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Nicholas Nickleby
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Nicholas Nickleby
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  • ’Not more than five-and-twenty minutes by the—’
  • ’My dears, will you speak to your new playfellow a minute or two?

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  • At length, and at last, the assembly left off shouting, but Sir Matthew Pupker being voted into the chair, they underwent a relapse which lasted five minutes.
  • ’And when,’ said Miss La Creevy, after a long silence, to wit, an interval of full a minute and a half, ’when do you expect to see your uncle again?’
  • ’If you’ll wait here a minute,’ said the man, ’I’ll tell her presently.’
  • He listened for a few minutes, but all was quiet.
  • ’Oh! you’ll think very differently in another five minutes,’ said Matilda.
  • The collector had sat swelling and fuming in offended dignity for some minutes, and had now fairly burst out.
  • ’No, damn it, Verisopht,’ said Sir Mulberry, ’fair play’s a jewel, and Miss Nickleby and I settled the matter with our eyes ten minutes ago.’
  • ’I have looked at ’cause for five minutes,’ said Sir Mulberry.

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  • ’My cup of happiness’s sweetener,’ said Mantalini, approaching his wife with a penitent air; ’will you listen to me for two minutes?’
  • He found Golden Square in due course; Mr Noggs, who had stepped out for a minute or so to the public-house, was opening the door with a latch-key, as he reached the steps.
  • ’You need not leave this place, sir, for it will be relieved of my presence in one minute, and it will be long, very long, before I darken these doors again.’
  • ’Snawley, junior, if you don’t leave off chattering your teeth, and shaking with the cold, I’ll warm you with a severe thrashing in about half a minute’s time.’
  • ’Within ten minutes.’
  • ’Eight minutes gone.’
  • After the lapse of a minute or two, the noise of somebody unlocking the yard-gate was heard, and presently a tall lean boy, with a lantern in his hand, issued forth.
  • ’Four minutes gone.’
  • Kate complied, though not without some embarrassment, with this request, and Mrs Wititterly took a languid survey of her countenance, which lasted some two or three minutes.
  • I must know it sooner or later; and what purpose can be gained by trifling with the matter for a few minutes, when half the time would put me in possession of all that has occurred?
  • The mere exertion of protracted chuckling reduced him to a fearful ebb of coughing and gasping; it was some minutes before he could find breath to remark that the girl was too pretty for a milliner.
  • They had not been in this apartment a couple of minutes, when a female bounced into the room, and, seizing Mr Squeers by the throat, gave him two loud kisses: one close after the other, like a postman’s knock.
  • The two words were had apart; in a couple of minutes Mr Wackford Squeers announced that Mr Nicholas Nickleby was, from that moment, thoroughly nominated to, and installed in, the office of first assistant master at Dotheboys Hall.
  • ’There’s been a deal o’cleaning to do in this house, and if you don’t like it, I must trouble you to look out for somebody else, for it don’t hardly pay me, and that’s the truth, if I was to be hung this minute.’
  • ’And now,’ said the schoolmaster, dividing the bread and butter for three into as many portions as there were children, ’you had better look sharp with your breakfast, for the horn will blow in a minute or two, and then every boy leaves off.’
  • By this time Mr Squeers had dismounted; and after ordering the boy to see to the pony, and to take care that he hadn’t any more corn that night, he told Nicholas to wait at the front-door a minute while he went round and let him in.
  • After some minutes, he returned, with his legs thoroughly stretched, if the hue of his nose and a short hiccup afforded any criterion; and at the same time there came out of the yard a rusty pony-chaise, and a cart, driven by two labouring men.
  • Kate would have entreated a few minutes’ respite, but reflecting that her uncle might consider the payment of the hackney-coach fare a sort of bargain for her punctuality, she suffered him to draw her arm through his, and to lead her away.
  • The young ladies still scrupulously shrunk from all companionship with their denounced associate; and when that exemplary female arrived a few minutes afterwards, she was at no pains to conceal the displeasure with which she regarded Kate’s return.
  • ’Not an hour—not a minute,’ replied Nicholas, impatiently.
  • We mustn’t lose a minute.’
