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lingered on till the hour of separating for the night was long past;
and then they found that they might as well have given vent to
their real feelings before, for they could not suppress them, do
what they would. So, they let them have their way, and even that
was a relief.
Nicholas slept well till six next morning; dreamed of home, or of
what was home once--no matter which, for things that are
changed or gone will come back as they used to be, thank God! in
sleep--and rose quite brisk and gay. He wrote a few lines in
pencil, to say the goodbye which he was afraid to pronounce
himself, and laying them, with half his scanty stock of money, at
his sister’s door, shouldered his box and crept softly downstairs.
‘Is that you, Hannah?’ cried a voice from Miss La Creevy’s
sitting-room, whence shone the light of a feeble candle.
‘It is I, Miss La Creevy,’ said Nicholas, putting down the box
and looking in.
‘Bless us!’ exclaimed Miss La Creevy, starting and putting her
hand to her curl-papers. ‘You’re up very early, Mr Nickleby.’
‘So are you,’ replied Nicholas.
‘It’s the fine arts that bring me out of bed, Mr Nickleby,’
returned the lady. ‘I’m waiting for the light to carry out an idea.’
Miss La Creevy had got up early to put a fancy nose into a
miniature of an ugly little boy, destined for his grandmother in the
country, who was expected to bequeath him property if he was
like the family.
‘To carry out an idea,’ repeated Miss La Creevy; ‘and that’s the
great convenience of living in a thoroughfare like the Strand.
When I want a nose or an eye for any particular sitter, I have only
to look out of window and wait till I get one.’