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trust and confidence, bestowed upon him every day some new and
substantial mark of kindness, they were not less mindful of those
who depended on him. Various little presents to Mrs Nickleby,
always of the very things they most required, tended in no slight
degree to the improvement and embellishment of the cottage.
Kate’s little store of trinkets became quite dazzling; and for
company! If brother Charles and brother Ned failed to look in for
at least a few minutes every Sunday, or one evening in the week,
there was Mr Tim Linkinwater (who had never made half-a-dozen
other acquaintances in all his life, and who took such delight in his
new friends as no words can express) constantly coming and going
in his evening walks, and stopping to rest; while Mr Frank
Cheeryble happened, by some strange conjunction of
circumstances, to be passing the door on some business or other at
least three nights in the week.
‘He is the most attentive young man I ever saw, Kate,’ said Mrs
Nickleby to her daughter one evening, when this last-named
gentleman had been the subject of the worthy lady’s eulogium for
some time, and Kate had sat perfectly silent.
‘Attentive, mama!’ rejoined Kate.
‘Bless my heart, Kate!’ cried Mrs Nickleby, with her wonted
suddenness, ‘what a colour you have got; why, you’re quite
‘Oh, mama! what strange things you fancy!’
‘It wasn’t fancy, Kate, my dear, I’m certain of that,’ returned
her mother. ‘However, it’s gone now at any rate, so it don’t much
matter whether it was or not. What was it we were talking about?
Oh! Mr Frank. I never saw such attention in my life, never.’
‘Surely you are not serious,’ returned Kate, colouring again;