However, we returned to those monsters, with fresh wakefulness on my part, and we left their eggs in the sand for the sun to hatch; and we ran away from them, and baffled them by constantly turning, which they were unable to do quickly, on account of their unwieldy make; and we went into the water after them, as natives, and put sharp pieces of timber down their throats; and in short we ran the whole crocodile gauntlet. I did, at least; but I had my doubts of Peggotty, who was thoughtfully sticking her needle into various parts of her face and arms, all the time.
We had exhausted the crocodiles, and begun with the alligators, when the garden-bell rang. We went out to the door; and there was my mother, looking unusually pretty, I thought, and with her a gentleman with beautiful black hair and whiskers, who had walked home with us from church last Sunday.
As my mother stooped down on the threshold to take me in her arms and kiss me, the gentleman said I was a more highly privileged little fellow than a monarch - or something like that; for my later understanding comes, I am sensible, to my aid here.
′What does that mean?′ I asked him, over her shoulder.
He patted me on the head; but somehow, I didn′t like him or his deep voice, and I was jealous that his hand should touch my mother′s in touching me - which it did. I put it away, as well as I could.
′Oh, Davy!′ remonstrated my mother.
′Dear boy!′ said the gentleman. ′I cannot wonder at his devotion!′
I never saw such a beautiful colour on my mother′s face before. She gently chid me for being rude; and, keeping me close to her shawl, turned to thank the gentleman for taking so much trouble as to bring her home. She put out her hand to him as she spoke, and, as he met it with his own, she glanced, I thought, at me.
′Let us say "good night", my fine boy,′ said the gentleman, when he had bent his head - I saw him! - over my mother′s little glove.
′Good night!′ said I.
′Come! Let us be the best friends in the world!′ said the gentleman, laughing. ′Shake hands!′
My right hand was in my mother′s left, so I gave him the other.
′Why, that′s the Wrong hand, Davy!′ laughed the gentleman.
MY mother drew my right hand forward, but I was resolved, for my former reason, not to give it him, and I did not. I gave him the other, and he shook it heartily, and said I was a brave fellow, and went away.
At this minute I see him turn round in the garden, and give us a last look with his ill-omened black eyes, before the door was shut.
Peggotty, who had not said a word or moved a finger, secured the fastenings instantly, and we all went into the parlour. My mother, contrary to her usual habit, instead of coming to the elbow-chair by the fire, remained at the other end of the room, and sat singing to herself.
- ′Hope you have had a pleasant evening, ma′am,′ said Peggotty, standing as stiff as a barrel in the centre of the room, with a candlestick in her hand.
′Much obliged to you, Peggotty,′ returned my mother, in a cheerful voice, ′I have had a VERY pleasant evening.′
′A stranger or so makes an agreeable change,′ suggested Peggotty.
′A very agreeable change, indeed,′ returned my mother.
Peggotty continuing to stand motionless in the middle of the room, and my mother resuming her singing, I fell asleep, though I was not so sound asleep but that I could hear voices, without hearing what they said.
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