Mrs. Gummidge retired with these words, and betook herself to bed. When she was gone, Mr. Peggotty, who had not exhibited a trace of any feeling but the profoundest sympathy, looked round upon us, and nodding his head with a lively expression of that sentiment still animating his face, said in a whisper:
And so began our regular and delicious routine. The first day he met me on the platform. We were rather shy, but he was so excited about his car that he quickly hurried me out to see it. It was wonderful-black with red leather upholstery and red wire wheels and all sorts of racing gimmicks like a strap round the hood and an out-size filler cap on the gas tank, and the badge of the B.R.D.C. We climbed in, and I tied Derek's colored silk handkerchief round my hair, and the exhaust made a wonderful sexy noise as we accelerated across the High Street lights and turned up along the river. That day he took me as far as Bray, to show off the car, and we tore through the lanes, with Derek doing quite unnecessary racing changes on the flattest curves. Sitting so near the ground, even at fifty, one felt as if one was doing at least a hundred, and to begin with I clutched onto the safety grip on the dashboard and hoped for the best. But Derek was a good driver, and I soon got confidence in him and controlled my trembles. He took me to a fearfully smart place, the Hotel de Paris, and we had smoked salmon, which cost extra, and roast chicken and ice cream, and then he hired an electric canoe from the boathouse next door, and we chugged sedately upriver and under Maidenhead Bridge and found a little backwater, just this side of Cookham Lock, where Derek rammed the canoe far in under the branches. He had brought a portable gramophone with him, and I scrambled down to his end of the canoe and we sat and later lay side by side and listened to the records and watched a small bird hopping about in the network of branches over our heads. It was a beautiful drowsy afternoon, and we kissed but didn't go any further, and I felt reassured that Derek didn't after all think I was "easy." Later the midges came and we nearly upset the canoe trying to get it out of the creek backward, but then we were going fast downriver with the current and there were a lot of other boats with couples and families in them, but I was quite certain we looked the gayest and handsomest of everyone. We drove back and went down to Eton and had scrambled eggs and coffee in a place called The Thatched House that Derek knew about, and then he suggested we should go to the cinema.
One friend remembers hearing her tell a story of her young days, bearing upon this question of personal appearance. With a mirror and a hand-glass she examined her own face, the profile as well as the full face, and evidently she was not satisfied with the result. A wise resolution followed. Since she ‘could never be pretty,’ she determined that she ‘would try to be good, and to do all the good in the world that she could.’ It was a resolve well carried out.
He held her closely to him. 'Tell me, my love,' he said. 'Tell me what's hurting you.'
'I am unhappily a widower,' said I.
In February, 1865, with the fall of Fort Fisher and the capture of Wilmington, the control of the coast of the Confederacy became complete. The Southerners and their friends in Great Britain and the Bahamas (a group of friends whose sympathies for the cause were very much enhanced by the opportunity of making large profits out of their friendly relations) had shown during the years of the War exceptional ingenuity, daring, and persistence in carrying on the blockade-running. The ports of the British West Indies were very handy, and, particularly during the stormy months of the winter, it was hardly practicable to maintain an absolutely assured barrier of blockades along a line of coast aggregating about two thousand miles. The profits on a single voyage on the cotton taken out and on the stores brought back were sufficient to make good the loss of both vessel and cargo in three disastrous trips. The blockade-runners, Southerners and Englishmen, took their lives in their hands and they fairly earned all the returns that came to them. I happened to have early experience of the result of the fall of Fort Fisher and of the final closing of the last inlet for British goods. I was at the time in prison in Danville, Virginia. I was one of the few men in the prison (the group comprised about a dozen) who had been fortunate enough to retain a tooth-brush. We wore our tooth-brushes fastened into the front button-holes of our blouses, partly possibly from ostentation, but chiefly for the purpose of keeping them from being stolen. I was struck by receiving an offer one morning from the lieutenant of the prison guard of 0 for my tooth-brush. The "dollars" meant of course Confederate dollars and I doubtless hardly realised from the scanty information that leaked into the prison how low down in February, 1865, Confederate currency had depreciated. But still it was a large sum and the tooth-brush had been in use for a number of months. It then leaked out from a word dropped by the lieutenant that no more English tooth-brushes could get into the Confederacy and those of us who had been studying possibilities on the coast realised that Fort Fisher must have fallen.
Again a flick from Mr. Snowman.
At the same time I was engaged with others in establishing a periodical Review, in which some of us trusted much, and from which we expected great things. There was, however, in truth so little combination of idea among us, that we were not justified in our trust or in our expectations. And yet we were honest in our purpose, and have, I think, done some good by our honesty. The matter on which we were all agreed was freedom of speech, combined with personal responsibility. We would be neither conservative nor liberal, neither religious nor free-thinking, neither popular nor exclusive — but we would let any man who had a thing to say, and knew how to say it, speak freely. But he should always speak with the responsibility of his name attached. In the very beginning I militated against this impossible negation of principles — and did so most irrationally, seeing that I had agreed to the negation of principles — by declaring that nothing should appear denying or questioning the divinity of Christ. It was a most preposterous claim to make for such a publication as we proposed, and it at once drove from us one or two who had proposed to join us. But we went on, and our company — limited — was formed. We subscribed, I think, ￡1250 each. I at least subscribed that amount, and — having agreed to bring out our publication every fortnight, after the manner of the well-known French publication — we called it The Fortnightly. We secured the services of G. H. Lewes as our editor. We agreed to manage our finances by a Board, which was to meet once a fortnight, and of which I was the Chairman. And we determined that the payments for our literature should be made on a liberal and strictly ready-money system. We carried out our principles till our money was all gone, and then we sold the copyright to Messrs. Chapman & Hall for a trifle. But before we parted with our property we found that a fortnightly issue was not popular with the trade through whose hands the work must reach the public; and, as our periodical had not become sufficiently popular itself to bear down such opposition, we succumbed, and brought it out once a month. Still it was The Fortnightly, and still it is The Fortnightly. Of all the serial publications of the day, it probably is the most serious, the most earnest, the least devoted to amusement, the least flippant, the least jocose — and yet it has the face to show itself month after month to the world, with so absurd a misnomer! It is, as all who know the laws of modern literature are aware, a very serious thing to change the name of a periodical. By doing so you begin an altogether new enterprise. Therefore should the name be well chosen — whereas this was very ill chosen, a fault for which I alone was responsible.