  • ’Put me down for another twenty—or—stop a minute, stop a minute.
  • ’Put me down for another twenty—or—stop a minute, stop a minute.
  • ’He hasn’t had a minute’s rest or peace; no more has the old lady, nor Miss Nickleby.’
  • ’Five minutes past dinner-time,’ said Mr Crummles.
  • Fifteen shillings were taken by Mrs Grudden in the first ten minutes.
  • There had been a ring at the bell a few minutes before, which was answered by Newman Noggs just as they reached the hall.
  • ’At twenty minutes before seven, then,’ said Mr Pyke, rising, ’the coach will be here.
  • There were yet a few minutes to spare, so, having secured the places, Nicholas hurried into a slopseller’s hard by, and bought Smike a great-coat.
  • After a few minutes, Ralph rang his bell.
  • ’Will you step apart with me for a few minutes, or do you refuse?’ said Nicholas sternly.
  • After a few minutes, the well-known creaking of his boots was heard on the stairs, and then the bell rung.
  • Long as all this takes to tell, it was not more than a couple of minutes in passing.
  • The brothers looked on with smiling faces, but Tim Linkinwater smiled not, nor moved for some minutes.
  • With this, he retired; and he had not retired two minutes, when he returned with Mr Squeers and his hopeful son.
  • Sir Mulberry sends a carriage for you—twenty minutes before seven to the moment—you’ll not be so cruel as to disappoint the whole party, Mrs Nickleby?’
  • The ladies and gentlemen required no second notice to quit; and, in a few minutes, the theatre was deserted, save by the Crummles family, Nicholas, and Smike.
  • But that was always the way with your poor dear papa,—just his way—always wandering, never able to fix his thoughts on any one subject for two minutes together.
  • Just wait a minute.’
  • Newman was not three minutes’ walk from Golden Square, but in the course of that three minutes he took the letter out of his hat and put it in again twenty times at least.
  • Newman was not three minutes’ walk from Golden Square, but in the course of that three minutes he took the letter out of his hat and put it in again twenty times at least.
  • A few minutes having elapsed, during which Mr Squeers looked very profound, as if he had a perfect apprehension of what was inside all the books, and could say every word of their contents by heart if he only chose to take the trouble, that gentleman called up the first class.
  • The plated buttons disappeared with an alacrity most unusual to them, and Nicholas paced the room in a state of feverish agitation which made the delay even of a minute insupportable.
  • After every one of these flirtations with the eatables, he pulled out his watch, and declared with an earnestness quite pathetic that he couldn’t undertake to hold out two minutes longer.
  • ’She’s been asleep all night, and was, all yesterday, except for a minute or two now and then,’ replied John Browdie’s choice, ’and I was very sorry when she woke, for she has been SO cross!’
  • A minute wedge of brown bread was inserted in each bowl, and when they had eaten their porridge by means of the bread, the boys ate the bread itself, and had finished their breakfast; whereupon Mr Squeers said, in a solemn voice, ’For what we have received, may the Lord make us truly thankful!
  • Nicholas sent Kate upstairs a few minutes before him, that his unlooked-for appearance might not alarm his mother, and when the way had been paved, presented himself with much duty and affection.
  • Mr Crummles being in a moralising mood, might possibly have moralised for some minutes longer if he had not mechanically put his hand towards his waistcoat pocket, where he was accustomed to keep his snuff.
  • The Yorkshireman remained on his post for a few minutes, but, finding that there was no pause in the conversation inside, crept back again unheard, and stood, listening over the stair-rail, for a full hour.
  • But before he had said a dozen words, Mrs Nickleby, with many sly winks and nods, observed, that she was sure Mr Smike must be quite tired out, and that she positively must insist on his not sitting up a minute longer.
  • It is no disparagement to Nicholas to say, that before he had been closeted with the two brothers ten minutes, he could only wave his hand at every fresh expression of kindness and sympathy, and sob like a little child.
  • Mr Pluck, after feigning to be in a condition of great embarrassment for some minutes, resumed the conversation by entreating Mrs Nickleby to take no heed of what he had inadvertently said—to consider him imprudent, rash, injudicious.
