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Kit Nubbles
by [?]

“I have brought his money for the week,” said the child, looking to the woman, and laying it on the table,–“and–and–a little more, for he was always good and kind to me. I hope he will be sorry and do well somewhere else and not take this to heart too much. It grieves me very much to part with him like this, but there is no help. It must be done. Good-night!”

With the tears streaming down her face, and her slight figure trembling with intense agitation, the child hastened to the door, and disappeared as rapidly as she had come.

The poor woman, who had no cause to doubt her son, but every reason for relying on his honesty and truth, was staggered, notwithstanding, by his not having advanced one word in his own defence.

Visions of gallantry, knavery, robbery, flocked into her brain and rendered her afraid to question him. She rocked herself upon a chair, wringing her hands and weeping bitterly. The baby in the cradle woke up and cried; the boy in the clothes-basket fell over on his back with the basket on him, and was seen no more; the mother wept louder yet and rocked faster; but Kit, insensible to all the din and tumult, remained in a state of utter stupefaction.

Of course, after that there was nothing for him to do but to keep as far away as possible from the shop, which he did, except in the evenings, when he often stole beneath Nell’s window on a chance of merely seeing her. One night he was rewarded by a scrap of whispered conversation with her from her window. She told him how sick her grandfather had been, and over and over Kit reiterated all there was for him to say–that he had done nothing to cause that sickness.

“He’ll be sure to get better now,” said the boy, anxiously, “when he does, say a good word–say a kind word for me, Miss Nell!”

“They tell me I must not even mention your name to him for a long, long time,” rejoined the child. “I dare not; and even if I might, what good would a kind word do you, Kit? We shall be very poor they say. We shall scarcely have bread to eat, for everything has been taken from us.”

“It’s not that I may be taken back,” said the boy. “No, it’s not that. It isn’t for the sake of food and wages that I’ve been waiting about in hopes of seeing you. Don’t think that I’d come in a time of trouble to talk of such things as them. It’s something very different from that. Perhaps he might think it over-venturesome of me to say–well then,–to say this,” said Kit, with sudden boldness. “This home is gone from you and him. Mother and I have got a poor one, and why not come there, till he’s had time to look about and find a better? You think,” said the boy, “that it’s very small and inconvenient. So it is, but it’s very clean. Do try, Miss Nell, do try. The little front room upstairs is very pleasant. Mother says it would be just the thing for you, and so it would; and you’d have her to wait upon you both, and me to run errands. We don’t mean money, bless you; you’re not to think of that! Will you try him, Miss Nell? Only say you’ll try him. Do try to make old master come, and ask him first what I have done. Will you only promise that, Miss Nell?”

The street door opened suddenly just then, and, conscious that they were overheard, Nell closed her window quickly, and Kit stole away. And that was his last view of his beloved mistress, for shortly afterwards the Old Curiosity Shop was vacant of its tenants. Little Nell and her grandfather had quietly slipped away, under cover of night, to face their poverty in a new place; where, no one knew or could find out; and all that remained to Kit to remind him of his past, was Nell’s bird, which he rescued from the shop, (now in Quilp’s hands), took home, and hung in his window, to the immeasurable delight of his whole family.