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After Barkis dies, David helps Peggotty in whatever way he can. In chapter 31, he prides himself on figuring out where Barkis’s possessions are, and has Peggotty look in the box he always had with him. There they find Barkis’s valuables: an old gold watch, a silver tobacco-stopper, a child's tea set stored in an “imitation lemon,” eighty-seven and a half guineas, two hundred and ten pounds, Bank of England stock, an old horseshoe, a “bad” shilling a piece of camphor, and an oyster-shell (ch 31). This is all Pegotty had of value in the world, but is not a bad showing. It's enough to support Peggotty. David comments:
He had hoarded, all these years, I found, to good purpose. His property in money amounted to nearly three thousand pounds. (ch 31)
David takes charge of reading the will, and helps Peggotty with funeral arrangements but does not come “in character” (dressed in black). Afterwards, David visits his mother’s grave.
A dread falls on me here. A cloud is lowering on the distant town, towards which I retraced my solitary steps. I fear to approach it. I cannot bear to think of what did come, upon that memorable night; of what must come again, if I go on. (ch 31)
Barkis was like a father to David, and he and Peggotty were David’s family. His death reminds David of all he lost, and how different his life would have been with his mother.
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