’ "Stay!" said the monk, raising his right hand in the air, and directing an angry glance by turns at Alice and the eldest sister.
Landlord, pray direct a boy to keep watch outside the door—and if a green chariot passes in the direction of Grantham, to stop it instantly.’
Having a half-perception of what had occurred in the course of the evening, she changed her mode of making herself agreeable, and proceeded on the indirect tack.
’Coming directly, sir.’
It was directed to himself, was written upon very dirty paper, and in such cramped and crippled writing as to be almost illegible.
’Yes, ma’am,’ replied Kate, not daring to look up; for she felt that the eyes of the odious man in the dressing-gown were directed towards her.
The latter gentleman was obliging enough to direct general attention towards her.
If your daughter is disposed to try after the situation, I’ll take her there directly.’
’We shall be ready directly,’ said Kate.
’We shall be down directly, sir,’ replied Nicholas.
Show more again
’Down directly!’ said Squeers.
’Ah! you had better be down directly, or I’ll be down upon some of you in less.
’Morleena, my dear, run down and let your uncle in, and kiss him directly you get the door open.
Newman reflected for a few seconds, and then hurried away, muttering that he would be back directly.
’They are all come, and dinner will be announced directly afterwards—that’s all.’
I recollect he was a jovial, ruddy, broad-faced man; that we got acquainted directly; and that we talked on all kinds of subjects, except the school, which he showed a great anxiety to avoid.
Without returning any direct reply, Miss Squeers, all at once, fell into a paroxysm of spiteful tears, and exclaimed that she was a wretched, neglected, miserable castaway.
’No longer were the friar’s eyes directed to the earth; they were cast abroad, and roamed from point to point, as if the gloom and desolation of the scene found a quick response in his own bosom.
’The holy man, who had often urged the same point before, but had never met with so direct a repulse, walked some little distance behind, with his eyes bent upon the earth, and his lips moving AS IF in prayer.
Miss Knag of course replied, that to forget anything Madame Mantalini had directed, was a moral impossibility; and that lady, dispensing a general good-morning among her assistants, sailed away.
The same pious care which enriched the abbey of St Mary, and left us, orphans, to its holy guardianship, directed that no constraint should be imposed upon our inclinations, but that we should be free to live according to our choice.
Mr Squeers got down at almost every stage—to stretch his legs as he said—and as he always came back from such excursions with a very red nose, and composed himself to sleep directly, there is reason to suppose that he derived great benefit from the process.
Expressing himself to this effect, Mr Squeers, who lost no opportunity of advertising gratuitously, placed his hands upon his knees, and looked at the pupils with as much benignity as he could possibly affect, while Nicholas, blushing with shame, handed round the cards as directed.
The general attention had been entirely directed from himself to the person in the carriage, and he was quite alone.
’Ah! there she be,’ said John, observing the look which Nicholas directed towards his wife.
Miss Squeers made no more direct reply than surveying her former friend from top to toe, and elevating her nose in the air with ineffable disdain.
’We’ll have a new show-piece out directly,’ said the manager.
I’ll open the door directly, if you’ll wait an instant.’
I’ll be with you directly.’
Nicholas sat himself down, directly opposite to the party, and, summoning the waiter, paid his bill.
You must leave here with me directly; you should not have slept here last night, but that I knew all this too late.
He closed the bargain directly it reached his ears, and Ralph told the money out upon the table.
The least excitement, the slightest surprise—she fainted away directly.
’No, no,’ rejoined Noggs; ’they’ll be here directly.
Suddenly the sound of cautious footsteps attracted his ear, and directly afterwards a female voice inquired if the gentleman was there.
We’ll go, as we came, directly it’s shut.
Thinking no longer of his own misfortunes, but wondering what could be those of the beautiful girl he had seen, Nicholas, with many wrong turns, and many inquiries, and almost as many misdirections, bent his steps towards the place whither he had been directed.
’I understand it now, my dear,’ said Mrs Nickleby, laying her hand on Kate’s; ’don’t be alarmed, my love, it’s not directed to you, and is not intended to frighten anybody.
Having complimented Ralph to this effect, the gentleman rang the bell, and stared at Miss Nickleby until it was answered, when he left off to bid the man desire his mistress to come directly; after which, he began again, and left off no more until Madame Mantalini appeared.
He was giddy and sick, but staggered to his feet directly, roused by the loud shouts of the men who were tearing up the street, and screaming to those ahead to clear the way.
It was, indeed, that well-intentioned lady, who, having received an offer for the empty house in the city directed to the landlord, had brought it post-haste to Mr Nickleby without delay.
Having thus directed the general attention to the young lady in question, the married lady embraced the opportunity of taking another sip of the brandy-and-water—and a pretty long sip too.
You needn’t direct your glances towards me,’ said Mrs Wititterly, with a sudden burst of spite; ’I am not Sir Mulberry, no, nor Lord Frederick Verisopht, Miss Nickleby, nor am I Mr Pyke, nor Mr Pluck either.’
