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'Are you going back those many thousand miles, so soon?' asked

'Yes, ma'am,' he returned. 'I giv the promise to Em'ly, afore I
come away. You see, I doen't grow younger as the years comes
round, and if I hadn't sailed as 'twas, most like I shouldn't never
have done 't. And it's allus been on my mind, as I must come and
see Mas'r Davy and your own sweet blooming self, in your wedded
happiness, afore I got to be too old.'

He looked at us, as if he could never feast his eyes on us
sufficiently. Agnes laughingly put back some scattered locks of
his grey hair, that he might see us better.

'And now tell us,' said I, 'everything relating to your fortunes.'

'Our fortuns, Mas'r Davy,' he rejoined, 'is soon told. We haven't
fared nohows, but fared to thrive. We've allus thrived. We've
worked as we ought to 't, and maybe we lived a leetle hard at first
or so, but we have allus thrived. What with sheep-farming, and
what with stock-farming, and what with one thing and what with
t'other, we are as well to do, as well could be. Theer's been
kiender a blessing fell upon us,' said Mr. Peggotty, reverentially
inclining his head, 'and we've done nowt but prosper. That is, in
the long run. If not yesterday, why then today. If not today, why
then tomorrow.'

'And Emily?' said Agnes and I, both together.

'Em'ly,' said he, 'arter you left her, ma'am - and I never heerd
her saying of her prayers at night, t'other side the canvas screen,
when we was settled in the Bush, but what I heerd your name - and
arter she and me lost sight of Mas'r Davy, that theer shining
sundown - was that low, at first, that, if she had know'd then what
Mas'r Davy kep from us so kind and thowtful, 'tis my opinion she'd
have drooped away. But theer was some poor folks aboard as had
illness among 'em, and she took care of them; and theer was the
children in our company, and she took care of them; and so she got
to be busy, and to be doing good, and that helped her.'

'When did she first hear of it?' I asked.

'I kep it from her arter I heerd on 't,' said Mr. Peggotty, 'going
on nigh a year. We was living then in a solitary place, but among
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