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and retired, leaving the door open, that I might avail myself of
that permission.

I did so, and did so every morning of my imprisonment, which lasted
five days. If I could have seen my mother alone, I should have
gone down on my knees to her and besought her forgiveness; but I
saw no one, Miss Murdstone excepted, during the whole time - except
at evening prayers in the parlour; to which I was escorted by Miss
Murdstone after everybody else was placed; where I was stationed,
a young outlaw, all alone by myself near the door; and whence I was
solemnly conducted by my jailer, before any one arose from the
devotional posture. I only observed that my mother was as far off
from me as she could be, and kept her face another way so that I
never saw it; and that Mr. Murdstone's hand was bound up in a large
linen wrapper.

The length of those five days I can convey no idea of to any one.
They occupy the place of years in my remembrance. The way in which
I listened to all the incidents of the house that made themselves
audible to me; the ringing of bells, the opening and shutting of
doors, the murmuring of voices, the footsteps on the stairs; to any
laughing, whistling, or singing, outside, which seemed more dismal
than anything else to me in my solitude and disgrace - the
uncertain pace of the hours, especially at night, when I would wake
thinking it was morning, and find that the family were not yet gone
to bed, and that all the length of night had yet to come - the
depressed dreams and nightmares I had - the return of day, noon,
afternoon, evening, when the boys played in the churchyard, and I
watched them from a distance within the room, being ashamed to show
myself at the window lest they should know I was a prisoner - the
strange sensation of never hearing myself speak - the fleeting
intervals of something like cheerfulness, which came with eating
and drinking, and went away with it - the setting in of rain one
evening, with a fresh smell, and its coming down faster and faster
between me and the church, until it and gathering night seemed to
quench me in gloom, and fear, and remorse - all this appears to
have gone round and round for years instead of days, it is so
vividly and strongly stamped on my remembrance.

On the last night of my restraint, I was awakened by hearing my own
name spoken in a whisper. I started up in bed, and putting out my
arms in the dark, said:

'Is that you, Peggotty?'

There was no immediate answer, but presently I heard my name again,
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