Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
could not hope to advise him. Before I had well concluded, he
began to laugh - fretfully at first, but soon with returning
'Tut, it's nothing, Daisy! nothing!' he replied. 'I told you at
the inn in London, I am heavy company for myself, sometimes. I
have been a nightmare to myself, just now - must have had one, I
think. At odd dull times, nursery tales come up into the memory,
unrecognized for what they are. I believe I have been confounding
myself with the bad boy who "didn't care", and became food for
lions - a grander kind of going to the dogs, I suppose. What old
women call the horrors, have been creeping over me from head to
foot. I have been afraid of myself.'
'You are afraid of nothing else, I think,' said I.
'Perhaps not, and yet may have enough to be afraid of too,' he
answered. 'Well! So it goes by! I am not about to be hipped
again, David; but I tell you, my good fellow, once more, that it
would have been well for me (and for more than me) if I had had a
steadfast and judicious father!'
His face was always full of expression, but I never saw it express
such a dark kind of earnestness as when he said these words, with
his glance bent on the fire.
'So much for that!' he said, making as if he tossed something light
into the air, with his hand. "'Why, being gone, I am a man again,"
like Macbeth. And now for dinner! If I have not (Macbeth-like)
broken up the feast with most admired disorder, Daisy.'
'But where are they all, I wonder!' said I.
'God knows,' said Steerforth. 'After strolling to the ferry
looking for you, I strolled in here and found the place deserted.
That set me thinking, and you found me thinking.'
The advent of Mrs. Gummidge with a basket, explained how the house
had happened to be empty. She had hurried out to buy something
that was needed, against Mr. Peggotty's return with the tide; and
had left the door open in the meanwhile, lest Ham and little Em'ly,
with whom it was an early night, should come home while she was
gone. Steerforth, after very much improving Mrs. Gummidge's
spirits by a cheerful salutation and a jocose embrace, took my arm,
and hurried me away.