That, from time to time, Miss Tucker suffered from depression and moods of sadness, there can be no question. She never allowed such moods to interfere with her work; but she was not always in a state of high spirits and rejoicing. If nothing else showed this, it would be plain from certain brief passages in her journal, occurring at intervals,鈥攕ometimes at long intervals. Such passages as these speak plainly:鈥擖br>
鈥楾here is no use in my not wanting possessions,鈥攖hey will come! I have even a large coffin, which is not the slightest use to me! I did not buy that from Francis!...鈥橖br> What a change in Mrs. Gummidge in a little time! She was another woman. She was so devoted, she had such a quick perception of what it would be well to say, and what it would be well to leave unsaid; she was so forgetful of herself, and so regardful of the sorrow about her, that I held her in a sort of veneration. The work she did that day! There were many things to be brought up from the beach and stored in the outhouse - as oars, nets, sails, cordage, spars, lobster-pots, bags of ballast, and the like; and though there was abundance of assistance rendered, there being not a pair of working hands on all that shore but would have laboured hard for Mr. Peggotty, and been well paid in being asked to do it, yet she persisted, all day long, in toiling under weights that she was quite unequal to, and fagging to and fro on all sorts of unnecessary errands. As to deploring her misfortunes, she appeared to have entirely lost the recollection of ever having had any. She preserved an equable cheerfulness in the midst of her sympathy, which was not the least astonishing part of the change that had come over her. Querulousness was out of the question. I did not even observe her voice to falter, or a tear to escape from her eyes, the whole day through, until twilight; when she and I and Mr. Peggotty being alone together, and he having fallen asleep in perfect exhaustion, she broke into a half-suppressed fit of sobbing and crying, and taking me to the door, said, 'Ever bless you, Mas'r Davy, be a friend to him, poor dear!' Then, she immediately ran out of the house to wash her face, in order that she might sit quietly beside him, and be found at work there, when he should awake. In short I left her, when I went away at night, the prop and staff of Mr. Peggotty's affliction; and I could not meditate enough upon the lesson that I read in Mrs. Gummidge, and the new experience she unfolded to me.
The nature of Commander Bond's duties with the Ministry, which were, incidentally, recognized by the appointment of CMG in 1954, must remain confidential, nay secret, but his colleagues at the Ministry will allow that he performed them with outstanding bravery and distinction, although occasionally, through an impetuous strain in his nature, with a streak of the foolhardy that brought him in conflict with higher authority. But he possessed what almost amounted to 'The Nelson Touch' in moments of the highest emergency, and he somehow contrived to escape more or less unscathed from the many adventurous paths down which his duties led him. The inevitable publicity, particularly in the foreign Press, accorded some of these adventures, made him, much against his will, something of a public figure, with the inevitable result that a series of popular books came to be written around him by a personal friend and former colleague of James Bond. If the quality of these books, or their degree of veracity, had been any higher, the author would certainly have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. It is a measure of the disdain in which these fictions are held at the Ministry, that action has not yet-I emphasize the qualification-been taken against the author and publisher of these high-flown and romanticized caricatures of episodes in the career of an outstanding public servant.
“Why, really, ma’am—I—don’t know that it is quite fair to talk of young men’s love concerns. However, my amiable cousins, I believe, know all about it; whether they have thought fit to inform you, ma’am, or not. Indeed, you saw something of it yourself. It was a foolish affair from the first: I never thought it would answer.”
“Tall or short I am Mr. Lauson,” said Lauson very sulkily, for the Messrs Morven had laughed out, and the Misses Morven were tittering evidently at his expense.
'It is certainly very cold,' said Peggotty. 'Everybody must feel it so.'
I murmured an assent, which was full of feeling, considering that I knew nothing at all about him; and I inquired what Mr. Traddles was by profession.