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‘Oh that, indeed, Nicholas, my dear,’ returned Mrs Nickleby,
‘that’s another thing. If you put it upon that ground, why, of
course, I have no more to say, than that I have no doubt they are
very good sort of persons, and that I have no kind of objection to
their coming here to tea if they like, and shall make a point of
being very civil to them if they do.’

The point being thus effectually set at rest, and Mrs Nickleby
duly placed in the patronising and mildly-condescending position
which became her rank and matrimonial years, Mr and Mrs
Browdie were invited and came; and as they were very deferential
to Mrs Nickleby, and seemed to have a becoming appreciation of
her greatness, and were very much pleased with everything, the
good lady had more than once given Kate to understand, in a
whisper, that she thought they were the very best-meaning people
she had ever seen, and perfectly well behaved.

And thus it came to pass, that John Browdie declared, in the
parlour after supper, to wit, and twenty minutes before eleven
o’clock p.m., that he had never been so happy in all his days.

Nor was Mrs Browdie much behind her husband in this
respect, for that young matron, whose rustic beauty contrasted
very prettily with the more delicate loveliness of Kate, and without
suffering by the contrast either, for each served as it were to set off
and decorate the other, could not sufficiently admire the gentle
and winning manners of the young lady, or the engaging affability
of the elder one. Then Kate had the art of turning the conversation
to subjects upon which the country girl, bashful at first in strange
company, could feel herself at home; and if Mrs Nickleby was not
quite so felicitous at times in the selection of topics of discourse, or
if she did seem, as Mrs Browdie expressed it, ‘rather high in her

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