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with sympathising faces, proceeded to bear her out.

‘Nickleby,’ said Mr Mantalini in tears, ‘you have been made a
witness to this demnition cruelty, on the part of the demdest
enslaver and captivator that never was, oh dem! I forgive that

‘Forgive!’ repeated Madame Mantalini, angrily.
‘I do forgive her, Nickleby,’ said Mr Mantalini. ‘You will blame
me, the world will blame me, the women will blame me; everybody
will laugh, and scoff, and smile, and grin most demnebly. They will
say, “She had a blessing. She did not know it. He was too weak; he
was too good; he was a dem’d fine fellow, but he loved too strong;
he could not bear her to be cross, and call him wicked names. It
was a dem’d case, there never was a demder.” But I forgive her.’

With this affecting speech Mr Mantalini fell down again very
flat, and lay to all appearance without sense or motion, until all the
females had left the room, when he came cautiously into a sitting
posture, and confronted Ralph with a very blank face, and the
little bottle still in one hand and the tea-spoon in the other.

‘You may put away those fooleries now, and live by your wits
again,’ said Ralph, coolly putting on his hat.

‘Demmit, Nickleby, you’re not serious?’
‘I seldom joke,’ said Ralph. ‘Good-night.’
‘No, but Nickleby--’ said Mantalini.

‘I am wrong, perhaps,’ rejoined Ralph. ‘I hope so. You should
know best. Good-night.’

Affecting not to hear his entreaties that he would stay and
advise with him, Ralph left the crest-fallen Mr Mantalini to his
meditations, and left the house quietly.

‘Oho!’ he said, ‘sets the wind that way so soon? Half knave and

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