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secret, and he had come to help me in this last service. It was
here that I took Mr. Micawber aside, and received his promise.

The Micawber family were lodged in a little, dirty, tumble-down
public-house, which in those days was close to the stairs, and
whose protruding wooden rooms overhung the river. The family, as
emigrants, being objects of some interest in and about Hungerford,
attracted so many beholders, that we were glad to take refuge in
their room. It was one of the wooden chambers upstairs, with the
tide flowing underneath. My aunt and Agnes were there, busily
making some little extra comforts, in the way of dress, for the
children. Peggotty was quietly assisting, with the old insensible
work-box, yard-measure, and bit of wax-candle before her, that had
now outlived so much.

It was not easy to answer her inquiries; still less to whisper Mr.
Peggotty, when Mr. Micawber brought him in, that I had given the
letter, and all was well. But I did both, and made them happy. If
I showed any trace of what I felt, my own sorrows were sufficient
to account for it.

'And when does the ship sail, Mr. Micawber?' asked my aunt.

Mr. Micawber considered it necessary to prepare either my aunt or
his wife, by degrees, and said, sooner than he had expected

'The boat brought you word, I suppose?' said my aunt.

'It did, ma'am,' he returned.

'Well?' said my aunt. 'And she sails -'

'Madam,' he replied, 'I am informed that we must positively be on
board before seven tomorrow morning.'

'Heyday!' said my aunt, 'that's soon. Is it a sea-going fact, Mr.

''Tis so, ma'am. She'll drop down the river with that theer tide.
If Mas'r Davy and my sister comes aboard at Gravesen', arternoon o'
next day, they'll see the last on us.'

'And that we shall do,' said I, 'be sure!'

'Until then, and until we are at sea,' observed Mr. Micawber, with
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