In the preface written to accompany the first single-volume publication of David Copperfield, Dickens tells us that the completion of the novel is, for him, both a regret & a pleasure. He rejoices in the completion of the novel because the novel was a long time in coming--he is satisfied that it is finished after 2 years of hard work. He mourns its completion because it marks the end of his association with a cast of characters to whom he has become intensely attached.
Dickens remarks that David Copperfield is his favorite of all his novels & of all the characters he has invented over the years, David Copperfield is dearest to him.
Summary — Chapter II am born
David Copperfield is born on a Friday at 12:00 AM. The time of his birth makes several local women predict that (a) he'll be unlucky (b) he'll be able to see ghosts/spirits. David hasn't been able to see ghosts so far, but as to the first part of the prediction (the unlucky bit), the rest of the novel will prove whether or not they were correct.
David is also born with a caul (which is a piece of the amniotic sac still attached to some babies' faces during childbirth).David tells us that he is born 6 months after the death of his father.
The one person in David's family with any $$ is his father's aunt (David's great aunt), Betsey Trotwood. Miss Betsey had been married, to a jerk who she sent off to the Indian colonies.
Her husband dies after 10 years in India, at which point Miss Betsey returns to title of "Miss" and takes up a secluded life in a village on the seaside. David's father & Miss Trotwood used to be close, but Miss Betsey doesn't like his father's marriage to David's mother. Miss Betsey calls David's mother a "a wax doll", because she's half the age of her husband, Mr.
Copperfield.Miss Betsey & David's father don't see each other again before David's father dies.
On that March Friday when David is about to be born, his mother sits by the fire feeling miserable, what with being pregnant, young, & alone in the world. David's mother sees a woman coming up to the house, & realizes that it is probably Miss Betsey. David's mother invites Miss Betsey in. His mother is dressed in black (in mourning), very pregnant, & her face is red with weeping.
She looks like a child.
Miss Betsey comments on her childlike appearance: "Why, bless my heart! [...] you are a very Baby!" Miss Betsey then asks David's mother why she has called her house the Rookery? A rookery is a nesting place for rooks, a crow-like black bird.
But Miss Trotwood can't see any birds.David's mother, Mrs. Copperfield, answers that the name came from Mr. Copperfield, who saw birds' nests & thought there must be lots of rooks in the neighborhood. In fact, the nests are old, & Mrs. Copperfield has never seen a rook around the Rookery.
Miss Betsey thinks this is a perfect illustration of Mr. Copperfield's character--he names a place the Rookery assuming that there will be rooks, without any proof that his house has come stocked with birds. Mrs. Copperfield seems to feel that this observation is an insult to Mr. Copperfield, & stands up, apparently to attack Miss Betsey, then Mrs. Copperfield faints dead away.
When she comes to, Miss Betsey asks what Mrs. Copperfield calls "her girl" Mrs. Copperfield replies that she's not sure her kid will be a girl.Miss Betsey says, no, she meant Mrs. Copperfield's servant-girl. Mrs.
Copperfield answers: Peggotty.Miss Betsey demands tea from Peggotty for Mrs. Copperfield, who is not looking well. Miss Betsey then tells Mrs. Copperfield she's sure the child will be a girl.
Miss Betsey insists that the child will be called Betsey Trotwood Copperfield and that Miss Betsey will be her godmother.
She promises to look after Betsey Trotwood Copperfield's education. Miss Betsey then asks Mrs. Copperfield more about her life. Mrs.
Copperfield tells Miss Betsey that she was a nursery-governess for a family Mr. Copperfield visited. He proposed to her and they were married soon after. (All through this conversation, Mrs. Copperfield is bursting into tears.) Mrs.
Copperfield admits that she doesn't know much about keeping house.
Mr. Copperfield left his wife and unborn child an income of 105 pounds (about the equivalent of $13,470 U.S. in today's dollars) per year. Miss Betsey agrees that he could have done worse.
The servant woman, Peggotty, comes in with Mrs. Copperfield's tea & sees at once that she is not well. Peggotty sends her nephew, Ham Peggotty, for a doctor: the baby's on the way. Miss Betsey sits in the parlor.
The doctor (Mr. Chillip) arrives. Mr. Chillip goes upstairs to check on Mrs.
Copperfield & then comes down again to sit with Miss Betsey.
