'Talk of constitooshun!' Mrs Gamp observed. 'A person's constitooshun need be made of bricks to stand it. Mrs Harris jestly says to me, but t'other day, "Oh! Sairey Gamp," she says, "how is it done?" "Mrs Harris, ma'am," I says to her, "we gives no trust ourselves, and puts a deal o'trust elsevere; these is our religious feelins, and we finds 'em answer." "Sairey," says Mrs Harris, "sech is life. Vich likeways is the hend of all things!"'
The barber gave a soft murmur, as much as to say that Mrs Harris's remark, though perhaps not quite so intelligible as could be desired from such an authority, did equal honour to her head and to her heart.
'And here,' continued Mrs Gamp, 'and here am I a-goin twenty mile in distant, on as wentersome a chance as ever any one as monthlied ever run, I do believe. Says Mrs Harris, with a woman's and a mother's art a-beatin in her human breast, she says to me, "You're not a- goin, Sairey, Lord forgive you!" "Why am I not a-goin, Mrs Harris?" I replies. "Mrs Gill," I says, "wos never wrong with six; and is it likely, ma'am--I ast you as a mother--that she will begin to be unreg'lar now? Often and often have I heerd him say," I says to Mrs Harris, meaning Mr Gill, "that he would back his wife agen Moore's almanack, to name the very day and hour, for ninepence farden. IS it likely, ma'am," I says, "as she will fail this once?" Says Mrs Harris "No, ma'am, not in the course of natur. But," she says, the tears a-fillin in her eyes, "you knows much betterer than me, with your experienge, how little puts us out. A Punch's show," she says, "a chimbley sweep, a newfundlan dog, or a drunkin man a-comin round the corner sharp may do it." So it may, Mr Sweedlepipes,' said Mrs Gamp, 'there's no deniging of it; and though my books is clear for a full week, I takes a anxious art along with me, I do assure you, sir.'
'You're so full of zeal, you see!' said Poll. 'You worrit yourself so.'
'Worrit myself!' cried Mrs Gamp, raising her hands and turning up her eyes. 'You speak truth in that, sir, if you never speaks no more 'twixt this and when two Sundays jines together. I feels the sufferins of other people more than I feels my own, though no one mayn't suppoge it. The families I've had,' said Mrs Gamp, 'if all was knowd and credit done where credit's doo, would take a week to chris'en at Saint Polge's fontin!'
'Where's the patient goin?' asked Sweedlepipe.
'Into Har'fordshire, which is his native air. But native airs nor native graces neither,' Mrs Gamp observed, 'won't bring HIM round.'
'So bad as that?' inquired the wistful barber. 'Indeed!'
Mrs Gamp shook her head mysteriously, and pursed up her lips. 'There's fevers of the mind,' she said, 'as well as body. You may take your slime drafts till you files into the air with efferwescence; but you won't cure that.'
'Ah!' said the barber, opening his eyes, and putting on his raven aspect; 'Lor!'
'No. You may make yourself as light as any gash balloon,' said Mrs Gamp. 'But talk, when you're wrong in your head and when you're in your sleep, of certain things; and you'll be heavy in your mind.'
'Of what kind of things now?' inquired Poll, greedily biting his nails in his great interest. 'Ghosts?'
Mrs Gamp, who perhaps had been already tempted further than she had intended to go, by the barber's stimulating curiosity, gave a sniff of uncommon significance, and said, it didn't signify.
'I'm a-goin down with my patient in the coach this arternoon,' she proceeded. 'I'm a-goin to stop with him a day or so, till he gets a country nuss (drat them country nusses, much the orkard hussies knows about their bis'ness); and then I'm a-comin back; and that's my trouble, Mr Sweedlepipes. But I hope that everythink'll only go on right and comfortable as long as I'm away; perwisin which, as Mrs Harris says, Mrs Gill is welcome to choose her own time; all times of the day and night bein' equally the same to me.'
During the progress of the foregoing remarks, which Mrs Gamp had addressed exclusively to the barber, Mr Bailey had been tying his cravat, getting on his coat, and making hideous faces at himself in the glass.