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and (his sanguine imagination warming as he spoke) entered into
a fervent and glowing description of all the honours and
advantages to be derived from his appointment at that seat of
learning, Dotheboys Hall.

‘But, what’s the matter--are you ill?’ said Nicholas, suddenly
breaking off, as his companion, after throwing himself into a
variety of uncouth attitudes, thrust his hands under the stool, and
cracked his finger-joints as if he were snapping all the bones in his

Newman Noggs made no reply, but went on shrugging his
shoulders and cracking his finger-joints; smiling horribly all the
time, and looking steadfastly at nothing, out of the tops of his eyes,
in a most ghastly manner.

At first, Nicholas thought the mysterious man was in a fit, but,
on further consideration, decided that he was in liquor, under
which circumstances he deemed it prudent to make off at once. He
looked back when he had got the street-door open. Newman
Noggs was still indulging in the same extraordinary gestures, and
the cracking of his fingers sounded louder that ever.

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