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‘Humph!’ You had better come in here, Gride. My man’s out, and
the sun is hot upon my room. This is cool and in the shade, if you
don’t mind roughing it.’

‘Not at all, Mr Nickleby, oh not at all! All places are alike to me,
sir. Ah! very nice indeed. Oh! very nice!’

The parson who made this reply was a little old man, of about
seventy or seventy-five years of age, of a very lean figure, much
bent and slightly twisted. He wore a grey coat with a very narrow
collar, an old-fashioned waistcoat of ribbed black silk, and such
scanty trousers as displayed his shrunken spindle-shanks in their
full ugliness. The only articles of display or ornament in his dress
were a steel watch-chain to which were attached some large gold
seals; and a black ribbon into which, in compliance with an old
fashion scarcely ever observed in these days, his grey hair was
gathered behind. His nose and chin were sharp and prominent,
his jaws had fallen inwards from loss of teeth, his face was
shrivelled and yellow, save where the cheeks were streaked with
the colour of a dry winter apple; and where his beard had been,
there lingered yet a few grey tufts which seemed, like the ragged
eyebrows, to denote the badness of the soil from which they
sprung. The whole air and attitude of the form was one of stealthy
cat-like obsequiousness; the whole expression of the face was
concentrated in a wrinkled leer, compounded of cunning,
lecherousness, slyness, and avarice.

Such was old Arthur Gride, in whose face there was not a
wrinkle, in whose dress there was not one spare fold or plait, but
expressed the most covetous and griping penury, and sufficiently
indicated his belonging to that class of which Ralph Nickleby was
a member. Such was old Arthur Gride, as he sat in a low chair

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