But the notion of Ralph Nickleby having directed it to be done, tickled his fancy so much, that he could not refrain from cracking all his ten fingers in succession: at which performance Mrs Nickleby was rather startled at first, but supposing it to be in some remote manner connected with the gout, did not remark upon.
’Brother Charles, my dear fellow,’ replied a voice from the inside, so like in its tones to that which had just spoken, that Nicholas started, and almost thought it was the same, ’don’t ask me such a question, but come in directly.’
That every little accomplishment she had acquired in happier days had been put into requisition for this purpose, and directed to this one end.
Nicholas followed his eyes, which were directed to some distance behind the chair from which he himself had just risen.
Kate retired as she was directed.
Why, his father’s my friend; he’s to come back to me directly, he is.
’Oh! yes, yes,’ said Kate, directly the whole figure of this singular visitor appeared in this abrupt manner.
’Mr Nickleby, there is terrible news for you, and I am sent to beg you will come with me directly,’ said a voice he seemed to recognise.
The attention of the company was then directed, by a natural transition, to the little girl who had had the audacity to burn her hair off, and who, after receiving sundry small slaps and pushes from the more energetic of the ladies, was mercifully sent home: the ninepence, with which she was to have been rewarded, being escheated to the Kenwigs family.
Ralph ran over this brief summary of Kate’s condition as if it were merely passing through his own mind, and he had no intention to speak aloud; but the shrewd sly look which he directed at his companion as he delivered it, gave this poor assumption the lie.
Some few acquired great credit from having prophesied, the day before yesterday, exactly when it would come to pass; others, again, related, how that they guessed what it was, directly they saw Mr Kenwigs turn pale and run up the street as hard as ever he could go.
After sufficient cogitation he broke silence, and it certainly could not be objected that he used any needless circumlocution, or failed to speak directly to the purpose.
Ralph waited until there was a perfect silence, and then turning to Mrs Nickleby, but directing an eager glance at Kate, as if more anxious to watch his effect upon her, said: ’Now, ma’am, listen to me.
So saying, Newman slipped into a tall empty closet which opened with two half doors, and shut himself up; intending to slip out directly Ralph was safe inside his own room.
After a short interval, which John Browdie employed upon the ham and a cold round of beef, the waiter returned with another pie, and the information that Mr Squeers was not stopping in the house, but that he came there every day and that directly he arrived, he should be shown upstairs.
A hasty breakfast taken, and such affairs of business as required prompt attention disposed of, he directed his steps to the residence of Madeline Bray: whither he lost no time in arriving.
I have heard her say, often and often, that when she was a young lady, and before she was married, she was turning a corner into Oxford Street one day, when she ran against her own hairdresser, who, it seems, was escaping from a bear;—the mere suddenness of the encounter made her faint away directly.
If this were so, the fact must be known to Gride; and to Gride’s house he directed his steps; now thoroughly alarmed, and fearful that there were indeed plots afoot, tending to his discomfiture and ruin.
When he blew this bugle, four-and-twenty other gentlemen of inferior rank, in Lincoln green a little coarser, and russet boots with a little thicker soles, turned out directly: and away galloped the whole train, with spears in their hands like lacquered area railings, to hunt down the boars, or perhaps encounter a bear: in which latter case the baron killed him first, and greased his whiskers with him afterwards.
Almost immediately afterwards, Master Percy Crummles entered with a letter, which had arrived by the General Post, and was directed to his gracious mother; at sight of the superscription whereof, Mrs Crummles exclaimed, ’From Henrietta Petowker, I do declare!’ and instantly became absorbed in the contents.
Mr Squeers, having bolted the door to keep it shut, ushered him into a small parlour scantily furnished with a few chairs, a yellow map hung against the wall, and a couple of tables; one of which bore some preparations for supper; while, on the other, a tutor’s assistant, a Murray’s grammar, half-a-dozen cards of terms, and a worn letter directed to Wackford Squeers, Esquire, were arranged in picturesque confusion.
Newman brought back the information that Mr Squeers had come by mail that morning, and had received the letter in bed; but that he sent his duty, and word that he would get up and wait upon Mr Nickleby directly.
’Having written on her death-bed a letter or confession to you, about this very boy, which, as it was not directed otherwise than in your name, only reached you, and that by a circuitous course, a few days since?’
—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!
’He tried to alter my resolution,’ said Kate, ’and declared that, be my decision what it might, he would not only inform his uncles of the step he had taken, but would communicate it to you also, directly you returned.
The place to which Mr Cheeryble had directed him was a row of mean and not over-cleanly houses, situated within ’the Rules’ of the King’s Bench Prison, and not many hundred paces distant from the obelisk in St George’s Fields.
After they had stood for an instant, on the landing, eyeing each other, he who had proposed their carrying the search so far, turned the handle of the door, and, pushing it open, looked through the chink, and fell back directly.
He was dusty with walking, and poorly dressed—I think his clothes were ragged—but directly I saw him, the wet night, his face when he left me, the parlour I was left in, and the people that were there, all seemed to come back together.
He listened to the man’s retreating footsteps until the sound had passed, and then, gazing up into the sky, saw, or thought he saw, the same black cloud that had seemed to follow him home, and which now appeared to hover directly above the house.
