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Ralph Nickleby was not a man of this stamp. Stern, unyielding,
dogged, and impenetrable, Ralph cared for nothing in life, or
beyond it, save the gratification of two passions, avarice, the first
and predominant appetite of his nature, and hatred, the second.
Affecting to consider himself but a type of all humanity, he was at
little pains to conceal his true character from the world in general,
and in his own heart he exulted over and cherished every bad
design as it had birth. The only scriptural admonition that Ralph
Nickleby heeded, in the letter, was ‘know thyself.’ He knew
himself well, and choosing to imagine that all mankind were cast
in the same mould, hated them; for, though no man hates himself,
the coldest among us having too much self-love for that, yet most
men unconsciously judge the world from themselves, and it will be
very generally found that those who sneer habitually at human
nature, and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least
pleasant samples.

But the present business of these adventures is with Ralph
himself, who stood regarding Newman Noggs with a heavy frown,
while that worthy took off his fingerless gloves, and spreading
them carefully on the palm of his left hand, and flattening them
with his right to take the creases out, proceeded to roll them up
with an absent air as if he were utterly regardless of all things else,
in the deep interest of the ceremonial.

‘Gone out of town!’ said Ralph, slowly. ‘A mistake of yours. Go
back again.’

‘No mistake,’ returned Newman. ‘Not even going; gone.’
‘Has he turned girl or baby?’ muttered Ralph, with a fretful

‘I don’t know,’ said Newman, ‘but he’s gone.’

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