A Morning Adventure
Although the morning was raw, and although the fog still seemed heavy I say seemed, for the windows were so encrusted with dirt, that they would have made midsummer sunshine dim I was sufficiently forewarned of the discomfort within doors at that early hour, and sufficiently curious about London, to think it a good idea on the part of Miss Jellyby when she proposed that we should go out for a walk.
Ma wont be down for ever so long, she said, and then its a chance if breakfasts ready for an hour afterwards, they dawdle so. As to Pa, he gets what he can, and goes to the office. He never has what you would call a regular breakfast. Priscilla leaves him out the loaf and some milk, when there is any, overnight. Sometimes there isnt any milk, and sometimes the cat drinks it. But Im afraid you must be tired, Miss Summerson; and perhaps you would rather go to bed.
I am not at all tired, my dear, said I, and would much prefer to go out.
If youre sure you would, returned Miss Jellyby, Ill get my things on.
Ada said she would go too, and was soon astir. I made a proposal to Peepy, in default of being able to do anything better for him, that he should let me wash him, and afterwards lay him down on my bed again. To this he submitted with the best grace possible; staring at me during the whole operation, as if he never had been, and never could again be, so astonished in his life looking very miserable also, certainly, but making no complaint, and going snugly to sleep as soon as it was over. At first I was in two minds about taking such a liberty, but I soon reflected that nobody in the house was likely to notice it.
What with the bustle of dispatching Peepy, and the bustle of getting myself ready, and helping Ada, I was soon quite in a glow. We found Miss Jellyby trying to warm herself at the fire in the writing-room, which Priscilla was then lighting with a smutty parlour candlestick throwing the candle in to make it burn better. Everything was just as we had left it last night, and was evidently intended to remain so. Below stairs the dinner-cloth had not been taken away, but had been left ready for breakfast. Crumbs, dust, and waste paper were all over the house. Some pewter-pots and a milk-can hung on the area railings; the door stood open; and we met the cook round the corner coming out of a public-house, wiping her mouth. She mentioned, as she passed us, that she had been to see what oclock it was.
But before we met the cook, we met Richard, who was dancing up and down Thavies Inn to warm his feet. He was agreeably surprised to see us stirring so soon, and said he would gladly share our walk. So he took care of Ada, and Miss Jellyby and I went first. I may mention that Miss Jellyby had relapsed into her sulky manner, and that I really should not have thought she liked me much, unless she had told me so.
Where would you wish to go? she asked.
Anywhere, my dear, I replied.
Anywheres nowhere, said Miss Jellyby, stopping perversely.
Let us go somewhere at any rate, said I.
She then walked me on very fast.
I dont care! she said. Now, you are my witness, Miss Summerson, I say I dont care but if he was to come to our house, with his great shining lumpy forehead, night after night till he was as old as Methuselah, I wouldnt have anything to say to him. Such ASSES as he and Ma make of themselves!
My dear! I remonstrated, in allusion to the epithet, and the vigorous emphasis Miss Jellyby set upon it. Your duty as a child
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