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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens




897

and notice.

There is a dread disease which so prepares its victim, as it were,
for death; which so refines it of its grosser aspect, and throws
around familiar looks unearthly indications of the coming change;
a dread disease, in which the struggle between soul and body is so
gradual, quiet, and solemn, and the result so sure, that day by day,
and grain by grain, the mortal part wastes and withers away, so
that the spirit grows light and sanguine with its lightening load,
and, feeling immortality at hand, deems it but a new term of
mortal life; a disease in which death and life are so strangely
blended, that death takes the glow and hue of life, and life the
gaunt and grisly form of death; a disease which medicine never
cured, wealth never warded off, or poverty could boast exemption
from; which sometimes moves in giant strides, and sometimes at a
tardy sluggish pace, but, slow or quick, is ever sure and certain.

It was with some faint reference in his own mind to this
disorder, though he would by no means admit it, even to himself,
that Nicholas had already carried his faithful companion to a
physician of great repute. There was no cause for immediate
alarm, he said. There were no present symptoms which could be
deemed conclusive. The constitution had been greatly tried and
injured in childhood, but still it might not be--and that was all.

But he seemed to grow no worse, and, as it was not difficult to
find a reason for these symptoms of illness in the shock and
agitation he had recently undergone, Nicholas comforted himself
with the hope that his poor friend would soon recover. This hope
his mother and sister shared with him; and as the object of their
joint solicitude seemed to have no uneasiness or despondency for
himself, but each day answered with a quiet smile that he felt


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