“My station, Mas’r Davy,” he returned, “ain’t there no longer; and if ever a boat foundered, since there was darkness on the face of the deep, that one’s gone down. But no, Sir, no; I doen’t mean as it should be deserted. Fur from that.”

We walked again for a while, as before, until he explained—

“My wishes is, Sir, as it shall look, day and night, winter and summer, as it has always looked, since she first know’d it. If ever she should come a-wandering back, I wouldn’t have the old place seem to cast her off, you understand, but seem to tempt her to draw nigher to’t, and to peep in, maybe, like a ghost, out of the wind and rain, through the old winder, at the old seat by the fire. Then, maybe, Mas’r Davy, seein’ none but Missis Gummidge there, she might take heart to creep in, trembling; and might come to be laid down in her old bed, and rest her weary head where it was once so gay.”

I could not speak to him in reply, though I tried.

“Every night,” said Mr. Peggotty, “as reg’lar as the night comes, the candle must be stood in its old pane of glass, that if ever she should see it, it may seem to say, ‘Come back, my child, come back!’ If ever there’s a knock, Ham (partic’ler a soft knock), arter dark, at your aunt’s door, doen’t you go nigh it. Let it be her—not you—that sees my fallen child!”

He walked a little in front of us, and kept before us for some minutes. During this interval, I glanced at Ham again, and observing the same expression on his face, and his eyes still directed to the distant light, I touched his arm.

Twice I called him by his name, in the tone in which I might have tried to rouse a sleeper, before he heeded me. When I at last inquired on what his thoughts were so bent, he replied—

“On what’s afore me, Mas’r Davy; and over yon.”

“On the life before you, do you mean?” He had pointed confusedly out to sea.

“Aye, Mas’r Davy. I doen’t rightly know how ’tis, but from over yon there seems to me to come—the end of it like”; looking at me as if he were waking, but with the same determined face.

“What end?” I asked, possessed by my former fear.

“I doen’t know,” he said thoughtfully; “I was calling to mind that the beginning of it all did take place here—and then the end come. But it’s gone! Mas’r Davy,” he added, answering, as I think, my look, “you han’t no call to be afeerd of me: but I’m kiender muddled; I don’t fare to feel no matters,”—which was as much as to say that he was not himself, and quite confounded.

Mr. Peggotty stopping for us to join him, we did so, and said no more. The remembrance of this, in connection with my former thought, however, haunted me at intervals, even until the inexorable end came at its appointed time.

We insensibly approached the old boat, and entered. Mrs. Gummidge, no longer moping in her especial corner, was busy preparing breakfast. She took Mr. Peggotty’s hat, and placed his seat for him, and spoke so comfortably and softly, that I hardly knew her.

“Dan’l, my good man,” said she, “you must eat and drink, and keep up your strength, for without it you’ll do nowt. Try, that’s a dear soul! And if I disturb you with my clicketten,” she meant her chattering, “tell me so, Dan’l, and I won’t.”

When she had served us all, she withdrew to the window, where she sedulously employed herself in repairing some shirts and other clothes belonging to Mr. Peggotty, and neatly folding and packing them

  By PanEris using Melati.

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