Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Mrs. Gummidge retired with these words, and betook herself to bed.
When she was gone, Mr. Peggotty, who had not exhibited a trace of
any feeling but the profoundest sympathy, looked round upon us, and
nodding his head with a lively expression of that sentiment still
animating his face, said in a whisper:
'She's been thinking of the old 'un!'
I did not quite understand what old one Mrs. Gummidge was supposed
to have fixed her mind upon, until Peggotty, on seeing me to bed,
explained that it was the late Mr. Gummidge; and that her brother
always took that for a received truth on such occasions, and that
it always had a moving effect upon him. Some time after he was in
his hammock that night, I heard him myself repeat to Ham, 'Poor
thing! She's been thinking of the old 'un!' And whenever Mrs.
Gummidge was overcome in a similar manner during the remainder of
our stay (which happened some few times), he always said the same
thing in extenuation of the circumstance, and always with the
So the fortnight slipped away, varied by nothing but the variation
of the tide, which altered Mr. Peggotty's times of going out and
coming in, and altered Ham's engagements also. When the latter was
unemployed, he sometimes walked with us to show us the boats and
ships, and once or twice he took us for a row. I don't know why
one slight set of impressions should be more particularly
associated with a place than another, though I believe this obtains
with most people, in reference especially to the associations of
their childhood. I never hear the name, or read the name, of
Yarmouth, but I am reminded of a certain Sunday morning on the
beach, the bells ringing for church, little Em'ly leaning on my
shoulder, Ham lazily dropping stones into the water, and the sun,
away at sea, just breaking through the heavy mist, and showing us
the ships, like their own shadows.
At last the day came for going home. I bore up against the
separation from Mr. Peggotty and Mrs. Gummidge, but my agony of
mind at leaving little Em'ly was piercing. We went arm-in-arm to
the public-house where the carrier put up, and I promised, on the
road, to write to her. (I redeemed that promise afterwards, in
characters larger than those in which apartments are usually
announced in manuscript, as being to let.) We were greatly overcome
at parting; and if ever, in my life, I have had a void made in my
heart, I had one made that day.