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Chapter 49

Chronicles the further Proceedings of the Nickleby
Family, and the Sequel of the Adventure of the

Gentleman in the Small-clothes.

While Nicholas, absorbed in the one engrossing subject of
interest which had recently opened upon him, occupied
his leisure hours with thoughts of Madeline Bray, and
in execution of the commissions which the anxiety of brother
Charles in her behalf imposed upon him, saw her again and again,
and each time with greater danger to his peace of mind and a
more weakening effect upon the lofty resolutions he had formed,
Mrs Nickleby and Kate continued to live in peace and quiet,
agitated by no other cares than those which were connected with
certain harassing proceedings taken by Mr Snawley for the
recovery of his son, and their anxiety for Smike himself, whose
health, long upon the wane, began to be so much affected by
apprehension and uncertainty as sometimes to occasion both them
and Nicholas considerable uneasiness, and even alarm.

It was no complaint or murmur on the part of the poor fellow
himself that thus disturbed them. Ever eager to be employed in
such slight services as he could render, and always anxious to
repay his benefactors with cheerful and happy looks, less friendly
eyes might have seen in him no cause for any misgiving. But there
were times, and often too, when the sunken eye was too bright, the
hollow cheek too flushed, the breath too thick and heavy in its
course, the frame too feeble and exhausted, to escape their regard

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