I don′t know why one slight set of impressions should be more particularly associated with a place than another, though I believe this obtains with most people, in reference especially to the associations of their childhood. I never hear the name, or read the name, of Yarmouth, but I am reminded of a certain Sunday morning on the beach, the bells ringing for church, little Em′ly leaning on my shoulder, Ham lazily dropping stones into the water, and the sun, away at sea, just breaking through the heavy mist, and showing us the ships, like their own shadows.
At last the day came for going home. I bore up against the separation from Mr. Peggotty and Mrs. Gummidge, but my agony of mind at leaving little Em′ly was piercing. We went arm-in-arm to the public-house where the carrier put up, and I promised, on the road, to write to her. (I redeemed that promise afterwards, in characters larger than those in which apartments are usually announced in manuscript, as being to let.) We were greatly overcome at parting; and if ever, in my life, I have had a void made in my heart, I had one made that day.
Now, all the time I had been on my visit, I had been ungrateful to my home again, and had thought little or nothing about it. But I was no sooner turned towards it, than my reproachful young conscience seemed to point that way with a ready finger; and I felt, all the more for the sinking of my spirits, that it was my nest, and that my mother was my comforter and friend.
This gained upon me as we went along; so that the nearer we drew, the more familiar the objects became that we passed, the more excited I was to get there, and to run into her arms. But Peggotty, instead of sharing in those transports, tried to check them (though very kindly), and looked confused and out of sorts.
Blunderstone Rookery would come, however, in spite of her, when the carrier′s horse pleased - and did. How well I recollect it, on a cold grey afternoon, with a dull sky, threatening rain!
The door opened, and I looked, half laughing and half crying in my pleasant agitation, for my mother. It was not she, but a strange servant.
′Why, Peggotty!′ I said, ruefully, ′isn′t she come home?′
′Yes, yes, Master Davy,′ said Peggotty. ′She′s come home. Wait a bit, Master Davy, and I′ll - I′ll tell you something.′
Between her agitation, and her natural awkwardness in getting out of the cart, Peggotty was making a most extraordinary festoon of herself, but I felt too blank and strange to tell her so. When she had got down, she took me by the hand; led me, wondering, into the kitchen; and shut the door.
′Peggotty!′ said I, quite frightened. ′What′s the matter?′
′Nothing′s the matter, bless you, Master Davy dear!′ she answered, assuming an air of sprightliness.
′Something′s the matter, I′m sure. Where′s mama?′
′Where′s mama, Master Davy?′ repeated Peggotty.
′Yes. Why hasn′t she come out to the gate, and what have we come in here for? Oh, Peggotty!′ My eyes were full, and I felt as if I were going to tumble down.
′Bless the precious boy!′ cried Peggotty, taking hold of me. ′What is it? Speak, my pet!′
′Not dead, too! Oh, she′s not dead, Peggotty?′
Peggotty cried out No! with an astonishing volume of voice; and then sat down, and began to pant, and said I had given her a turn.
I gave her a hug to take away the turn, or to give her another turn in the right direction, and then stood before her, looking at her in anxious inquiry.
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