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'You are too young to know how the world changes every day,' said
Mrs. Creakle, 'and how the people in it pass away. But we all have
to learn it, David; some of us when we are young, some of us when
we are old, some of us at all times of our lives.'
I looked at her earnestly.
'When you came away from home at the end of the vacation,' said
Mrs. Creakle, after a pause, 'were they all well?' After another
pause, 'Was your mama well?'
I trembled without distinctly knowing why, and still looked at her
earnestly, making no attempt to answer.
'Because,' said she, 'I grieve to tell you that I hear this morning
your mama is very ill.'
A mist rose between Mrs. Creakle and me, and her figure seemed to
move in it for an instant. Then I felt the burning tears run down
my face, and it was steady again.
'She is very dangerously ill,' she added.
I knew all now.
'She is dead.'
There was no need to tell me so. I had already broken out into a
desolate cry, and felt an orphan in the wide world.
She was very kind to me. She kept me there all day, and left me
alone sometimes; and I cried, and wore myself to sleep, and awoke
and cried again. When I could cry no more, I began to think; and
then the oppression on my breast was heaviest, and my grief a dull
pain that there was no ease for.
And yet my thoughts were idle; not intent on the calamity that
weighed upon my heart, but idly loitering near it. I thought of
our house shut up and hushed. I thought of the little baby, who,
Mrs. Creakle said, had been pining away for some time, and who,
they believed, would die too. I thought of my father's grave in
the churchyard, by our house, and of my mother lying there beneath
the tree I knew so well. I stood upon a chair when I was left
alone, and looked into the glass to see how red my eyes were, and
how sorrowful my face. I considered, after some hours were gone,