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Steerforth's (previously wetting them both, for the greater
emphasis of the action), and divided the following speech between

'All of a sudden, one evening - as it might be tonight - comes
little Em'ly from her work, and him with her! There ain't so much
in that, you'll say. No, because he takes care on her, like a
brother, arter dark, and indeed afore dark, and at all times. But
this tarpaulin chap, he takes hold of her hand, and he cries out to
me, joyful, "Look here! This is to be my little wife!" And she
says, half bold and half shy, and half a laughing and half a
crying, "Yes, Uncle! If you please." - If I please!' cried Mr.
Peggotty, rolling his head in an ecstasy at the idea; 'Lord, as if
I should do anythink else! - "If you please, I am steadier now, and
I have thought better of it, and I'll be as good a little wife as
I can to him, for he's a dear, good fellow!" Then Missis Gummidge,
she claps her hands like a play, and you come in. Theer! the
murder's out!' said Mr. Peggotty - 'You come in! It took place
this here present hour; and here's the man that'll marry her, the
minute she's out of her time.'

Ham staggered, as well he might, under the blow Mr. Peggotty dealt
him in his unbounded joy, as a mark of confidence and friendship;
but feeling called upon to say something to us, he said, with much
faltering and great difficulty:

'She warn't no higher than you was, Mas'r Davy - when you first
come - when I thought what she'd grow up to be. I see her grown up
- gent'lmen - like a flower. I'd lay down my life for her - Mas'r
Davy - Oh! most content and cheerful! She's more to me - gent'lmen
- than - she's all to me that ever I can want, and more than ever
I - than ever I could say. I - I love her true. There ain't a
gent'lman in all the land - nor yet sailing upon all the sea - that
can love his lady more than I love her, though there's many a
common man - would say better - what he meant.'

I thought it affecting to see such a sturdy fellow as Ham was now,
trembling in the strength of what he felt for the pretty little
creature who had won his heart. I thought the simple confidence
reposed in us by Mr. Peggotty and by himself, was, in itself,
affecting. I was affected by the story altogether. How far my
emotions were influenced by the recollections of my childhood, I
don't know. Whether I had come there with any lingering fancy that
I was still to love little Em'ly, I don't know. I know that I was
filled with pleasure by all this; but, at first, with an
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