  • As a few minutes elapsed without anything occurring to explain this phenomenon, and as he felt his own position a peculiarly uncomfortable one, Nicholas was on the point of seeking some information from the man next him, when a sudden move was visible on the stairs, and a voice was heard to cry, ’Now, gentleman, have the goodness to walk up!’
  • ’And I tell you seriously,’ rejoined Ralph, ’what I told you this minute.
  • He removed them, after a minute, and never was there seen, part of a living man undisfigured by any wound, such a ghastly face as he then disclosed.
  • You have a gallon of water as hot as you can possibly bear it, with a pound of salt, and sixpen’orth of the finest bran, and sit with your head in it for twenty minutes every night just before going to bed; at least, I don’t mean your head—your feet.
  • ’Mr Linkinwater says ten minutes, but I cannot let you go so soon; Nicholas would be very much vexed, I am sure.
  • I had it all from him in the first five minutes.
  • Let us walk here, a few minutes.’
  • He had not occupied this position many minutes, when he was rejoiced to see Nicholas approaching, and darted out from his ambuscade to meet him.
  • Accordingly, a very few minutes had elapsed, when he and Miss Morleena were on their way to the hairdresser’s.
  • The girl performed her office with such expedition, that in a very few minutes the coach was ready.
  • Can you spare me a very few minutes?’
  • When the sound had died away, the school was empty; and of the busy noisy crowd which had peopled it but five minutes before, not one remained.
  • Ralph took no notice of these supplications, but sat for three or four minutes in a brown study, looking thoughtfully at the person from whom they proceeded.
  • I’ve opened the safe every morning all that time (Sundays excepted) as the clock struck nine, and gone over the house every night at half-past ten (except on Foreign Post nights, and then twenty minutes before twelve) to see the doors fastened, and the fires out.
  • A minute’s bustle, a banging of the coach doors, a swaying of the vehicle to one side, as the heavy coachman, and still heavier guard, climbed into their seats; a cry of all right, a few notes from the horn, a hasty glance of two sorrowful faces below, and the hard features of Mr Ralph Nickleby—and the coach was gone too, and rattling over the stones of Smithfield.
  • ’Five minutes to three,’ growled Newman; ’it can’t want more by this time; and I had my breakfast at eight o’clock, and SUCH a breakfast! and my right dinner-time two!
  • Nicholas engaged beds for himself and Smike at the inn where the coach stopped, and repaired, without the delay of another moment, to the lodgings of Newman Noggs; for his anxiety and impatience had increased with every succeeding minute, and were almost beyond control.
  • ’—My nephew, Frank, I say,’ resumed Mr Cheeryble, ’encountered her by accident, and lost sight of her almost in a minute afterwards, within two days after he returned to England.
  • ’One minute more,’ cried Arthur Gride, ’and I’ll rouse the street with such screams, as, if they were raised by anybody else, should wake me even in the arms of pretty Madeline.’
  • 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.
  • Sir Mulberry took several turns up and down the room, whistling carelessly all the time; stopped to finish the last glass of claret which he had poured out a few minutes before, walked again, put on his hat, adjusted it by the glass, drew on his gloves, and, at last, walked slowly out.
  • And thus it came to pass, that John Browdie declared, in the parlour after supper, to wit, and twenty minutes before eleven o’clock p.m., that he had never been so happy in all his days.
  • It will be very readily supposed that to one in the condition of Nicholas, the minutes appeared to move with leaden wings indeed, and that their progress did not seem the more rapid from the monotonous ticking of a French clock, or the shrill sound of its little bell which told the quarters.
  • Mr Snawley looked steadfastly at his son for a full minute, and then covering his eyes with his hand, and once more raising his hat in the air, appeared deeply occupied in deploring his black ingratitude.
  • Rightly judging that under such circumstances it would be madness to follow, he turned down a bye-street in search of the nearest coach-stand, finding after a minute or two that he was reeling like a drunken man, and aware for the first time of a stream of blood that was trickling down his face and breast.