Miss Betsey is violently nervous, yelling at Mr. Chillip & shaking Ham Peggotty, the servant-woman's nephew, in her agitation. Finally, Mr. Chillip comes to tell Miss Betsey the baby has been born. He also brings her the news that the baby is a boy, not a girl, as Miss Betsey had assumed.
At this, Miss Betsey hits Mr. Chillip with her bonnet and walks out the door without a word.
Summary--Chapter III Observe
The first things David can remember from early childhood are (1) his pretty mother & (2) Peggotty, his mother's not-so-pretty housekeeper. He also remembers his house, which had a pigeon-house with no pigeons & a dog kennel with no dogs.David recalls a series of early sense impressions: of a graveyard covered with mossy grass & the church where he, Peggotty, & his mother go on Sundays.
He remembers sitting in the parlor with his mother.
One night, as David waits up to see his mother when she comes home from an outing, David asks Peggotty if she has ever been married. Peggotty says no.David continues to ask if you marry someone & that person dies, then you're allowed to marry someone else? Peggotty agrees that you can, if you want to.
David thinks that Peggotty is angry with him, but she doesn't seem to be.
In fact, she hugs David tightly. He has no idea why Peggotty seems so upset. David's mother comes home. She is with a man with dark hair & a mustache, who speaks in a deep voice that David doesn't trust. The man insists that David shake his hand, but David really doesn't want to--there's something about this guy that he doesn't like. The man leaves--David, Mrs.
Copperfield, & Peggotty all head into the parlor.
Peggotty asks Mrs. Copperfield if she's had a nice evening; Mrs. Copperfield agrees that she has. David dozes off--when he wakes up, Peggotty & Mrs. Copperfield are having a bit of an argument.
Peggotty says that Mr. Copperfield wouldn't like "such a one as this" presumably the black-haired man. Mrs. Copperfield asks how Peggotty dares to say such unpleasant things to Mrs. Copperfield, when Peggotty knows that Mrs. Copperfield is entirely alone in the world.
Mrs. Copperfield thinks Peggotty is suggesting that she doesn't love David enough & turns to David to ask him if she's a bad mother. Mrs. Copperfield, Peggotty, & David all burst out crying. After this, David remembers seeing the dark-haired man more often & Peggotty less. David continues to feel resentful & jealous of the dark-haired man but not sure why.
He's too young to put all the pieces together about what the dark-haired man is doing hanging around his mother all the time. The dark-haired man is named Mr. Murdstone.
One day Mr.
Murdstone comes galloping up & offers to take David for a ride. He takes David down the coast to a hotel, where they meet with 2 other men, Quinion & Passnidge.Murdstone & Quinion talk right over David's head about Murdstone's plans to marry David's mother. David doesn't understand that Murdstone & Quinion are talking about him whenever they refer to "Brooks of Sheffield.
He spends the afternoon not realizing that he's the butt of their jokes about the pretty little widow. David observes that Mr. Murdstone seems much more serious than his 2 friends, who both seem a bit afraid of Mr. Murdstone. Mr. Murdstone never laughs.
Once David gets home, he tells his mother all about the nice things that Mr. Murdstone, Quinion, & Passnidge said about Mrs. Copperfield's appearance. She's pleased & flattered, but doesn't want David to tell Peggotty, in case it will make her angry. The next day, Peggotty asks David if he wants to come to visit Peggotty's brother at Yarmouth (a seaside town in England).
David's pretty excited at the idea of meeting Peggotty's family & seeing the ocean, fishermen, etc, but is worried about what his mother will do in his absence.
Peggotty says it's fine; Mrs. Copperfield's staying with a neighbor, Mrs. Grayper for 2 weeks. As they head out to the cart that will carry them away, Mrs. Copperfield kisses David over & over because she & David have never been parted before.
David & Peggotty climb into the cart.Over his shoulder, David turns to see Mr. Murdstone standing next to Mrs. Copperfield.
Mr. Murdstone seems to be scolding Mrs. Copperfield for being so emotional. Peggotty observes this scene & looks very unhappy.
Summary--Chapter 3I Have a Change
David & Peggotty finally arrive at Yarmouth, after a long, slow journey by cart (driven by "the carrier," who later in the novel is: Mr. Barkis). Peggotty loves Yarmouth; she finds it "the finest place in the universe". It's now been several years since David's birth, & Ham Peggotty has grown to be 6 foot tall.
