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'You look very well, Mr. Barkis,' I said, thinking he would like to
Mr. Barkis rubbed his cheek with his cuff, and then looked at his
cuff as if he expected to find some of the bloom upon it; but made
no other acknowledgement of the compliment.
'I gave your message, Mr. Barkis,' I said: 'I wrote to Peggotty.'
'Ah!' said Mr. Barkis.
Mr. Barkis seemed gruff, and answered drily.
'Wasn't it right, Mr. Barkis?' I asked, after a little hesitation.
'Why, no,' said Mr. Barkis.
'Not the message?'
'The message was right enough, perhaps,' said Mr. Barkis; 'but it
come to an end there.'
Not understanding what he meant, I repeated inquisitively: 'Came to
an end, Mr. Barkis?'
'Nothing come of it,' he explained, looking at me sideways. 'No
'There was an answer expected, was there, Mr. Barkis?' said I,
opening my eyes. For this was a new light to me.
'When a man says he's willin',' said Mr. Barkis, turning his glance
slowly on me again, 'it's as much as to say, that man's a-waitin'
for a answer.'
'Well, Mr. Barkis?'
'Well,' said Mr. Barkis, carrying his eyes back to his horse's
ears; 'that man's been a-waitin' for a answer ever since.'
'Have you told her so, Mr. Barkis?'
'No - no,' growled Mr. Barkis, reflecting about it. 'I ain't got
no call to go and tell her so. I never said six words to her
myself, I ain't a-goin' to tell her so.'