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property in money amounted to nearly three thousand pounds. Of
this he bequeathed the interest of one thousand to Mr. Peggotty for
his life; on his decease, the principal to be equally divided
between Peggotty, little Emily, and me, or the survivor or
survivors of us, share and share alike. All the rest he died
possessed of, he bequeathed to Peggotty; whom he left residuary
legatee, and sole executrix of that his last will and testament.
I felt myself quite a proctor when I read this document aloud with
all possible ceremony, and set forth its provisions, any number of
times, to those whom they concerned. I began to think there was
more in the Commons than I had supposed. I examined the will with
the deepest attention, pronounced it perfectly formal in all
respects, made a pencil-mark or so in the margin, and thought it
rather extraordinary that I knew so much.
In this abstruse pursuit; in making an account for Peggotty, of all
the property into which she had come; in arranging all the affairs
in an orderly manner; and in being her referee and adviser on every
point, to our joint delight; I passed the week before the funeral.
I did not see little Emily in that interval, but they told me she
was to be quietly married in a fortnight.
I did not attend the funeral in character, if I may venture to say
so. I mean I was not dressed up in a black coat and a streamer, to
frighten the birds; but I walked over to Blunderstone early in the
morning, and was in the churchyard when it came, attended only by
Peggotty and her brother. The mad gentleman looked on, out of my
little window; Mr. Chillip's baby wagged its heavy head, and rolled
its goggle eyes, at the clergyman, over its nurse's shoulder; Mr.
Omer breathed short in the background; no one else was there; and
it was very quiet. We walked about the churchyard for an hour,
after all was over; and pulled some young leaves from the tree
above my mother's grave.
A dread falls on me here. A cloud is lowering on the distant town,
towards which I retraced my solitary steps. I fear to approach it.
I cannot bear to think of what did come, upon that memorable night;
of what must come again, if I go on.
It is no worse, because I write of it. It would be no better, if
I stopped my most unwilling hand. It is done. Nothing can undo
it; nothing can make it otherwise than as it was.
My old nurse was to go to London with me next day, on the business