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after effecting a sale of their goods to a broker; that Mr.
Wickfield's affairs should be brought to a settlement, with all
convenient speed, under the direction of Traddles; and that Agnes
should also come to London, pending those arrangements. We passed
the night at the old house, which, freed from the presence of the
Heeps, seemed purged of a disease; and I lay in my old room, like
a shipwrecked wanderer come home.

We went back next day to my aunt's house - not to mine-and when
she and I sat alone, as of old, before going to bed, she said:

'Trot, do you really wish to know what I have had upon my mind

'Indeed I do, aunt. If there ever was a time when I felt unwilling
that you should have a sorrow or anxiety which I could not share,
it is now.'

'You have had sorrow enough, child,' said my aunt, affectionately,
'without the addition of my little miseries. I could have no other
motive, Trot, in keeping anything from you.'

'I know that well,' said I. 'But tell me now.'

'Would you ride with me a little way tomorrow morning?' asked my

'Of course.'

'At nine,' said she. 'I'll tell you then, my dear.'

At nine, accordingly, we went out in a little chariot, and drove to
London. We drove a long way through the streets, until we came to
one of the large hospitals. Standing hard by the building was a
plain hearse. The driver recognized my aunt, and, in obedience to
a motion of her hand at the window, drove slowly off; we following.

'You understand it now, Trot,' said my aunt. 'He is gone!'

'Did he die in the hospital?'


She sat immovable beside me; but, again I saw the stray tears on
her face.
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