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will perform the double duty that is imposed upon me most
scrupulously and strictly. My secret feelings deserve no
consideration in such a case as this, and they shall have none.í

Still, there were the secret feelings in existence just the same,
and in secret Nicholas rather encouraged them than otherwise;
reasoning (if he reasoned at all) that there they could do no harm
to anybody but himself, and that if he kept them to himself from a
sense of duty, he had an additional right to entertain himself with
them as a reward for his heroism.

All these thoughts, coupled with what he had seen that morning
and the anticipation of his next visit, rendered him a very dull and
abstracted companion; so much so, indeed, that Tim Linkinwater
suspected he must have made the mistake of a figure somewhere,
which was preying upon his mind, and seriously conjured him, if
such were the case, to make a clean breast and scratch it out,
rather than have his whole life embittered by the tortures of

But in reply to these considerate representations, and many
others both from Tim and Mr Frank, Nicholas could only be
brought to state that he was never merrier in his life; and so went
on all day, and so went towards home at night, still turning over
and over again the same subjects, thinking over and over again the
same things, and arriving over and over again at the same

In this pensive, wayward, and uncertain state, people are apt to
lounge and loiter without knowing why, to read placards on the
walls with great attention and without the smallest idea of one
word of their contents, and to stare most earnestly through shop-
windows at things which they donít see. It was thus that Nicholas

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