habitual to her, `I have said my say, and a very long say it is, and a very wrong say too, I shouldn't wonder at all. I shall cheer him up tonight, at all events, for if he is to be my squire all the way to the Strand, I shall talk on, and on, and on, and never leave off, till I have roused him into a laugh at something. So the sooner he goes, the better for him, and the sooner I go, the better for me, I am sure, or else I shall have my maid gallivanting with somebody who may rob the house -- though what there is to take away, besides tables and chairs, I don't know, except the miniatures: and he is a clever thief who can dispose of them to any great advantage, for I can't, I know, and that's the honest truth.'

So saying, little Miss La Creevy hid her face in a very flat bonnet, and herself in a very big shawl; and fixing herself tightly into the latter, by means of a large pin, declared that the omnibus might come as soon as it pleased, for she was quite ready.

But there was still Mrs Nickleby to take leave of; and long before that good lady had concluded some reminiscences bearing upon, and appropriate to, the occasion, the omnibus arrived. This put Miss La Creevy in a great bustle, in consequence whereof, as she secretly rewarded the servant girl with eighteen- pence behind the street-door, she pulled out of her reticule ten-pennyworth of halfpence, which rolled into all possible corners of the passage, and occupied some considerable time in the picking up. This ceremony had, of course, to be succeeded by a second kissing of Kate and Mrs Nickleby, and a gathering together of the little basket and the brown-paper parcel, during which proceedings, `the omnibus,' as Miss La Creevy protested, `swore so dreadfully, that it was quite awful to hear it.' At length and at last, it made a feint of going-away, and then Miss La Creevy darted out, and darted in, apologising with great volubility to all the passengers, and declaring that she wouldn't purposely have kept them waiting on any account whatever. While she was looking about for a convenient seat, the conductor pushed Smike in, and cried that it was all right -- though it wasn't -- and away went the huge vehicle, with the noise of half- a-dozen brewers' drays at least.

Leaving it to pursue its journey at the pleasure of the conductor afore-mentioned, who lounged gracefully on his little shelf behind, smoking an odoriferous cigar; and leaving it to stop, or go on, or gallop, or crawl, as that gentleman deemed expedient and advisable; this narrative may embrace the opportunity of ascertaining the condition of Sir Mulberry Hawk, and to what extent he had, by this time, recovered from the injuries consequent on being flung violently from his cabriolet, under the circumstances already detailed.

With a shattered limb, a body severely bruised, a face disfigured by half-healed scars, and pallid from the exhaustion of recent pain and fever, Sir Mulberry Hawk lay stretched upon his back, on the couch to which he was doomed to be a prisoner for some weeks yet to come. Mr Pyke and Mr Pluck sat drinking hard in the next room, now and then varying the monotonous murmurs of their conversation with a half- smothered laugh, while the young lord -- the only member of the party who was not thoroughly irredeemable, and who really had a kind heart -- sat beside his Mentor, with a cigar in his mouth, and read to him, by the light of a lamp, such scraps of intelligence from a paper of the day, as were most likely to yield him interest or amusement.

`Curse those hounds!' said the invalid, turning his head impatiently towards the adjoining room; `will nothing stop their infernal throats?'

Messrs Pyke and Pluck heard the exclamation, and stopped immediately: winking to each other as they did so, and filling their glasses to the brim, as some recompense for the deprivation of speech.

`Damn!' muttered the sick man between his teeth, and writhing impatiently in his bed. `Isn't this mattress hard enough, and the room dull enough, and pain bad enough, but they must torture me? What's the time?'

`Half-past eight,' replied his friend.

`Here, draw the table nearer, and let us have the cards again,' said Sir Mulberry. `More piquet. Come.'

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