′What foolish, impudent creatures!′ cried my mother, laughing and covering her face. ′What ridiculous men! An′t they? Davy dear -′
′Don′t tell Peggotty; she might be angry with them. I am dreadfully angry with them myself; but I would rather Peggotty didn′t know.′
I promised, of course; and we kissed one another over and over again, and I soon fell fast asleep.
It seems to me, at this distance of time, as if it were the next day when Peggotty broached the striking and adventurous proposition I am about to mention; but it was probably about two months afterwards.
We were sitting as before, one evening (when my mother was out as before), in company with the stocking and the yard-measure, and the bit of wax, and the box with St. Paul′s on the lid, and the crocodile book, when Peggotty, after looking at me several times, and opening her mouth as if she were going to speak, without doing it - which I thought was merely gaping, or I should have been rather alarmed - said coaxingly:
′Master Davy, how should you like to go along with me and spend a fortnight at my brother′s at Yarmouth? Wouldn′t that be a treat?′
′Is your brother an agreeable man, Peggotty?′ I inquired, provisionally.
′Oh, what an agreeable man he is!′ cried Peggotty, holding up her hands. ′Then there′s the sea; and the boats and ships; and the fishermen; and the beach; and Am to play with -′
Peggotty meant her nephew Ham, mentioned in my first chapter; but she spoke of him as a morsel of English Grammar.
I was flushed by her summary of delights, and replied that it would indeed be a treat, but what would my mother say?
′Why then I′ll as good as bet a guinea,′ said Peggotty, intent upon my face, ′that she′ll let us go. I′ll ask her, if you like, as soon as ever she comes home. There now!′
′But what′s she to do while we′re away?′ said I, putting my small elbows on the table to argue the point. ′She can′t live by herself.′
If Peggotty were looking for a hole, all of a sudden, in the heel of that stocking, it must have been a very little one indeed, and not worth darning.
′I say! Peggotty! She can′t live by herself, you know.′
′Oh, bless you!′ said Peggotty, looking at me again at last. ′Don′t you know? She′s going to stay for a fortnight with Mrs. Grayper. Mrs. Grayper′s going to have a lot of company.′
Oh! If that was it, I was quite ready to go. I waited, in the utmost impatience, until my mother came home from Mrs. Grayper′s (for it was that identical neighbour), to ascertain if we could get leave to carry out this great idea. Without being nearly so much surprised as I had expected, my mother entered into it readily; and it was all arranged that night, and my board and lodging during the visit were to be paid for.
The day soon came for our going. It was such an early day that it came soon, even to me, who was in a fever of expectation, and half afraid that an earthquake or a fiery mountain, or some other great convulsion of nature, might interpose to stop the expedition. We were to go in a carrier′s cart, which departed in the morning after breakfast. I would have given any money to have been allowed to wrap myself up over-night, and sleep in my hat and boots.
Next page →