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‘I disappointed!’ cried Nicholas; ‘am I interested?’
‘I think you are,’ replied Newman. ‘I have a crotchet in my head
that it must be so. I have found out a man, who plainly knows
more than he cares to tell at once. And he has already dropped
such hints to me as puzzle me--I say, as puzzle me,’ said Newman,
scratching his red nose into a state of violent inflammation, and
staring at Nicholas with all his might and main meanwhile.
Admiring what could have wound his friend up to such a pitch
of mystery, Nicholas endeavoured, by a series of questions, to
elucidate the cause; but in vain. Newman could not be drawn into
any more explicit statement than a repetition of the perplexities he
had already thrown out, and a confused oration, showing, How it
was necessary to use the utmost caution; how the lynx-eyed Ralph
had already seen him in company with his unknown
correspondent; and how he had baffled the said Ralph by extreme
guardedness of manner and ingenuity of speech; having prepared
himself for such a contingency from the first.
Remembering his companion’s propensity,--of which his nose,
indeed, perpetually warned all beholders like a beacon,--Nicholas
had drawn him into a sequestered tavern. Here, they fell to
reviewing the origin and progress of their acquaintance, as men
sometimes do, and tracing out the little events by which it was
most strongly marked, came at last to Miss Cecilia Bobster.
‘And that reminds me,’ said Newman, ‘that you never told me
the young lady’s real name.’
‘Madeline!’ said Nicholas.
‘Madeline!’ cried Newman. ‘What Madeline? Her other name.
Say her other name.’
‘Bray,’ said Nicholas, in great astonishment.