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I came softly away from my place of observation, and avoiding that
part of the neighbourhood, and wishing I had not gone near it,
strolled about until it was ten o'clock. The church with the
slender spire, that stands on the top of the hill now, was not
there then to tell me the time. An old red-brick mansion, used as
a school, was in its place; and a fine old house it must have been
to go to school at, as I recollect it.

When I approached the Doctor's cottage - a pretty old place, on
which he seemed to have expended some money, if I might judge from
the embellishments and repairs that had the look of being just
completed - I saw him walking in the garden at the side, gaiters
and all, as if he had never left off walking since the days of my
pupilage. He had his old companions about him, too; for there were
plenty of high trees in the neighbourhood, and two or three rooks
were on the grass, looking after him, as if they had been written
to about him by the Canterbury rooks, and were observing him
closely in consequence.

Knowing the utter hopelessness of attracting his attention from
that distance, I made bold to open the gate, and walk after him, so
as to meet him when he should turn round. When he did, and came
towards me, he looked at me thoughtfully for a few moments,
evidently without thinking about me at all; and then his benevolent
face expressed extraordinary pleasure, and he took me by both

'Why, my dear Copperfield,' said the Doctor, 'you are a man! How
do you do? I am delighted to see you. My dear Copperfield, how
very much you have improved! You are quite - yes - dear me!'

I hoped he was well, and Mrs. Strong too.

'Oh dear, yes!' said the Doctor; 'Annie's quite well, and she'll be
delighted to see you. You were always her favourite. She said so,
last night, when I showed her your letter. And - yes, to be sure
- you recollect Mr. Jack Maldon, Copperfield?'

'Perfectly, sir.'

'Of course,' said the Doctor. 'To be sure. He's pretty well,
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