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them in an old oilskin bag, such as sailors carry. Meanwhile, she
continued talking, in the same quiet manner:

'All times and seasons, you know, Dan'l,' said Mrs. Gummidge, 'I
shall be allus here, and everythink will look accordin' to your
wishes. I'm a poor scholar, but I shall write to you, odd times,
when you're away, and send my letters to Mas'r Davy. Maybe you'll
write to me too, Dan'l, odd times, and tell me how you fare to feel
upon your lone lorn journies.'

'You'll be a solitary woman heer, I'm afeerd!' said Mr. Peggotty.

'No, no, Dan'l,' she returned, 'I shan't be that. Doen't you mind
me. I shall have enough to do to keep a Beein for you' (Mrs.
Gummidge meant a home), 'again you come back - to keep a Beein here
for any that may hap to come back, Dan'l. In the fine time, I
shall set outside the door as I used to do. If any should come
nigh, they shall see the old widder woman true to 'em, a long way

What a change in Mrs. Gummidge in a little time! She was another
woman. She was so devoted, she had such a quick perception of what
it would be well to say, and what it would be well to leave unsaid;
she was so forgetful of herself, and so regardful of the sorrow
about her, that I held her in a sort of veneration. The work she
did that day! There were many things to be brought up from the
beach and stored in the outhouse - as oars, nets, sails, cordage,
spars, lobster-pots, bags of ballast, and the like; and though
there was abundance of assistance rendered, there being not a pair
of working hands on all that shore but would have laboured hard for
Mr. Peggotty, and been well paid in being asked to do it, yet she
persisted, all day long, in toiling under weights that she was
quite unequal to, and fagging to and fro on all sorts of
unnecessary errands. As to deploring her misfortunes, she appeared
to have entirely lost the recollection of ever having had any. She
preserved an equable cheerfulness in the midst of her sympathy,
which was not the least astonishing part of the change that had
come over her. Querulousness was out of the question. I did not
even observe her voice to falter, or a tear to escape from her
eyes, the whole day through, until twilight; when she and I and Mr.
Peggotty being alone together, and he having fallen asleep in
perfect exhaustion, she broke into a half-suppressed fit of sobbing
and crying, and taking me to the door, said, 'Ever bless you, Mas'r
Davy, be a friend to him, poor dear!' Then, she immediately ran out
of the house to wash her face, in order that she might sit quietly
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