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At length, much to my relief, my aunt and Mr. Wickfield came back,
after a pretty long absence. They were not so successful as I
could have wished; for though the advantages of the school were
undeniable, my aunt had not approved of any of the boarding-houses
proposed for me.

'It's very unfortunate,' said my aunt. 'I don't know what to do,

'It does happen unfortunately,' said Mr. Wickfield. 'But I'll tell
you what you can do, Miss Trotwood.'

'What's that?' inquired my aunt.

'Leave your nephew here, for the present. He's a quiet fellow. He
won't disturb me at all. It's a capital house for study. As quiet
as a monastery, and almost as roomy. Leave him here.'

My aunt evidently liked the offer, though she was delicate of
accepting it. So did I.

'Come, Miss Trotwood,' said Mr. Wickfield. 'This is the way out of
the difficulty. It's only a temporary arrangement, you know. If
it don't act well, or don't quite accord with our mutual
convenience, he can easily go to the right-about. There will be
time to find some better place for him in the meanwhile. You had
better determine to leave him here for the present!'

'I am very much obliged to you,' said my aunt; 'and so is he, I
see; but -'

'Come! I know what you mean,' cried Mr. Wickfield. 'You shall not
be oppressed by the receipt of favours, Miss Trotwood. You may pay
for him, if you like. We won't be hard about terms, but you shall
pay if you will.'

'On that understanding,' said my aunt, 'though it doesn't lessen
the real obligation, I shall be very glad to leave him.'

'Then come and see my little housekeeper,' said Mr. Wickfield.

We accordingly went up a wonderful old staircase; with a balustrade
so broad that we might have gone up that, almost as easily; and
into a shady old drawing-room, lighted by some three or four of the
quaint windows I had looked up at from the street: which had old
oak seats in them, that seemed to have come of the same trees as
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