Ham carries David on his back up to the Peggotty house, which is an old ship. The ship totally smells of fish because Peggotty's brother sells lobsters, crabs, & crawfish, which he keeps in an old shed outside. David meets Mr. Dan Peggotty, Peggotty's brother & a little girl named Emily, whom David likes right away.
Mr. Peggotty asks about Mrs.
Copperfield & welcomes David to the Peggotty home. David manages to work out the Peggotty family's relations: Mr. Dan Peggotty had a brother, Joe Peggotty, is the father of Ham. Joe drowned a while back. Emily is not Mr. Peggotty's daughter.
Her father was Mr. Peggotty's brother-in-law Tom, who has also drowned.Mr. Peggotty is a bachelor. He has adopted Ham & Emily because they are orphans. Mr.
Peggotty has also taken in Mrs. Gummidge, the widow of a business partner of his who has no money at all.
Mr. Peggotty is a fantastic guy.
Even though he doesn't have much money of his own, he has still taken in 3 people who need him: Emily, Ham, & Mrs. Gummidge. David goes to bed feeling contented & safe. The next day, he & Emily head out to the beach.
Emily reveals that she is afraid of the sea because it has taken away so many fishermen (including her own father).David & Emily compare notes about what it means to be an orphan. Emily wants to be a lady, because if she were a lady, her uncle Dan Peggotty & her cousin Ham would both be safe from the storms that make a fisherman's life so dangerous.
She's afraid of the sea as an abstract thing, but she doesn't worry about it so much in person: she proves this to David by running quickly along the dock in a way that makes him think she's going to fall in, but she doesn't.David is in love with Emily--he thinks she's an angel.
David tells Emily that, if she doesn't say she loves him back, he'll kill himself. Emily says she does, & David believes her. All the adults think that Emily & David's puppy love is really cute.
Peggotty likes to go to a local pub/bar called The Willing Mind. One night, when he's a bit late coming back because the weather is bad, Mrs. Gummidge starts saying that she is driving Mr. Peggotty out to the bar more often. Mrs.
Gummidge says, "I am a lone lorn creetur' [...] and everythink goes contrary with me". What she means is that she's alone & sad in the world & everything goes against her.
Mrs. Gummidge thinks that she feels bad things worse than other people do: when a storm blows up, Mrs. Gummidge says she's colder than everyone else. She has lots of self-pity.
When Mr. Peggotty comes home & asks how everyone is--he sees how gloomy Mrs. Gummidge seems. Mrs. Gummidge apologizes for driving Mr. Peggotty to The Willing Mind.
Mr. Peggotty laughs this off--he doesn't exactly need encouragement to go & it's not Mrs. Gummidge's fault. Mrs. Gummidge frets that she has been annoying Peggotty & David all day.
David feels bad for her & assures Mrs. Gummidge that she hasn't been getting on his nerves. Mrs. Gummidge goes off to bed after telling everyone that it would be better if she just died & relieved them all of the burden of her presence.
Peggotty doesn't react to this speech except to tell the others that Mrs. Gummidge has been thinking of her dead husband ("the old 'un"). Whenever Mrs. Gummidge gets passive aggressive or self-pitying, Mr. Peggotty just feels more sympathetic towards her because she is a lonely widow. Finally, David & Peggotty have to leave.
David really doesn't want to leave Emily & promises to write her all the time.As David & Peggotty head home, David becomes excited to see his mother again.Peggotty doesn't seem to be as excited as David is to be going back. They arrive at the Rookery & the door is opened by a servant David doesn't know.
Peggotty finally confesses to David that she has something to tell him.David gets so nervous at Peggotty's weird behavior that he thinks his mother has died.
Oh no! reassures Peggotty, but Mrs. Copperfield has gotten David a new father. Peggotty takes David to the best parlor.Sitting next to the fire is Mr. Murdstone & Mrs.
Copperfield (now Clara Murdstone).
Mr. Murdstone warns the new Mrs. Murdstone not to get too emotional. David climbs upstairs & finds that his bedroom has been moved down the hall. The whole house looks different: the kennel that had once been empty now has a huge, scary dog.
**Mrs. Copperfield will still be called that in the book.
Summary--Chapter 4I Fall Into Disgrace
David goes up to bed & feels so miserable that he can't stop crying. Mrs. Copperfield & Peggotty go up to look for David & find him in bed under the covers.
