I become neglected, and am provided for
The first act of business Miss Murdstone performed when the day of the solemnity was over, and light was freely admitted into the house, was to give Peggotty a months warning. Much as Peggotty would have disliked such a service, I believe she would have retained it, for my sake, in preference to the best upon earth. She told me we must part, and told me why; and we condoled with one another, in all sincerity.
As to me or my future, not a word was said, or a step taken. Happy they would have been, I dare say, if they could have dismissed me at a months warning too. I mustered courage once to ask Miss Murdstone when I was going back to school; and she answered drily, she believed I was not going back at all. I was told nothing more. I was very anxious to know what was going to be done with me, and so was Peggotty; but neither she nor I could pick up any information on the subject.
There was one change in my condition, which, while it relieved me of a great deal of present uneasiness, might have made me, if I had been capable of considering it closely, yet more uncomfortable about the future. It was this. The constraint that had been put upon me was quite abandoned. I was so far from being required to keep my dull post in the parlour, that on several occasions, when I took my seat there, Miss Murdstone frowned to me to go away. I was so far from being warned off from Peggottys society, that, provided I was not in Mr. Murdstones, I was never sought out or inquired for. At first I was in daily dread of his taking my education in hand again, or of Miss Murdstones devoting herself to it; but I soon began to think that such fears were groundless, and that all I had to anticipate was neglect.
I do not conceive that this discovery gave me much pain then. I was still giddy with the shock of my mothers death, and in a kind of stunned state as to all tributary things. I can recollect, indeed, to have speculated, at odd times, on the possibility of my not being taught any more, or cared for any more, and growing up to be a shabby, moody man, lounging an idle life away about the village; as well as on the feasibility of my getting rid of this picture by going away somewhere, like the hero in a story, to seek my fortune; but these were transient visionsday-dreams I sat looking at sometimes, as if they were faintly painted or written on the wall of my room, and which, as they melted away, left the wall blank again.
Peggotty, I said, in a thoughtful whisper, one evening when I was warming my hands at the kitchen fire, Mr. Murdstone likes me less than he used to. He never liked me much, Peggotty; but he would rather not even see me now, if he can help it.
Perhaps its his sorrow, said Peggotty, stroking my hair.
I am sure, Peggotty, I am sorry too. If I believed it was his sorrow, I should not think of it at all. But its not that; oh no, its not that.
How do you know its not that? said Peggotty, after a silence.
Oh, his sorrow is another and quite a different thing. He is sorry at this moment, sitting by the fireside with Miss Murdstone; but if I was to go in, Peggotty, he would be something besides.
What would he be? said Peggotty.
Angry, I answered, with an involuntary imitation of his dark frown. If he was only sorry, he wouldnt look at me as he does. I am only sorry, and it makes me feel kinder.
Peggotty said nothing for a little while, and I warmed my hands, as silent as she.
Davy, she said at length.
I have tried, my dear, all ways I could think ofall the ways there are, and all the ways there aint, in shortto get a suitable service here in Blunderstone, but theres no such a thing, my love.
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