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do that nowheres but on the public road. Now, if you takes the chaise and goes one road, and I borrows Swallow's chaise and goes t'other, one or other of us is moral sure to lay hold of him."

The lady's plan was put in execution without delay, Nicholas remaining behind in a tumult of feeling. Death, from want and exposure, was the best that could be expected from the prolonged wandering of so helpless a creature through a country of which he was ignorant. There was little, perhaps, to choose between this and a return to the tender mercies of the school. Nicholas lingered on, in restless anxiety, picturing a thousand possibilities, until the evening of the next day, when Squeers returned alone.

“No news of the scamp!”

Another day came, and Nicholas was scarcely awake when he heard the wheels of a chaise approaching the house. It stopped, and the voice of Mrs. Squeers was heard, ordering a glass of spirits for somebody, which was in itself a sufficient sign that something extraordinary had happened. Nicholas hardly dared look out of the window, but he did so, and the first object that met his eyes was the wretched Smike, bedabbled with mud and rain, haggard and worn and wild.

“Lift him out,” said Squeers. “Bring him in, bring him in."

Take care,” cried Mrs. Squeers. “We tied his legs under the apron, and made 'em fast to the chaise, to prevent him giving us the slip again."

With hands trembling with delight, Squeers loosened the cord; and Smike, more dead than alive, was brought in and locked up in a cellar, until such a time as Squeers should deem it expedient to operate upon him.

The news that the fugitive had been caught and brought back ran like wildfire through the hungry community, and expectation was on tiptoe all the morning. On tiptoe it remained all the afternoon, when Squeers, having refreshed himself with his dinner and an extra libation or so, made his appearance, accompanied by his amiable partner, with a fearful instrument of flagellation, strong, supple, wax-ended, and new.

“Is every boy here?”

Every boy was there, but every boy was afraid to speak; so Squeers glared along the lines to assure himself.

“Each boy keep his place. Nickleby! you go to your desk, sir.”

There was a curious expression in the usher'sN face; but he took his seat, without opening his lips in reply. Squeers left the room, and shortly afterward returned, dragging Smike by the collaror rather by that fragment of his jacket which was nearest the place where his collar ought to have been.

“Now what have you got to say for yourself ? Stand a little out of the way, Mrs. Squeers, my dear; I've hardly got room enough."

“Spare me, sir!"

“O, that's all you've got to say, is it? Yes, I'll flog you within an inch of your life, and spare you that.”

One cruel blow had fallen on him, when Nicholas Nickleby cried, “Stop!”

“Who cried 'Stop!""

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“I did. This must not go on.”
"Must not go on!”

“No! Must not! Shall not! I will prevent it! You have disregarded all my quiet interference in this miserable lad's behalf; you have returned no answer to the letter in which I begged forgiveness for him, and offered to be responsible that he would remain quietly here. Don't blame me for this public interference. You have brought it upon yourself, not I."

“Sit down, beggar!"

“Wretch, touch him again at your peril! I will not stand by and see it done. My blood is up, and I have the strength of ten such men as you. By Heaven! I will not spare you, if you drive me on! I have a series of personal insults to avenge, and my indignation is aggravated by the cruelties practiced in this cruel den. Have a care, or the consequences will fall heavily upon your head !”

Squeers, in a violent outbreak, spat at him, and struck him a blow across the face. Nicholas instantly sprung upon him, wrested his weapon from his hand, and, pinning him by the throat, beat the ruffian till he roared for mercy.

He then flung him away with all the force he could muster, and the violence of his fall precipitated Mrs. Squeers over an adjacent form; Squeers, striking his head against the same form in his descent, lay at his full length on the ground, stunned and motionless.

Having brought affairs to this happy termination, and having ascertained to his satisfaction that Squeers was only stunned, and not dead-upon which point he had had some unpleasant doubts at first,-Nicholas packed up a few clothes in a small valise, and finding that nobody offered to oppose his progress, marched boldly out by the front door, and struck into the road. Then such a cheer arose as the walls of Dotheboys Hall had never echoed before, and would never respond to again. When the sound had died away, the school was empty; and of the crowd of boys not one remained.


Biography.- Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth, England, in 1812, and died in 1870.

Dickens began life as a newspaper reporter, and was soon distinguished for uncommon ability. His “Sketches by Bozappeared in the “Morning Chronicle" in 1836, and “Pickwick Papers” was written in the following year. The young author's popularity was now assured; he had taken a path altogether new for literary work, and one which was to make him both friends and enemies.

Among his principal works may be mentioned the following: “A Christmas Carol,” “David Copperfield,” “ Bleak House,” Nicholas Nickleby," and Oliver Twist."

Notes.-York is the capital of Yorkshire, the largest county in England. “Nicholas Nickleby” was written by Dickens to show the character of Yorkshire cheap schools.

Usher is a term used to designate an assistant teacher.


in săl'li ble, certain; not capable

of making a mistake. ăn guish (ăng gwish), great dis

tress. ěn ġi nē&r', one who runs an

engine. im plöred', earnestly asked.

före růnʼner, a sign showing

something to follow. dis erẻ tion (krẽshoăn), judg

ment. vēr'diet, opinion. a năt'o my, parts. böd'ingş, thoughts of the future.


My beautiful, new watch had

eighteen months without losing or gaining, and without breaking any part of its machinery, or stopping. I had come to believe it infallible in its judgments about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and anatomy imperishable. But at last, one night, I let it run down. I grieved about this oversight as if it were a recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity. But by and by I cheered up, set the watch by guess, and commanded my bodings and superstitions to depart.

Next day I stepped into the chief jeweler's to set it by the exact time, and the head of the establishment took it out of my hand and proceeded to set it for me. Then he said, “She is four minutes slow-regulator wants pushing up.” I tried to stop him-tried to make him understand that the watch kept perfect time. But no; all this human cabbage could see was that the watch was four minutes slow, and the regulator must be pushed up a little; and so, while I danced around him in anguish, and implored him to let the watch alone, he calmly and cruelly did the shameful deed.

My watch began to gain. It gained faster and faster day by day. Within the week it sickened to a raging fever, and its pulse went up to one hundred and fifty in the shade. At the end of two months it had left all the other time-pieces of the town far in the rear, and was a fraction of thirteen days ahead of the almanac. It was away into November enjoying the snow, while the October leaves were still turning. It hurried up house rent, bills payable, and such things, in such a ruinous way that I could not abide it.

I took it to the watchmaker to be regulated. He asked me if I had ever had it repaired. I said

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