David's mother asks him what's wrong, and he says, "Nothing". Mrs. Copperfield yells at Peggotty--she feels that Peggotty has turned David against her. This is supposed to be Mrs. Copperfield's honeymoon, so she is furious with both David & Peggotty for being so unhappy with her new marriage.
Mr. Murdstone comes in & tells Mrs. Copperfield to be firm with David and to dismiss Peggotty. When Mr. Murdstone is alone with David, he tells David this: that if Mr.
Murdstone has a stubborn horse or a dog to deal with, he beats it.
Mr. Murdstone tells David that he's an intelligent boy who should understand Mr. Murdstone very well.He makes David wash his face & then come down to speak to Mrs.
Copperfield. The 3 of them - David, Mr. Murdstone, & Mrs. Copperfield - have dinner together. David notices that Mr. Murdstone seems very fond of Mrs.
Copperfield, but David still hates him. When they all leave the dining room, Mrs. Copperfield hugs David in secret & asks him to love his new father, Mr. Murdstone.
That evening after dinner, a serious-looking lady arrives at the house: Miss Jane Murdstone who is Mr.
Murdstone's sister.The first thing Miss Mudstone says to David is: "Generally speaking [...
] I don't like boys". Miss Murdstone is a suspicious lady who immediately takes charge of the household affairs. She lives in fear that the servants are trying to hide a man in the house & searches for him regularly. Miss Murdstone takes the keys of the house from Mrs. Copperfield & starts bossing everyone around.
Mrs. Copperfield starts to cry one evening from the stress of being bossed around by the Murdstones, but the 2 of them gang up on her & frighten her into shutting up.
Mrs. Copperfield's is just asking to be consulted about household matters.Miss Murdstone says that she's going to leave the Rookery immediately.Mr.
Murdstone forbids Miss Murdstone from leaving. The 2 of them emotionally abuse Mrs. Copperfield until she begs Miss Murdstone to stay. Mr.
Murdstone says that this whole scene is unfit for David to see & sends him to bed early. The next day, David overhears his mother pleading with Miss Murdstone for forgiveness. After this, Mrs. Copperfield never makes a single suggestion without asking if it's okay with Miss Murdstone first.
David starts learning his lessons from Mr. Murdstone & his sister.
He has to come in to the parlor each morning & recite what he's been assigned by memory. When he starts to mess up because the material is too hard for him, Mr. & Miss Murdstone start criticizing.
They also scold Mrs. Copperfield for trying to help David-they think she isn't firm enough in her treatment of her son. This treatment makes David sullen & grumpy. The only thing that saves him is his dead father's collection of novels, which give David an escape into imagination.
These books are David's only comfort. One morning David comes into the parlor, where his mother, Miss Murdstone, & Mr. Murdstone are waiting for him.Mr.
Murdstone is holding a cane, which he swishes through the air a few times.
Mrs. Copperfield is protesting weakly, but Mr. & Miss Murdstone totally shut her down-they say that Mr. Murdstone has often been flogged/whipped & it's been good for him.
Mr. Murdstone tells David that he has to be extra careful today with his lessons. David does terribly due to all the stress & bursts out crying.Mrs.
Copperfield starts weeping & Miss Murdstone scolds her for it.
Mr. Murdstone brings David upstairs. David begs him not to beat him--Mr.
Murdstone grabs him around the neck & holds him down. David manages to twist around & bite Mr. Murdstone's hand as hard as he can.It's not enough to get Mr.
Murdstone to let David free. Mr. Murdstone beats David as though he wants to kill him & then leaves him lying on the floor, locking the door of David's room from the outside. David eventually gets up; simply moving makes his injuries sting again.
Night is falling.
David has spent most of the day looking out the window, weeping, & dozing off. Miss Murdstone comes in with some dinner, glares at him, & leaves. David starts to wonder: is he a criminal? Is he going to be sent to prison? David goes to bed, & the next morning, he wakes up & remembers this weird burden of guilt. Miss Murdstone comes in & tells him he gets half an hour outside in the garden.
David's kept like this for 5 days, without getting a glimpse of his mother or Peggotty. He's allowed downstairs once a day for evening prayers, but he can't speak to anybody.
He sees that Mr. Murdstone's hand is bandaged from the bite. David remembers those 5 days of isolation like they were years.
