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After this, brother Charles, who had talked himself into a great
heat, stopped to cool a little, and then continued:
‘I dare say you are surprised, my dear sir, that I have listened to
your recital with so little astonishment. That is easily explained.
Your uncle has been here this morning.’
Nicholas coloured, and drew back a step or two.
‘Yes,’ said the old gentleman, tapping his desk emphatically,
‘here, in this room. He would listen neither to reason, feeling, nor
justice. But brother Ned was hard upon him; brother Ned, sir,
might have melted a paving-stone.’
‘He came to--’ said Nicholas.
‘To complain of you,’ returned brother Charles, ‘to poison our
ears with calumnies and falsehoods; but he came on a fruitless
errand, and went away with some wholesome truths in his ear
besides. Brother Ned, my dear My Nickleby--brother Ned, sir, is a
perfect lion. So is Tim Linkinwater; Tim is quite a lion. We had
Tim in to face him at first, and Tim was at him, sir, before you
could say “Jack Robinson.”’
‘How can I ever thank you for all the deep obligations you
impose upon me every day?’ said Nicholas.
‘By keeping silence upon the subject, my dear sir,’ returned
brother Charles. ‘You shall be righted. At least you shall not be
wronged. Nobody belonging to you shall be wronged. They shall
not hurt a hair of your head, or the boy’s head, or your mother’s
head, or your sister’s head. I have said it, brother Ned has said it,
Tim Linkinwater has said it. We have all said it, and we’ll all do it.
I have seen the father--if he is the father--and I suppose he must
be. He is a barbarian and a hypocrite, Mr Nickleby. I told him,
“You are a barbarian, sir.” I did. I said, “You’re a barbarian, sir.”