'It has occurred to me,' pursued my aunt, 'that a little change, and a glimpse of life out of doors, may be useful in helping you to know your own mind, and form a cooler judgement. Suppose you were to go down into the old part of the country again, for instance, and see that — that out-of-the-way woman with the savagest of names,' said my aunt, rubbing her nose, for she could never thoroughly forgive Peggotty for being so called.
'Of all things in the world, aunt, I should like it best!'
'Well,' said my aunt, 'that's lucky, for I should like it too. But it's natural and rational that you should like it. And I am very well persuaded that whatever you do, Trot, will always be natural and rational.'
'I hope so, aunt.'
'Your sister, Betsey Trotwood,' said my aunt, 'would have been as natural and rational a girl as ever breathed. You'll be worthy of her, won't you?'
'I hope I shall be worthy of YOU, aunt. That will be enough for me.'
'It's a mercy that poor dear baby of a mother of yours didn't live,' said my aunt, looking at me approvingly, 'or she'd have been so vain of her boy by this time, that her soft little head would have been completely turned, if there was anything of it left to turn.' (My aunt always excused any weakness of her own in my behalf, by transferring it in this way to my poor mother.) 'Bless me, Trotwood, how you do remind me of her!'
'Pleasantly, I hope, aunt?' said I.
'He's as like her, Dick,' said my aunt, emphatically, 'he's as like her, as she was that afternoon before she began to fret — bless my heart, he's as like her, as he can look at me out of his two eyes!'
'Is he indeed?' said Mr. Dick.
'And he's like David, too,' said my aunt, decisively.
'He is very like David!' said Mr. Dick.
'But what I want you to be, Trot,' resumed my aunt, ' — I don't mean physically, but morally; you are very well physically — is, a firm fellow. A fine firm fellow, with a will of your own. With resolution,' said my aunt, shaking her cap at me, and clenching her hand. 'With determination. With character, Trot — with strength of character that is not to be influenced, except on good reason, by anybody, or by anything. That's what I want you to be. That's what your father and mother might both have been, Heaven knows, and been the better for it.'
I intimated that I hoped I should be what she described.
'That you may begin, in a small way, to have a reliance upon yourself, and to act for yourself,' said my aunt, 'I shall send you upon your trip, alone. I did think, once, of Mr. Dick's going with you; but, on second thoughts, I shall keep him to take care of me.'
Mr. Dick, for a moment, looked a little disappointed; until the honour and dignity of having to take care of the most wonderful woman in the world, restored the sunshine to his face.
'Besides,' said my aunt, 'there's the Memorial — '
'Oh, certainly,' said Mr. Dick, in a hurry, 'I intend, Trotwood, to get that done immediately — it really must be done immediately! And then it will go in, you know — and then — ' said Mr. Dick, after checking himself, and pausing a long time, 'there'll be a pretty kettle of fish!'
In pursuance of my aunt's kind scheme, I was shortly afterwards fitted out with a handsome purse of money, and a portmanteau, and tenderly dismissed upon my expedition. At parting, my aunt gave me some good advice, and a good many kisses; and said that as her object was that I should look about me, and should think a little, she would recommend me to stay a few days in London, if I liked it, either on my way down into Suffolk, or in coming back. In a word, I was at liberty to do what I would, for three weeks or a month; and no other conditions were imposed upon my freedom than the before-mentioned thinking and looking about me, and a pledge to write three times a week and faithfully report myself.
I went to Canterbury first, that I might take leave of Agnes and Mr. Wickfield (my old room in whose house I had not yet relinquished), and also of the good Doctor. Agnes was very glad to see me, and told me that the house had not been like itself since I had left it.
'I am sure I am not like myself when I am away,' said I. 'I seem to want my right hand, when I miss you. Though that's not saying much; for there's no head in my right hand, and no heart. Everyone who knows you, consults with you, and is guided by you, Agnes.'
'Everyone who knows me, spoils me, I believe,' she answered, smiling.
'No. It's because you are like no one else. You are so good, and so sweet-tempered. You have such a gentle nature, and you are always right.'
'You talk,' said Agnes, breaking into a pleasant laugh, as she sat at work, 'as if I were the late Miss Larkins.'
'Come! It's not fair to abuse my confidence,' I answered, reddening at the recollection of my blue enslaver. 'But I shall confide in you, just the same, Agnes. I can never grow out of that. Whenever I fall into trouble, or fall in love, I shall always tell you, if you'll let me — even when I come to fall in love in earnest.'