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had every appearance of having toiled and wandered through all
varieties of weather; but he looked very strong, and like a man
upheld by steadfastness of purpose, whom nothing could tire out.
He shook the snow from his hat and clothes, and brushed it away
from his face, while I was inwardly making these remarks. As he
sat down opposite to me at a table, with his back to the door by
which we had entered, he put out his rough hand again, and grasped
mine warmly.

'I'll tell you, Mas'r Davy,' he said, - 'wheer all I've been, and
what-all we've heerd. I've been fur, and we've heerd little; but
I'll tell you!'

I rang the bell for something hot to drink. He would have nothing
stronger than ale; and while it was being brought, and being warmed
at the fire, he sat thinking. There was a fine, massive gravity in
his face, I did not venture to disturb.

'When she was a child,' he said, lifting up his head soon after we
were left alone, 'she used to talk to me a deal about the sea, and
about them coasts where the sea got to be dark blue, and to lay
a-shining and a-shining in the sun. I thowt, odd times, as her
father being drownded made her think on it so much. I doen't know,
you see, but maybe she believed - or hoped - he had drifted out to
them parts, where the flowers is always a-blowing, and the country

'It is likely to have been a childish fancy,' I replied.

'When she was - lost,' said Mr. Peggotty, 'I know'd in my mind, as
he would take her to them countries. I know'd in my mind, as he'd
have told her wonders of 'em, and how she was to be a lady theer,
and how he got her to listen to him fust, along o' sech like. When
we see his mother, I know'd quite well as I was right. I went
across-channel to France, and landed theer, as if I'd fell down
from the sky.'

I saw the door move, and the snow drift in. I saw it move a little
more, and a hand softly interpose to keep it open.

'I found out an English gen'leman as was in authority,' said Mr.
Peggotty, 'and told him I was a-going to seek my niece. He got me
them papers as I wanted fur to carry me through - I doen't rightly
know how they're called - and he would have give me money, but that
I was thankful to have no need on. I thank him kind, for all he
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