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and I thought I really had; so I wiped my eyes on
; my sleeve and stopped myself.
For good, too; though, in consequence of my previous emotions, I was still occasionally seized with a stormy sob. After we had jogged on for some little time, I 5 asked the carrier if he was going all the way.
“All the way where?” inquired the carrier.
“Why, that horse," said the carrier, jerking the rein to point him out, “would be deader than pork afore he got over half the ground.”
“Are you only going to Yarmouth, then?” I asked.
“That's about it," said the carrier. “And there 16 I shall take you to the stage-cutch, and the stage-cutch that'll take you to — wherever it is."
As this was a great deal for the carrier (whose name was Mr. Barkis) to say — I offered him a cake as a mark of attention, which he ate at one gulp, exactly 20 like an elephant, and which made no more impression on his big face than it would have done on an elephant's.
“Did she make 'em now?” said Mr. Barkis, always leaning forward, in his slouching way, on the footboard of the cart with an arm on each knee.
“Peggotty, do you mean, Sir?”
“Yes. She makes all our pastry, and does all our cooking.”
“Do she though ?” said Mr. Barkis.
He made up his mouth as if to whistle, but he didn't 5 whistle. He sat looking at the horse's ears, as if he saw something new there; and sat so for a considerable time. By-and-by, he said:
“No sweethearts, I b’lieve?”
“Sweetmeats did you say, Mr. Barkis?” For I 10 thought he wanted something else to eat, and had pointedly alluded to that description of refreshment. “Hearts,” said Mr. Barkis.
“Sweethearts; no person walks with her!”
Again he made up his mouth to whistle, and again he didn't whistle, but sat looking at the horse's ears.
“So she makes,” said Mr. Barkis, after a long interval of reflection, "all the apple parsties, and doos all the cooking, do she?”
I replied that such was the fact.
“Well. I'll tell you what,” said Mr. Barkis. 25 “P’raps you might be writin' to her?”
"I shall certainly write to her,” I rejoined.
“Well ! if you was writin' to her p'raps you'd recollect to say that Barkis was willin'; would you ?”
“That Barkis is willing," I repeated, innocently. “Is that all the message?” “Ye—es," he said, considering. “Yees.
"Ye-es. Barkis 5 is willin'."
“But you will be at Blunderstone again to-morrow, Mr. Barkis,” I said, faltering a little at the idea of my being far away from it then, "and could give your own message so much better."
As he repudiated this suggestion, however, with a jerk of his head, and once more confirmed his previous request by saying, with profound gravity, “Barkis is willin'. That's the message,” I readily undertook its transmission. While I was waiting for the coach 15 in the hotel at Yarmouth that very afternoon, I pro
I cured a sheet of paper and an inkstand, and wrote a note to Peggotty, which ran thus : “My dear Peggotty. I have come here safe. Barkis is willing. My love to mama. Yours affectionately. P.S. He says 20 he particularly wants you to know— Barkis is willing."
When I had taken this commission on myself prospectively, Mr. Barkis relapsed into perfect silence; and I, feeling quite worn out by all that had happened lately, lay down on a sack in the cart and fell asleep. 25 I slept soundly until we got to Yarmouth; which was so entirely new and strange to me in the inn-yard to
which we drove that I at once abandoned a latent hope I had had of meeting with some of Mr. Peggotty's family there, perhaps even with little Emily herself.
The coach was in the yard, shining very much all 5 over, but without any horses to it as yet; and it looked in that state as if nothing was more unlikely than its ever going to London. I was thinking this, and wondering what would ultimately become of my box,
which Mr. Barkis had put down on the yard-pavement 10 by the pole, and also what would ultimately become of
me, when a lady looked out of a bow-window where some fowls and joints of meat were hanging up, and said :
“Is that the little gentleman from Blunderstone?”
“That won't do," returned the lady. “Nobody's dinner is paid for here, in that name.”
“Is it Murdstone, ma’am?” I said.
“If you're Master Murdstone,” said the lady, “why do you go and give another name, first ?”
I explained to the lady how it was, who then rang a bell, and called out, “William ! show the coffee-room !”
upon which a waiter came running out of a kitchen 25 on the opposite side of the yard to show it, and seemed
a good deal surprised when he found he was only to show it to me.
It was a large long room with some large maps in it. I doubt if I could have felt much stranger if the maps had been real foreign countries, and I cast away in the middle of them. I felt it was taking a liberty to sit down, with my cap in my hand, on the corner of 5 the chair nearest the door; and when the waiter laid a cloth on purpose for me, and put a set of castors on it, I think I must have turned red all over with modesty.
He brought me some chops and vegetables, and took the covers off in such a bouncing manner that 10 I was afraid I must have given him some offense. . But he greatly relieved my mind by putting a chair for me at the table, and saying, very affably, "Now, six-foot! come on!”
I thanked him, and took my seat at the board; but 15 found it extremely difficult to handle my knife and fork with anything like dexterity, or to avoid splashing myself with the gravy, while he was standing opposite, staring so hard, and making me blush in the most dreadful manner every time I caught his eye. 20 After watching me into the second chop, he said :
“There's half a pint of ale for you. Will you have it now?"
I thanked him and said “Yes." Upon which he poured it out of a jug into a large tumbler, and held 25 it up against the light, and made it look beautiful.
“My eye!” he said. “It seems a good deal, don't it?"