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a cordial face, shook hands with him, and patted him on the arm.
It was so expressively done, that she had no need to say a word.
Mr. Peggotty understood her quite as well as if she had said a

'I'll go in now, Trot,' said my aunt, 'and look after Little
Blossom, who will be getting up presently.'

'Not along of my being heer, ma'am, I hope?' said Mr. Peggotty.
'Unless my wits is gone a bahd's neezing' - by which Mr. Peggotty
meant to say, bird's-nesting - 'this morning, 'tis along of me as
you're a-going to quit us?'

'You have something to say, my good friend,' returned my aunt, 'and
will do better without me.'

'By your leave, ma'am,' returned Mr. Peggotty, 'I should take it
kind, pervising you doen't mind my clicketten, if you'd bide heer.'

'Would you?' said my aunt, with short good-nature. 'Then I am sure
I will!'

So, she drew her arm through Mr. Peggotty's, and walked with him to
a leafy little summer-house there was at the bottom of the garden,
where she sat down on a bench, and I beside her. There was a seat
for Mr. Peggotty too, but he preferred to stand, leaning his hand
on the small rustic table. As he stood, looking at his cap for a
little while before beginning to speak, I could not help observing
what power and force of character his sinewy hand expressed, and
what a good and trusty companion it was to his honest brow and
iron-grey hair.

'I took my dear child away last night,' Mr. Peggotty began, as he
raised his eyes to ours, 'to my lodging, wheer I have a long time
been expecting of her and preparing fur her. It was hours afore
she knowed me right; and when she did, she kneeled down at my feet,
and kiender said to me, as if it was her prayers, how it all come
to be. You may believe me, when I heerd her voice, as I had heerd
at home so playful - and see her humbled, as it might be in the
dust our Saviour wrote in with his blessed hand - I felt a wownd go
to my 'art, in the midst of all its thankfulness.'

He drew his sleeve across his face, without any pretence of
concealing why; and then cleared his voice.
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