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Chapter 46

Throws some Light upon Nicholas’s Love; but
whether for Good or Evil the Reader must

After an anxious consideration of the painful and
embarrassing position in which he was placed, Nicholas
decided that he ought to lose no time in frankly stating it
to the kind brothers. Availing himself of the first opportunity of
being alone with Mr Charles Cheeryble at the close of next day, he
accordingly related Smike’s little history, and modestly but firmly
expressed his hope that the good old gentleman would, under such
circumstances as he described, hold him justified in adopting the
extreme course of interfering between parent and child, and
upholding the latter in his disobedience; even though his horror
and dread of his father might seem, and would doubtless be
represented as, a thing so repulsive and unnatural, as to render
those who countenanced him in it, fit objects of general
detestation and abhorrence.

‘So deeply rooted does this horror of the man appear to be,’ said
Nicholas, ‘that I can hardly believe he really is his son. Nature
does not seem to have implanted in his breast one lingering feeling
of affection for him, and surely she can never err.’

‘My dear sir,’ replied brother Charles, ‘you fall into the very
common mistake of charging upon Nature, matters with which she
has not the smallest connection, and for which she is in no way
responsible. Men talk of Nature as an abstract thing, and lose sight

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