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    Chapter 65

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    Chapter 65
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    CHAPTER 65

    Conclusion

    When her term of mourning had expired, Madeline gave her hand and
    fortune to Nicholas; and, on the same day and at the same time, Kate
    became Mrs Frank Cheeryble. It was expected that Tim Linkinwater
    and Miss La Creevy would have made a third couple on the occasion,
    but they declined, and two or three weeks afterwards went out
    together one morning before breakfast, and, coming back with merry
    faces, were found to have been quietly married that day.

    The money which Nicholas acquired in right of his wife he invested
    in the firm of Cheeryble Brothers, in which Frank had become a
    partner. Before many years elapsed, the business began to be
    carried on in the names of 'Cheeryble and Nickleby,' so that Mrs
    Nickleby's prophetic anticipations were realised at last.

    The twin brothers retired. Who needs to be told that THEY were
    happy? They were surrounded by happiness of their own creation, and
    lived but to increase it.

    Tim Linkinwater condescended, after much entreaty and brow-beating,
    to accept a share in the house; but he could never be prevailed upon
    to suffer the publication of his name as a partner, and always
    persisted in the punctual and regular discharge of his clerkly
    duties.

    He and his wife lived in the old house, and occupied the very
    bedchamber in which he had slept for four-and-forty years. As his
    wife grew older, she became even a more cheerful and light-hearted
    little creature; and it was a common saying among their friends,
    that it was impossible to say which looked the happier, Tim as he
    sat calmly smiling in his elbow-chair on one side of the fire, or
    his brisk little wife chatting and laughing, and constantly bustling
    in and out of hers, on the other.

    Dick, the blackbird, was removed from the counting-house and
    promoted to a warm corner in the common sitting-room. Beneath his
    cage hung two miniatures, of Mrs Linkinwater's execution; one
    representing herself, and the other Tim; and both smiling very hard
    at all beholders. Tim's head being powdered like a twelfth cake,
    and his spectacles copied with great nicety, strangers detected a
    close resemblance to him at the first glance, and this leading them
    to suspect that the other must be his wife, and emboldening them to
    say so without scruple, Mrs Linkinwater grew very proud of these
    achievements in time, and considered them among the most successful
    likenesses she had ever painted. Tim had the profoundest faith in
    them, likewise; for on this, as on all other subjects, they held but
    one opinion; and if ever there were a 'comfortable couple' in the
    world, it was Mr and Mrs Linkinwater.

    Ralph, having died intestate, and having no relations but those with
    whom he had lived in such enmity, they would have become in legal
    course his heirs. But they could not bear the thought of growing
    rich on money so acquired, and felt as though they could never hope
    to prosper with it. They made no claim to his wealth; and the
    riches for which he had toiled all his days, and burdened his soul
    with so many evil deeds, were swept at last into the coffers of the
    state, and no man was the better or the happier for them.

    Arthur Gride was tried for the unlawful possession of the will,
    which he had either procured to be stolen, or had dishonestly
    acquired and retained by other means as bad. By dint of an
    ingenious counsel, and a legal flaw, he escaped; but only to undergo
    a worse punishment; for, some years afterwards, his house was broken
    open in the night by robbers, tempted by the rumours of his great
    wealth, and he was found murdered in his bed.

    Mrs Sliderskew went beyond the seas at nearly the same time as Mr
    Squeers, and in the course of nature never returned. Brooker died
    penitent. Sir Mulberry Hawk lived abroad for some years, courted
    and caressed, and in high repute as a fine dashing fellow.
    Ultimately, returning to this country, he was thrown into jail for
    debt, and there perished miserably, as such high spirits generally
    do.

    The first act of Nicholas, when he became a rich and prosperous
    merchant, was to buy his father's old house. As time crept on, and
    there came gradually about him a group of lovely children, it was
    altered and enlarged; but none of the old rooms were ever pulled
    down, no old tree was ever rooted up, nothing with which there was
    any association of bygone times was ever removed or changed.

    Within a stone's throw was another retreat, enlivened by children's
    pleasant voices too; and here was Kate, with many new cares and
    occupations, and many new faces courting her sweet smile (and one so
    like her own, that to her mother she seemed a child again), the same
    true gentle creature, the same fond sister, the same in the love of
    all about her, as in her girlish days.

    Mrs Nickleby lived, sometimes with her daughter, and sometimes with
    her son, accompanying one or other of them to London at those
    periods when the cares of business obliged both families to reside
    there, and always preserving a great appearance of dignity, and
    relating her experiences (especially on points connected with the
    management and bringing-up of children) with much solemnity and
    importance. It was a very long time before she could be induced to
    receive Mrs Linkinwater into favour, and it is even doubtful whether
    she ever thoroughly forgave her.

    There was one grey-haired, quiet, harmless gentleman, who, winter
    and summer, lived in a little cottage hard by Nicholas's house, and,
    when he was not there, assumed the superintendence of affairs. His
    chief pleasure and delight was in the children, with whom he was a
    child himself, and master of the revels. The little people could do
    nothing without dear Newman Noggs.

    The grass was green above the dead boy's grave, and trodden by feet
    so small and light, that not a daisy drooped its head beneath their
    pressure. Through all the spring and summertime, garlands of fresh
    flowers, wreathed by infant hands, rested on the stone; and, when
    the children came to change them lest they should wither and be
    pleasant to him no longer, their eyes filled with tears, and they
    spoke low and softly of their poor dead cousin.
    Chapter 65
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