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the taste of the liquor having by this time evaporated, recurred to
his grievance again.

‘Five minutes to three,’ growled Newman; ‘it can’t want more
by this time; and I had my breakfast at eight o’clock, and such a
breakfast! and my right dinner-time two! And I might have a nice
little bit of hot roast meat spoiling at home all this time--how does
he know I haven’t? “Don’t go till I come back,” “Don’t go till I
come back,” day after day. What do you always go out at my
dinner-time for then--eh? Don’t you know it’s nothing but

These words, though uttered in a very loud key, were addressed
to nothing but empty air. The recital of his wrongs, however,
seemed to have the effect of making Newman Noggs desperate; for
he flattened his old hat upon his head, and drawing on the
everlasting gloves, declared with great vehemence, that come
what might, he would go to dinner that very minute.

Carrying this resolution into instant effect, he had advanced as
far as the passage, when the sound of the latch-key in the street
door caused him to make a precipitate retreat into his own office

‘Here he is,’ growled Newman, ‘and somebody with him. Now
it’ll be “Stop till this gentleman’s gone.” But I won’t. That’s flat.’

So saying, Newman slipped into a tall empty closet which
opened with two half doors, and shut himself up; intending to slip
out directly Ralph was safe inside his own room.

‘Noggs!’ cried Ralph, ‘where is that fellow, Noggs?’
But not a word said Newman.

‘The dog has gone to his dinner, though I told him not,’
muttered Ralph, looking into the office, and pulling out his watch.

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