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'It has been put into your hearts, perhaps, to save a wretched
creature for repentance. I am afraid to think so; it seems too
bold. If any good should come of me, I might begin to hope; for
nothing but harm has ever come of my deeds yet. I am to be
trusted, for the first time in a long while, with my miserable
life, on account of what you have given me to try for. I know no
more, and I can say no more.'

Again she repressed the tears that had begun to flow; and, putting
out her trembling hand, and touching Mr. Peggotty, as if there was
some healing virtue in him, went away along the desolate road. She
had been ill, probably for a long time. I observed, upon that
closer opportunity of observation, that she was worn and haggard,
and that her sunken eyes expressed privation and endurance.

We followed her at a short distance, our way lying in the same
direction, until we came back into the lighted and populous
streets. I had such implicit confidence in her declaration, that
I then put it to Mr. Peggotty, whether it would not seem, in the
onset, like distrusting her, to follow her any farther. He being
of the same mind, and equally reliant on her, we suffered her to
take her own road, and took ours, which was towards Highgate. He
accompanied me a good part of the way; and when we parted, with a
prayer for the success of this fresh effort, there was a new and
thoughtful compassion in him that I was at no loss to interpret.

It was midnight when I arrived at home. I had reached my own gate,
and was standing listening for the deep bell of St. Paul's, the
sound of which I thought had been borne towards me among the
multitude of striking clocks, when I was rather surprised to see
that the door of my aunt's cottage was open, and that a faint light
in the entry was shining out across the road.

Thinking that my aunt might have relapsed into one of her old
alarms, and might be watching the progress of some imaginary
conflagration in the distance, I went to speak to her. It was with
very great surprise that I saw a man standing in her little garden.

He had a glass and bottle in his hand, and was in the act of
drinking. I stopped short, among the thick foliage outside, for
the moon was up now, though obscured; and I recognized the man whom
I had once supposed to be a delusion of Mr. Dick's, and had once
encountered with my aunt in the streets of the city.
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