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generation, without a home to shelter them or the energies of one
single man directed to their aid; how, in seeking, not a luxurious
and splendid life, but the bare means of a most wretched and
inadequate subsistence, there were women and children in that
one town, divided into classes, numbered and estimated as
regularly as the noble families and folks of great degree, and
reared from infancy to drive most criminal and dreadful trades;
how ignorance was punished and never taught; how jail-doors
gaped, and gallows loomed, for thousands urged towards them by
circumstances darkly curtaining their very cradles’ heads, and but
for which they might have earned their honest bread and lived in
peace; how many died in soul, and had no chance of life; how
many who could scarcely go astray, be they vicious as they would,
turned haughtily from the crushed and stricken wretch who could
scarce do otherwise, and who would have been a greater wonder
had he or she done well, than even they had they done ill; how
much injustice, misery, and wrong, there was, and yet how the
world rolled on, from year to year, alike careless and indifferent,
and no man seeking to remedy or redress it; when he thought of
all this, and selected from the mass the one slight case on which
his thoughts were bent, he felt, indeed, that there was little ground
for hope, and little reason why it should not form an atom in the
huge aggregate of distress and sorrow, and add one small and
unimportant unit to swell the great amount.

But youth is not prone to contemplate the darkest side of a
picture it can shift at will. By dint of reflecting on what he had to
do, and reviving the train of thought which night had interrupted,
Nicholas gradually summoned up his utmost energy, and when
the morning was sufficiently advanced for his purpose, had no

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