Mrs. Gummidge is the widow of Mr. Peggotty's business partner. Mr. Peggotty takes her into his house after her husband dies, and she does the cooking and cleaning for Mr. Peggotty, Ham, and Emily. Mrs. Gummidge has a catchphrase: she is often grumpy and out of sorts, and she likes to exclaim, "I am a lone lorn creetur' [..[ and everythink goes contrary with me" (3.102). This is a sentiment Mrs. Gummidge repeats many times throughout the first half of the book. She always feels isolated and lonely, as though everything in the world is worse for Mrs. Gummidge than it is for everyone else.
It all turns around once little Emily runs away and Mr. Peggotty is suddenly miserable for a change. Mrs. Gummidge rises to the occasion. She helps Mr. Peggotty pack for his travels, she maintains his boat house while he is away, and she eventually accompanies Mr. Peggotty and Emily all the way to Australia. Mrs. Gummidge feels miserable when other people are happy, but when other people are having a hard time, she's willing to put aside her own sorrows and pitch in.