth settling while one thinks about it.’

Kate laughingly replied that she was quite convinced; and as
her mama still appeared undetermined whether it was not
absolutely essential that the subject should be renewed, proposed
that they should take their work into the summer-house, and enjoy
the beauty of the afternoon. Mrs Nickleby readily assented, and to
the summer-house they repaired, without further discussion.

‘Well, I will say,’ observed Mrs Nickleby, as she took her seat,
‘that there never was such a good creature as Smike. Upon my
word, the pains he has taken in putting this little arbour to rights,
and training the sweetest flowers about it, are beyond anything I
could have--I wish he wouldn’t put all the gravel on your side,
Kate, my dear, though, and leave nothing but mould for me.’

‘Dear mama,’ returned Kate, hastily, ‘take this seat--do--to
oblige me, mama.’

‘No, indeed, my dear. I shall keep my own side,’ said Mrs
Nickleby. ‘Well! I declare!’

Kate looked up inquiringly.
‘If he hasn’t been,’ said Mrs Nickleby, ‘and got, from
somewhere or other, a couple of roots of those flowers that I said I
was so fond of, the other night, and asked you if you were not--no,
that you said you were so fond of, the other night, and asked me if I
wasn’t--it’s the same thing. Now, upon my word, I take that as
very kind and attentive indeed! I don’t see,’ added Mrs Nickleby,
looking narrowly about her, ‘any of them on my side, but I suppose

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