In the middle of the 5th night, a whisper wakes him: Peggotty is standing at the keyhole, but she has to be really quiet so they don't wake Miss Murdstone. She tells David that he is being sent to boarding school near London. Peggotty also assures David that he'll see his mother in the morning, before he's sent away. Peggotty promises David that she loves him. She hasn't wanted to show it too much because she knows that obvious affection would make the Murdstones' treatment of David & Mrs. Copperfield even worse.
But she will write to him & she will keep looking after Mrs. Copperfield as best she can.
This parting makes David feel a deep affection for Peggotty, almost as though she were his mother.Miss Murdstone comes in the next day & tells David he's going to school.He gets dressed and runs to his mother, who looks like she's been crying.
David asks for forgiveness from Mrs. Copperfield. Mrs. Copperfield tells him that she's disappointed that he's such a bad child, hurting someone she loves (Mr. Murdstone). She forgives him & asks him to be better.
The Murdstones have convinced Mrs. Copperfield that David is a wicked boy.Mrs. Copperfield tells David that he is going away to school to become a better kid, & that he'll be back for holidays.Miss Murdstone escorts David out to the cart, where she tells him that she hopes he'll feel bad for what he's done, before he comes to "a bad end".
Chapter 5 SummaryI AM Sent Away From Home
David's crying in the cart as they drive away when, suddenly, Peggotty jumps through the hedge next to the road & climbs onto the cart. She hugs David tightly, presses a purse into his hand, & then runs away. The carrier, Mr. Barkis, starts his driving again.The purse holds a bit of money and note: "For Davy. With my love".
Seeing this, David starts weeping yet again. Mr. Barkis tells David that they will only be going as far as Yarmouth, where David will catch a coach to his final destination. Then, David offers Mr.
Barkis a piece of cake.
Mr. Barkis eats it and asks if it was made by Peggotty. David says yes, Peggotty does all of their cooking.Mr. Barkis asks if Peggotty has any sweethearts or suitors.
David says, no, Peggotty has never had a boyfriend. Mr. Barkis wonders if David will be writing letters to Peggotty. David says, yes.
The carrier asks David to include a message in his next letter to Peggotty: "Barkis is willin'".Mr. Barkis won't clarify what, exactly, he's willing to do. Mr. Barkis & David arrive at the inn at Yarmouth.
David introduces himself as Copperfield, then as Murdstone, to the lady at the inn, who agrees that a dinner has been bought for him.
He settles in for dinner with a waiter who, seems nice but still manages to steal David's food, ale, & dessert right out from under his nose. Then, the waiter brings David ink & paper, which he will use to write to Peggotty. The waiter scares David half to death with stories of boys being beaten at school--boys of David's age, between 8 & 9.
The waiter also manages to guilt David into giving him a giant tip. David gets into a public coach bound for London.Having supposedly eaten so very much, David feels annoyed that he's now the butt of jokes between the coachman & the other passengers about his appetite. The coach carries David to an inn in the Whitechapel district, where he is left behind.
Nobody there is expecting a boy called Copperfield, from Blunderstone, Suffolk.
David feels incredibly isolated: what if no one comes to pick him up? What will he do? Finally, someone comes to the inn office: a thin young man with lots of stubble & a poor suit of clothes. This guy is one of the teachers at Salem House, David's new school, & he has come to fetch David. David & this teacher agree to stop on the way to the school so that David can get something to eat. They pause at a housing complex for poor women; they enter a small apartment where an elderly woman greets the teacher as, "My Charley!". (His name is Mr.
The apartment is cold, poor & meager, but the elderly woman still has enough to cook up some breakfast for David. The woman asks Mr. Mell - whom David calls "the Master," because he is a master (teacher), at Salem House - to play the flute. Mr. Mell does, but the music is awful, sad & dismal.
A friend comes by an elderly lady Mrs. Fibbitson. Mrs. Fibbitson agrees with his mother that Mr. Mell plays the flute beautifully, which is totally not true, but spares his mother's feelings.
David soon nods off to sleep to the sound of this awful flute. He sleeps right through the subsequent coach ride to his new home, Salem House. This school is grim looking.
The door of the school is opened by a man with a wooden leg (who is named Tungay) who tells Mr. Mell that the cobbler has been by the house, but hasn't been able to fix his boots.
Mr. Mell is clearly bummed.David notices that Mr. Mell's shoes & socks both have holes in them.
David learns that he's there during the school's holiday season, so there are no other boys on campus. Even the owner of the school, Mr. Creakle & his family aren't there. David goes into an empty schoolroom, where he finds a little sign that says, "Take care of him. He bites".