  • The cap was all safe, however—that was one comfort—and it was no use scolding him—that was another; so the boy went upon his way rejoicing, and Tim Linkinwater’s sister presented herself to the company below-stairs, just five minutes after the half-hour had struck by Tim Linkinwater’s own infallible clock.
  • Tim Linkinwater is out of the question; for Tim, sir, is such a tremendous fellow, that he could never contain himself, but would go to loggerheads with the father before he had been in the place five minutes.
  • From the silk, Mr Tix transferred his admiration to some elegant articles of wearing apparel, while Mr Scaley adjusted his neckcloth, at leisure, before the glass, and afterwards, aided by its reflection, proceeded to the minute consideration of a pimple on his chin; in which absorbing occupation he was yet engaged, when Madame Mantalini, entering the room, uttered an exclamation of surprise which roused him.
  • Bray looked at Ralph as if to see whether he spoke in earnest, and having nodded twice or thrice in unqualified assent to what had fallen from him, said: ’I must go upstairs for a few minutes, to finish dressing.
  • —Rooge-a-nore from Paris—black wins—black—stop a minute, sir, and I’ll pay you, directly—two there, half a pound there, three there—and one there—gentlemen, the ball’s a rolling—any time, sir, while the ball rolls!
  • Mr Squeers sat himself down on the opposite seat to the unfortunate Smike, and, planting his hands firmly on his knees, looked at him for some five minutes, when, seeming to recover from his trance, he uttered a loud laugh, and slapped his old pupil’s face several times—taking the right and left sides alternately.
  • She arrived at Madame Mantalini’s some minutes before the appointed hour, and after walking a few times up and down, in the hope that some other female might arrive and spare her the embarrassment of stating her business to the servant, knocked timidly at the door: which, after some delay, was opened by the footman, who had been putting on his striped jacket as he came upstairs, and was now intent on fastening his apron.
  • In like manner, did young Ralph Nickleby avoid all those minute and intricate calculations of odd days, which nobody who has worked sums in simple-interest can fail to have found most embarrassing, by establishing the one general rule that all sums of principal and interest should be paid on pocket-money day, that is to say, on Saturday: and that whether a loan were contracted on the Monday, or on the Friday, the amount of interest should be, in both cases, the same.
  • There yet remained a slight scar upon his face, and whenever he was recognised, as he was almost every minute by people sauntering in and out, he made a restless effort to conceal it with his glove; showing how keenly he felt the disgrace he had undergone.
  • It was towards the highest part that Ralph directed his eyes; and upon it he kept them fixed steadily for some minutes, when he rose, and dragging thither an old chest upon which he had been seated, mounted on it, and felt along the wall above his head with both hands.
  • The recital of his wrongs, however, seemed to have the effect of making Newman Noggs desperate; for he flattened his old hat upon his head, and drawing on the everlasting gloves, declared with great vehemence, that come what might, he would go to dinner that very minute.
  • It is no vaunt to affirm that if Nicholas had had ten thousand pounds at the minute, he would, in his generous affection for the owner of the blushing cheek and downcast eye, have bestowed its utmost farthing, in perfect forgetfulness of himself, to secure her happiness.
  • After staring up at the sombre walls, from the opposite side of the way, with great care and dread for some minutes, he turned back again into the old track, and walked briskly through the city; stopping now and then to gaze in at the window of some particularly attractive shop, then running for a little way, then stopping again, and so on, as any other country lad might do.
  • …confide the mighty secret to the bosom of the other, before communicating it to any living soul, and bespeak her as bridesmaid without loss of time; in fulfilment of which pledge the miller’s daughter, when her engagement was formed, came out express, at eleven o’clock at night as the corn-factor’s son made an offer of his hand and heart at twenty-five minutes past ten by the Dutch clock in the kitchen, and rushed into Miss Squeers’s bedroom with the gratifying intelligence.
  • …in consequence of the unforeseen train of circumstances already developed in this narrative, was a hard one; but lest the very dulness, unhealthy confinement, and bodily fatigue, which made up its sum and substance, should deprive it of any interest with the mass of the charitable and sympathetic, I would rather keep Miss Nickleby herself in view just now, than chill them in the outset, by a minute and lengthened description of the establishment presided over by Madame Mantalini.
