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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


was a sorrowful farewell. They were all crying; the children hung
about Agnes to the last; and we left poor Mrs. Micawber in a very
distressed condition, sobbing and weeping by a dim candle, that
must have made the room look, from the river, like a miserable
light-house.

I went down again next morning to see that they were away. They
had departed, in a boat, as early as five o'clock. It was a
wonderful instance to me of the gap such partings make, that
although my association of them with the tumble-down public-house
and the wooden stairs dated only from last night, both seemed
dreary and deserted, now that they were gone.

In the afternoon of the next day, my old nurse and I went down to
Gravesend. We found the ship in the river, surrounded by a crowd
of boats; a favourable wind blowing; the signal for sailing at her
mast-head. I hired a boat directly, and we put off to her; and
getting through the little vortex of confusion of which she was the
centre, went on board.

Mr. Peggotty was waiting for us on deck. He told me that Mr.
Micawber had just now been arrested again (and for the last time)
at the suit of Heep, and that, in compliance with a request I had
made to him, he had paid the money, which I repaid him. He then
took us down between decks; and there, any lingering fears I had of
his having heard any rumours of what had happened, were dispelled
by Mr. Micawber's coming out of the gloom, taking his arm with an
air of friendship and protection, and telling me that they had
scarcely been asunder for a moment, since the night before last.

It was such a strange scene to me, and so confined and dark, that,
at first, I could make out hardly anything; but, by degrees, it
cleared, as my eyes became more accustomed to the gloom, and I
seemed to stand in a picture by OSTADE. Among the great beams,
bulks, and ringbolts of the ship, and the emigrant-berths, and
chests, and bundles, and barrels, and heaps of miscellaneous
baggage -'lighted up, here and there, by dangling lanterns; and
elsewhere by the yellow daylight straying down a windsail or a
hatchway - were crowded groups of people, making new friendships,
taking leave of one another, talking, laughing, crying, eating and
drinking; some, already settled down into the possession of their
few feet of space, with their little households arranged, and tiny
children established on stools, or in dwarf elbow-chairs; others,
despairing of a resting-place, and wandering disconsolately. From
babies who had but a week or two of life behind them, to crooked
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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