Though Master Ralph Nickleby was not at that time aware of it, the class of gentlemen before alluded to, proceed on just the same principle in all their transactions.
With this gentle allusion to the absent Mr Squeers, Nicholas repressed his rising wrath, and relating to Newman exactly what had passed at Dotheboys Hall, entreated him to speak out without more pressing.
’Folair,’ said Mr Crummles, deeming it a matter of decency to be affected by this allusion to himself and partner, ’I’m astonished at you.’
’Very good!’ said Ralph, in allusion, no doubt, to some proceeding of the day.
’The absence of a college degree IS an objection,’ replied Squeers, looking as grave as he could, and considerably puzzled, no less by the contrast between the simplicity of the nephew and the worldly manner of the uncle, than by the incomprehensible allusion to the young noblemen under his tuition.
’You had better be careful how you indulge in such jokes again,’ said Nicholas, ’or you may find an allusion to pulling noses rather a dangerous reminder for the subject of your facetiousness.
The lodgers to whom Crowl had made allusion under the designation of ’the Kenwigses,’ were the wife and olive branches of one Mr Kenwigs, a turner in ivory, who was looked upon as a person of some consideration on the premises, inasmuch as he occupied the whole of the first floor, comprising a suite of two rooms.
It was affecting in one sense, for Graymarsh’s maternal aunt was strongly supposed, by her more intimate friends, to be no other than his maternal parent; Squeers, however, without alluding to this part of the story (which would have sounded immoral before boys), proceeded with the business by calling out ’Mobbs,’ whereupon another boy rose, and Graymarsh resumed his seat.
But allusion being made to her being held in disregard by the gentlemen, she evinced violent emotion, and this blow was no sooner followed up by the remark concerning her seniority, than she fell back upon the sofa, uttering dismal screams.
Mrs Squeers, when excited, was accustomed to use strong language, and, moreover, to make use of a plurality of epithets, some of which were of a figurative kind, as the word peacock, and furthermore the allusion to Nicholas’s nose, which was not intended to be taken in its literal sense, but rather to bear a latitude of construction according to the fancy of the hearers.
’I must not hear this,’ cried the young lady, striving to repress a shudder, occasioned, as it seemed, even by this slight allusion to Arthur Gride.
The allusion to friends, and the offer of money, Gride held to be mere empty vapouring, for purposes of delay.
Mr Squeers indulged in a retrospective look, for some quarter of a minute, as if this allusion to his lady’s excellences had naturally led his mind to the peaceful village of Dotheboys near Greta Bridge in Yorkshire; and then looked at Ralph, as if waiting for him to say something.
In short, he was the hero of the feast; and when the table was cleared and something warm introduced, Miss Snevellicci’s papa got up and proposed his health in a speech containing such affecting allusions to his coming departure, that Miss Snevellicci wept, and was compelled to retire into the bedroom.
And, after him, came the Scotch member, with various pleasant allusions to the probable amount of profits, which increased the good humour that the poetry had awakened; and all the speeches put together did exactly what they were intended to do, and established in the hearers’ minds that there was no speculation so promising, or at the same time so praiseworthy, as the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.
But some indistinct allusions to a ’puss,’ and a ’minx,’ and a ’contemptible creature,’ escaped her; and this, together with a severe biting of the lips, great difficulty in swallowing, and very frequent comings and goings of breath, seemed to imply that feelings were swelling in Miss Squeers’s bosom too great for utterance.
He’s so wrapped up in high life, that the least allusion to business or worldly matters—like that woman just now, for instance—quite distracts him; but, as I often say, I think his disappointment a great thing for him, because if he hadn’t been disappointed he couldn’t have written about blighted hopes and all that; and the fact is, if it hadn’t happened as it has, I don’t believe his genius would ever have come out at all.’
Besides this effusion, there were innumerable complimentary allusions, also extracted from newspapers, such as—’We observe from an advertisement in another part of our paper of today, that the charming and highly-talented Miss Snevellicci takes her benefit on Wednesday, for which occasion she has put forth a bill of fare that might kindle exhilaration in the breast of a misanthrope.
The mystery of her visits to the brothers Cheeryble remained wholly unexplained, for Newman had not alluded to them, either in his preliminary conversations with the servant or his subsequent interview with the mistress, merely remarking that he had been instructed to watch the girl home and plead his young friend’s cause, and not saying how far he had followed her, or from what point.
Uttering in a loud voice such of the latter allusions as were complimentary to the unconscious phenomenon, and giving the rest in a confidential ’aside’ to Nicholas, Mr Folair followed the ascent of the curtain with his eyes, regarded with a sneer the reception of Miss Crummles as the Maiden, and, falling back a step or two to advance with the better effect, uttered a preliminary howl, and ’went on’ chattering his teeth and brandishing his tin tomahawk as the Indian Savage.
At the tea-table there was plenty of conversation on a great variety of subjects, nor were there wanting jocose matters of discussion, such as they were; for young Mr Cheeryble’s recent stay in Germany happening to be alluded to, old Mr Cheeryble informed the company that the aforesaid young Mr Cheeryble was suspected to have fallen deeply in love with the daughter of a certain German burgomaster.
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He alluded to Susan without mentioning her name.
She didn’t mention any names, but everyone knew she was alluding to the President.