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CHAPTER 20: Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his Uncle...
Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his Uncle, to whom he expresses his Sentiments with much Candour. His Resolution.
Little Miss La Creevy trotted briskly through divers streets at the west end of the town, early on Monday morning--the day after the dinner--charged with the important commission of acquainting Madame Mantalini that Miss Nickleby was too unwell to attend that day, but hoped to be enabled to resume her duties on the morrow. And as Miss La Creevy walked along, revolving in her mind various genteel forms and elegant turns of expression, with a view to the selection of the very best in which to couch her communication, she cogitated a good deal upon the probable causes of her young friend's indisposition.
'I don't know what to make of it,' said Miss La Creevy. 'Her eyes were decidedly red last night. She said she had a headache; headaches don't occasion red eyes. She must have been crying.'
Arriving at this conclusion, which, indeed, she had established to her perfect satisfaction on the previous evening, Miss La Creevy went on to consider--as she had done nearly all night--what new cause of unhappiness her young friend could possibly have had.
'I can't think of anything,' said the little portrait painter. 'Nothing at all, unless it was the behaviour of that old bear. Cross to her, I suppose? Unpleasant brute!'
Relieved by this expression of opinion, albeit it was vented upon empty air, Miss La Creevy trotted on to Madame Mantalini's; and being informed that the governing power was not yet out of bed, requested an interview with the second in command; whereupon Miss Knag appeared.
'So far as I am concerned,' said Miss Knag, when the message had been delivered, with many ornaments of speech; 'I could spare Miss Nickleby for evermore.'
'Oh, indeed, ma'am!' rejoined Miss La Creevy, highly offended. 'But, you see, you are not mistress of the business, and therefore it's of no great consequence.'
'Very good, ma'am,' said Miss Knag. 'Have you any further commands for me?'
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