  • …that were stealing down her face, and to prepare herself for the walk, while Mrs Nickleby amused her brother-in-law by giving him, with many tears, a detailed account of the dimensions of a rosewood cabinet piano they had possessed in their days of affluence, together with a minute description of eight drawing-room chairs, with turned legs and green chintz squabs to match the curtains, which had cost two pounds fifteen shillings apiece, and had gone at the sale for a mere nothing.
  • At last Mr Squeers began to thrust his head out of the widow every half-minute, and to bawl a variety of directions to the coachman; and after passing, with some difficulty, through several mean streets which the appearance of the houses and the bad state of the road denoted to have been recently built, Mr Squeers suddenly tugged at the check string with all his might, and cried, ’Stop!’
  • Mrs Nickleby looked rather disconcerted for a moment, but immediately recovering, nodded to Miss La Creevy and the other spectators several times, and frowned, and smiled gravely, giving them to understand that she saw where the mistake was, and would set it all to rights in a minute or two.
  • All this time there had been a great whisking in and out of the other room; the door had been opened and shut very softly about twenty times a minute (for it was necessary to keep Mrs Kenwigs quiet); and the baby had been exhibited to a score or two of deputations from a select body of female friends, who had assembled in the passage, and about the street-door, to discuss the event in all its bearings.
  • This occupation was, to take down from the shelves of a worm-eaten wardrobe a quantity of frouzy garments, one by one; to subject each to a careful and minute inspection by holding it up against the light, and after folding it with great exactness, to lay it on one or other of two little heaps beside him.
  • It might have moved a very hard and worldly heart to see the young and beautiful creature, whose certain misery they had been contriving but a minute before, throw her arms about her father’s neck, and pour forth words of tender sympathy and love, the sweetest a father’s ear can know, or child’s lips form.
  • He executed his commission with great promptitude and dispatch, only calling at one public-house for half a minute, and even that might be said to be in his way, for he went in at one door and came out at the other; but as he returned and had got so far homewards as the Strand, Newman began to loiter with the uncertain air of a man who has not quite made up his mind whether to halt or go straight forwards.
  • With clenched hands, and teeth ground together so firm and tight that no locking of the jaws could have fixed and riveted them more securely, Ralph stood, for some minutes, in the attitude in which he had last addressed his nephew: breathing heavily, but as rigid and motionless in other respects as if he had been a brazen statue.
  • His hands fell powerless by his side, he reeled back; and with open mouth, and a face of ashy paleness, stood gazing at them in speechless rage: his eyes so prominent, and his face so convulsed and changed by the passions which raged within him, that it would have been difficult to recognise in him the same stern, composed, hard-featured man he had been not a minute ago.
  • —The beauty of this game is, that you can double your stakes or put down your money, gentlemen, any time while the ball rolls—black again—black wins—I never saw such a thing—I never did, in all my life, upon my word I never did; if any gentleman had been backing the black in the last five minutes he must have won five-and-forty pound in four rolls of the ball, he must indeed.
  • At a quarter past five o’clock, punctual to the minute, arrived, according to annual usage, Tim Linkinwater’s sister; and a great to-do there was, between Tim Linkinwater’s sister and the old housekeeper, respecting Tim Linkinwater’s sister’s cap, which had been dispatched, per boy, from the house of the family where Tim Linkinwater’s sister boarded, and had not yet come to hand: notwithstanding that it had been packed up in a bandbox, and the bandbox in a handkerchief, and the…
  • …had been a little disturbed by these recollections, it so happened that when Nicholas returned from executing some commission, and inquired whether Mr Charles Cheeryble was alone in his room, Tim promptly, and without the smallest hesitation, replied in the affirmative, although somebody had passed into the room not ten minutes before, and Tim took especial and particular pride in preventing any intrusion on either of the brothers when they were engaged with any visitor whatever.
