`I am afraid you have some deep scheme in your head,' said Newman, doubtfully.
`So deep,' replied his young friend, `that even I can't fathom it. Whatever I resolve upon, depend upon it I will write you soon.'
`You won't forget?' said Newman.
`I am not very likely to,' rejoined Nicholas. `I have not so many friends that I shall grow confused among the number, and forget my best one.'
Occupied in such discourse, they walked on for a couple of hours, as they might have done for a couple of days if Nicholas had not sat himself down on a stone by the wayside, and resolutely declared his intention of not moving another step until Newman Noggs turned back. Having pleaded ineffectually first for another half-mile, and afterwards for another quarter, Newman was fain to comply, and to shape his course towards Golden Square, after interchanging many hearty and affectionate farewells, and many times turning back to wave his hat to the two wayfarers when they had become mere specks in the distance.
`Now listen to me, Smike,' said Nicholas, as they trudged with stout hearts onwards. `We are bound for Portsmouth.'
Smike nodded his head and smiled, but expressed no other emotion; for whether they had been bound for Portsmouth or Port Royal would have been alike to him, so they had been bound together.
`I don't know much of these matters,' resumed Nicholas; `but Portsmouth is a seaport town, and if no other employment is to be obtained, I should think we might get on board some ship. I am young and active, and could be useful in many ways. So could you.'
`I hope so,' replied Smike. `When I was at that -- you know where I mean?'
`Yes, I know,' said Nicholas. `You needn't name the place.'
`Well, when I was there,' resumed Smike; his eyes sparkling at the prospect of displaying his abilities; `I could milk a cow, and groom a horse, with anybody.'
`Ha!' said Nicholas, gravely. `I am afraid they don't keep many animals of either kind on board ship, Smike, and even when they have horses, that they are not very particular about rubbing them down; still you can learn to do something else, you know. Where there's a will, there's a way.'
`And I am very willing,' said Smike, brightening up again.
`God knows you are,' rejoined Nicholas; `and if you fail, it shall go hard but I'll do enough for us both.'
`Do we go all the way today?' asked Smike, after a short silence.
`That would be too severe a trial, even for your willing legs,' said Nicholas, with a good-humoured smile. `No. Godalming is some thirty and odd miles from London -- as I found from a map I borrowed -- and I purpose to rest there. We must push on again tomorrow, for we are not rich enough to loiter. Let me relieve you of that bundle! Come!'
`No, no,' rejoined Smike, falling back a few steps. `Don't ask me to give it up to you.'
`Why not?' asked Nicholas.
`Let me do something for you, at least,' said Smike. `You will never let me serve you as I ought. You will never know how I think, day and night, of ways to please you.'
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