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I was obliged to consider a little before I understood what Mr.
Peggotty meant by this figure, expressive of a complete circle of
intelligence. I then thanked him heartily; and said, with a
consciousness of reddening, that I supposed little Em'ly was
altered too, since we used to pick up shells and pebbles on the

'She's getting to be a woman, that's wot she's getting to be,' said
Mr. Peggotty. 'Ask HIM.'

He meant Ham, who beamed with delight and assent over the bag of

'Her pretty face!' said Mr. Peggotty, with his own shining like a

'Her learning!' said Ham.

'Her writing!' said Mr. Peggotty. 'Why it's as black as jet! And
so large it is, you might see it anywheres.'

It was perfectly delightful to behold with what enthusiasm Mr.
Peggotty became inspired when he thought of his little favourite.
He stands before me again, his bluff hairy face irradiating with a
joyful love and pride, for which I can find no description. His
honest eyes fire up, and sparkle, as if their depths were stirred
by something bright. His broad chest heaves with pleasure. His
strong loose hands clench themselves, in his earnestness; and he
emphasizes what he says with a right arm that shows, in my pigmy
view, like a sledge-hammer.

Ham was quite as earnest as he. I dare say they would have said
much more about her, if they had not been abashed by the unexpected
coming in of Steerforth, who, seeing me in a corner speaking with
two strangers, stopped in a song he was singing, and said: 'I
didn't know you were here, young Copperfield!' (for it was not the
usual visiting room) and crossed by us on his way out.

I am not sure whether it was in the pride of having such a friend
as Steerforth, or in the desire to explain to him how I came to
have such a friend as Mr. Peggotty, that I called to him as he was
going away. But I said, modestly - Good Heaven, how it all comes
back to me this long time afterwards! -
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