Ah! said Mr. Barkis, with a nod of his head.
Chrisen name? Or natral name? said Mr. Barkis.
Oh, its not her Christian name. Her Christian name is Clara.
Is it though? said Mr. Barkis.
He seemed to find an immense fund of reflection in this circumstance, and sat pondering and inwardly whistling for some time.
Well! he resumed at length. Says you, Peggotty! Barkis is a-waitin for a answer. Says she, perhaps, Answer to what? Says you, To what I told you. What is that? says she. Barkis is willin, says you.
This extremely artful suggestion Mr. Barkis accompanied with a nudge of his elbow that gave me quite a stitch in my side. After that, he slouched over his horse in his usual manner; and made no other reference to the subject except, half an hour afterwards, taking a piece of chalk from his pocket and writing up, inside the tilt of the cart, Clara Peggottyapparently as a private memorandum.
Ah, what a strange feeling it was to be going home when it was not home, and to find that every object I looked at reminded me of the happy old home, which was like a dream I could never dream again! The days when my mother and I and Peggotty were all in all to one another, and there was no one to come between us, rose up before me so sorrowfully on the road, that I am not sure I was glad to be therenot sure but that I would rather have remained away, and forgotten it in Steerforths company. But there I was; and soon I was at our house, where the bare old elm-trees wrung their many hands in the bleak wintry air, and shreds of the old rooks-nests drifted away upon the wind.
The carrier put my box down at the garden gate, and left me. I walked along the path towards the house, glancing at the windows, and fearing at every step to see Mr. Murdstone or Miss Murdstone lowering out of one of them. No face appeared, however; and being come to the house, and knowing how to open the door, before dark, without knocking, I went in with a quiet, timid step.
God knows how infantine the memory may have been that was awakened within me by the sound of my mothers voice in the old parlour, when I set foot in the hall. She was singing in a low tone. I think I must have lain in her arms, and heard her singing so to me when I was but a baby. The strain was new to me, and yet it was so old that it filled my heart brimful; like a friend come back from a long absence.
I believed, from the solitary and thoughtful way in which my mother murmured her song, that she was alone. And I went softly into the room. She was sitting by the fire, suckling an infant, whose tiny hand she held against her neck. Her eyes were looking down upon its face, and she sat singing to it. I was so far right, that she had no other companion.
I spoke to her, and she started, and cried out. But seeing me, she called me her dear Davy, her own boy! and coming half across the room to meet me, kneeled down upon the ground and kissed me, and laid my head down on her bosom near the little creature that was nestling there, and put its hand up to my lips.
I wish I had died. I wish I had died then, with that feeling in my heart! I should have been more fit for heaven than I ever have been since.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|