It is no worse, because I write of it. It would be no better, if I stopped my most unwilling hand. It is done. Nothing can undo it; nothing can make it otherwise than as it was.

My old nurse was to go to London with me next day, on the business of the will. Little Emily was passing that day at Mr. Omer’s. We were all to meet in the old boathouse that night. Ham would bring Emily at the usual hour. I would walk back at my leisure. The brother and sister would return as they had come, and be expecting us, when the day closed in, at the fireside.

I parted from them at the wicket-gate, where visionary Straps had rested with Roderick Random’s knapsack in the days of yore; and, instead of going straight back, walked a little distance on the road to Lowestoft. Then I turned, and walked back towards Yarmouth. I stayed to dine at a decent alehouse, some mile or two from the Ferry I have mentioned before; and thus the day wore away, and it was evening when I reached it. Rain was falling heavily by that time, and it was a wild night; but there was a moon behind the clouds, and it was not dark.

I was soon within sight of Mr. Peggotty’s house, and of the light within it shining through the window. A little floundering across the sand, which was heavy, brought me to the door, and I went in.

It looked very comfortable indeed. Mr. Peggotty had smoked his evening pipe, and there were preparations for some supper by and by. The fire was bright, the ashes were thrown up, the locker was ready for little Emily in her old place. In her own old place sat Peggotty, once more, looking (but for her dress) as if she had never left it. She had fallen back, already, on the society of the work-box with Saint Paul’s upon the lid, the yard-measure in the cottage, and the bit of wax-candle: and there they all were, just as if they had never been disturbed. Mrs. Gummidge appeared to be fretting a little, in her old corner; and consequently looked quite natural, too.

“You’re first of the lot, Mas’r Davy!” said Mr. Peggotty, with a happy face. “Doen’t keep in that coat, Sir, if it’s wet.”

“Thank you, Mr. Peggotty,” said I, giving him my outer coat to hang up. “It’s quite dry.”

“So ’tis!” said Mr. Peggotty, feeling my shoulders. “As a chip! Sit ye down, Sir. It ain’t o’ no use saying welcome to you, but you’re welcome, kind and hearty.”

“Thank you, Mr. Peggotty, I am sure of that. Well, Peggotty!” said I, giving her a kiss. “And how are you, old woman?”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Mr. Peggotty, sitting down beside us, and rubbing his hands in his sense of relief from recent trouble, and in the genuine heartiness of his nature; “there’s not a woman in the wureld, Sir—as I tell her—that need to feel more easy in her mind than her! She done her dooty by the departed, and the departed know’d it; and the departed done what was right by her, as she done what was right by the departed; and—and—and it’s all right!”

Mrs. Gummidge groaned.

“Cheer up, my pretty mawther!” said Mr. Peggotty. (But he shook his head aside at us, evidently sensible of the tendency of the late occurrences to recall the memory of the old one.) “Doen’t be down! Cheer up, for your own self, on’y a little bit, and see if a good deal more doen’t come nat’ral!”

“Not to me, Dan’l,” returned Mrs. Gummidge. “Nothink’s nat’ral to me but to be lone and lorn.”

“No, no,” said Mr. Peggotty, soothing her sorrows.

“Yes, yes, Dan’l!” said Mrs. Gummidge. “I ain’t a person to live with them as has had money left. Thinks go too contrairy with me. I had better be a riddance.”

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