  • On the anniversary of her birthday, which was upon the nineteenth of July (’at ten minutes past three o’clock in the morning,’ thought Mrs Nickleby in a parenthesis, ’for I recollect asking what o’clock it was’), Sir Mulberry would give a great feast to all his tenants, and would return them three and a half per cent on the amount of their last half-year’s rent, as would be fully described and recorded in the fashionable intelligence, to the immeasurable delight and admiration of all…
  • …Noggs, and some wise Precautions, the success or failure of which will appear in the Sequel In blissful unconsciousness that his nephew was hastening at the utmost speed of four good horses towards his sphere of action, and that every passing minute diminished the distance between them, Ralph Nickleby sat that morning occupied in his customary avocations, and yet unable to prevent his thoughts wandering from time to time back to the interview which had taken place between himself and…
  • I dreamt that it was this morning, and you and I had been talking as we have been this minute; that I went upstairs, for the very purpose for which I am going now; and that as I stretched out my hand to take Madeline’s, and lead her down, the floor sunk with me, and after falling from such an indescribable and tremendous height as the imagination scarcely conceives, except in dreams, I alighted in a grave.’
  • He could not have closed his eyes five minutes, when he was awakened by a scream, and starting up in that kind of terror which affects a person suddenly roused, saw, to his great astonishment, that his charge had struggled into a sitting posture, and with eyes almost starting from their sockets, cold dew standing on his forehead, and in a fit of trembling which quite convulsed his frame, was calling to him for help.
  • Five minutes after this honest and straightforward speech, little Miss La Creevy and Tim were talking as pleasantly as if they had been married for a score of years, and had never once quarrelled all the time; and five minutes after that, when Miss La Creevy had bustled out to see if her eyes were red and put her hair to rights, Tim moved with a stately step towards the drawing-room, exclaiming as he went, ’There an’t such another woman in all London!
  • Five minutes after this honest and straightforward speech, little Miss La Creevy and Tim were talking as pleasantly as if they had been married for a score of years, and had never once quarrelled all the time; and five minutes after that, when Miss La Creevy had bustled out to see if her eyes were red and put her hair to rights, Tim moved with a stately step towards the drawing-room, exclaiming as he went, ’There an’t such another woman in all London!
  • Add to this, that he was good-looking and intelligent, had a plentiful share of vivacity, was extremely cheerful, and accommodated himself in five minutes’ time to all John Browdie’s oddities with as much ease as if he had known him from a boy; and it will be a source of no great wonder that, when they parted for the night, he had produced a most favourable impression, not only upon the worthy Yorkshireman and his wife, but upon Nicholas also, who, revolving all these things in his…
  • If brother Charles and brother Ned failed to look in for at least a few minutes every Sunday, or one evening in the week, there was Mr Tim Linkinwater (who had never made half-a-dozen other acquaintances in all his life, and who took such delight in his new friends as no words can express) constantly coming and going in his evening walks, and stopping to rest; while Mr Frank Cheeryble happened, by some strange conjunction of circumstances, to be passing the door on some business or…
  • …and serenity of the hour; long pauses, too, at times, and then an earnest word or so, and then another interval of silence which, somehow, does not seem like silence either, and perhaps now and then a hasty turning away of the head, or drooping of the eyes towards the ground, all these minor circumstances, with a disinclination to have candles introduced and a tendency to confuse hours with minutes, are doubtless mere influences of the time, as many lovely lips can clearly testify.
  • …situation in which Nicholas stood had been carefully explained to her, and she had been prepared, even for the possible contingency of having to receive the young lady in her own house, improbable as such a result had appeared only a few minutes before it came about, still, Mrs Nickleby, from the moment when this confidence was first reposed in her, late on the previous evening, had remained in an unsatisfactory and profoundly mystified state, from which no explanations or arguments…
  • …was determined to arrest his progress at any hazard, and apprehensive that some well-intentioned passenger, attracted by the cry of ’Stop thief,’ might lay violent hands upon his person, and place him in a disagreeable predicament from which he might have some difficulty in extricating himself, Nicholas soon slackened his pace, and suffered Newman Noggs to come up with him: which he did, in so breathless a condition, that it seemed impossible he could have held out for a minute longer.

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To see samples from other sources, click a word sense below:
as in: a minute amount Define
very, very small
as in: keep the minutes Define
a written record of what happened at a meeting
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