When he had cooled sufficiently to be enabled to give his present circumstances some little reflection, they did not appear in a very encouraging light; he had only four shillings and a few pence in his pocket, and was something more than two hundred and fifty miles from London, whither he resolved to direct his steps, that he might ascertain, among other things, what account of the morning’s proceedings Mr Squeers transmitted to his most affectionate uncle.
’This is your pocket-book,’ said Ralph, producing one from his coat; ’the certificates of your first marriage and of the boy’s birth, and your wife’s two letters, and every other paper that can support these statements directly or by implication, are here, are they?’
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.
Directly I came home again, I travelled down into Yorkshire, and, skulking in the village of an evening-time, made inquiries about the boys at the school, and found that this one, whom I had placed there, had run away with a young man bearing the name of his own father.
There was some singing, too, from Miss Ledrook and Miss Bravassa, and very likely there might have been more, if the fly-driver, who stopped to drive the happy pair to the spot where they proposed to take steamboat to Ryde, had not sent in a peremptory message intimating, that if they didn’t come directly he should infallibly demand eighteen-pence over and above his agreement.
He had torn a rope from one of the old trunks, and hung himself on an iron hook immediately below the trap-door in the ceiling—in the very place to which the eyes of his son, a lonely, desolate, little creature, had so often been directed in childish terror, fourteen years before.
This officer was busily plying his vocation when half-a-dozen persons sauntered through the booth, to whom, but without stopping either in his speech or work, he bowed respectfully; at the same time directing, by a look, the attention of a man beside him to the tallest figure in the group, in recognition of whom the proprietor pulled off his hat.
Nicholas, taking the insensible girl in his arms, bore her from the chamber and downstairs into the room he had just quitted, followed by his sister and the faithful servant, whom he charged to procure a coach directly, while he and Kate bent over their beautiful charge and endeavoured, but in vain, to restore her to animation.
CHAPTER 60 The Dangers thicken, and the Worst is told Instead of going home, Ralph threw himself into the first street cabriolet he could find, and, directing the driver towards the police-office of the district in which Mr Squeers’s misfortunes had occurred, alighted at a short distance from it, and, discharging the man, went the rest of his way thither on foot.
Without stopping to inquire whether the intervening day appeared to Nicholas to consist of the usual number of hours of the ordinary length, it may be remarked that, to the parties more directly interested in the forthcoming ceremony, it passed with great rapidity, insomuch that when Miss Petowker awoke on the succeeding morning in the chamber of Miss Snevellicci, she declared that nothing should ever persuade her that that really was the day which was to behold a change in her…
But the intense eagerness and joy depicted in the face of Newman Noggs, which was suffused with perspiration; the surprising energy with which he directed a constant succession of blows towards a particular panel about five feet eight from the ground, and still worked away in the most untiring and persevering manner, would have sufficiently explained to the attentive observer, that his imagination was thrashing, to within an inch of his life, his body’s most active employer, Mr Ralph…
Nothing daunted by this repulse, Nicholas returned to the charge next day, emboldened by the circumstance of Mr Linkinwater being in a very talkative and communicative mood; but, directly he resumed the theme, Tim relapsed into a state of most provoking taciturnity, and from answering in monosyllables, came to returning no answers at all, save such as were to be inferred from several grave nods and shrugs, which only served to whet that appetite for intelligence in Nicholas, which had…
While one detachment rushed to the door and locked it, and another mounted on the desks and forms, the stoutest (and consequently the newest) boy seized the cane, and confronting Mrs Squeers with a stern countenance, snatched off her cap and beaver bonnet, put them on his own head, armed himself with the wooden spoon, and bade her, on pain of death, go down upon her knees and take a dose directly.
To the row of houses indicated to him by Mr Charles Cheeryble, Nicholas directed his steps, without much troubling his head with such matters as these; and at this row of houses—after traversing a very dirty and dusty suburb, of which minor theatricals, shell-fish, ginger-beer, spring vans, greengrocery, and brokers’ shops, appeared to compose the main and most prominent features—he at length arrived with a palpitating heart.
…Mrs Nickleby, drawing herself up, and looking another way with a kind of bashful stateliness; ’this gentleman will understand me when I tell him that I repeat the answer I gave him the other day; that I always will repeat it, though I do believe him to be sincere when I find him placing himself in such dreadful situations on my account; and that I request him to have the goodness to go away directly, or it will be impossible to keep his behaviour a secret from my son Nicholas.
…who lay in noisome pens, or rose each day and laid them down each night, and lived and died, father and son, mother and child, race upon race, and generation upon 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…
It was directed to blank Johnson, Esq., by favour of Augustus Folair, Esq.; and the astonishment of Nicholas was in no degree lessened, when he found it to be couched in the following laconic terms:— "Mr Lenville presents his kind regards to Mr Johnson, and will feel obliged if he will inform him at what hour tomorrow morning it will be most convenient to him to meet Mr L. at the Theatre, for the purpose of having his nose pulled in the presence of the company.
The father sat opposite to her; not looking directly in her face, but glancing at her, as he talked with a gay air which ill disguised the anxiety of his thoughts.