Mell comes up behind David & asks what he's doing. David asks if there is a dog around that he should be careful of. Mr. Mell says the sign's not for a dog, it's for David: they have been warned that he bites.Mr. Mell apologizes for having to start out with David in this way, but he has to put the sign around David's neck.
This sign does terrible things for David's confidence: he becomes paranoid that people think he really does bite. As David explores the school in everyone's absence, he sees that a lot of the boys have carved their names in an old door to the playground; he tries to figure out what kind of people they are from the way they carve their names.
Mr. Mell & David both have long lists of chores to do, but David gets through them because he has nothing else to do.
David also spends a lot of time with Tungay, who acts as a kind of caretaker to the building. He's pretty mean to David; he won't let him turn his sign so that no one can see it. Mr. Mell is never cruel to David, though he doesn't talk to him much. David thinks Mr.
Mell likes having company.
Summary--Chapter 6I Enlarge My Circle of Acquaintance
After about a month of this, Mr. Creakle & the students of Salem House start to return from the summer holidays.
Before bedtime one night, Tungay fetches David & takes him to Mr. Creakle's part of the building. Mr. Creakle is waiting with Mrs.
Creakle, his wife, & Miss Creakle, his daughter.Mr. Creakle's face is red & horribly angry-looking, but he speaks in a tiny whisper that makes him all the more intimidating.Mr. Creakle tells David that he knows David's stepfather, Mr. Murdstone.
He also tells David that he is "a Tartar" - a violent person - who gets things done. When his own flesh and blood offends him, he'll get rid of it.Mr. Creakle asks Tungay if "that fellow" has been around Salem House? Tungay says no.
Mr. Creakle says that David can go. David asks Mr. Creakle if he can take off the sign before the boys come back.
Mr. Creakle leaps out of his chair, frightening David so much that he runs straight back to his bed. The following day, another teacher comes back: Mr. Sharp, who is Mr. Mell's superior.
Sharp is delicate & wears a wig.The first boy to come back is Tommy Traddles, who doesn't take the sign too seriously and treats it like a game. This is a little embarrassing for David, but nothing like the social death he expected. James Steerforth is a good-looking older boy, who tells David that his sign is "a jolly shame", which makes David adore him. Steerforth asks David if he has any money, he has 7 shillings from Peggotty's purse. The older boy encourages David to spend some of that money on treats for the other boys in their dorm room, which Steerforth then distributes as though he were their host.
David doesn't mind this as he's a bit in awe of Steerforth.
The boys all start talking about the masters at Salem House: Mr. Creakle is a violent man who beat the boys.The wooden-legged man, Tungay, works for Mr. Creakle because he has been in his employment for a long time. Tungay hates everyone at Salem House, except Mr.
Creakle, & enjoys making all of their lives miserable.Mr. Creakle has a son who used to teach at the school, but Mr. Creakle tossed the boy out of his home when the kid protested at the way that Mr.
Creakle treats Mrs. Creakle. **This explains that scene in the beginning of the chapter about discarding his own flesh and blood when it offends him.
There is one boy who Mr. Creakle never beats: James Steerforth. Steerforth is the only "parlor-boarder"- the only of the boys who gets to eat with Mr.
Creakle & he seems to have some sort of weird authority over both the teachers & the students. The boys all gossip about how poor Mr. Mell is & about Mr. Sharp's badly fitting wig. They also talk about Miss Creakle, who is supposed to have a crush on Steerforth.
David thinks of the breakfast he had with Mr. Mell's mother, but doesn't mention it. When the boys go to bed, Steerforth tells David goodnight & that he'll take care of him. David thanks him.
Steerforth asks if David has a sister, because if David does, Steerforth would guess that she would be a pretty, shy, bright girl. David says no, he doesn't, & Steerforth thinks it's a shame.
Summary--Chapter 7My 'First Half' at Salem House
The next day after this evening gossip-fest, school starts. Mr. Creakle announces to the boys that they should "come fresh up to the lessons" that they should be fresh & ready for the semester - because he's going to be fresh & ready for punishment.
Mr. Creakle then comes to see David personally & shows him the stick he uses to beat the boys. Mr. Creakle tells David that, if David's well-known for biting, Mr. Creakle is, too: with his cane. The school master makes similar threats to most of the boys sitting in the schoolroom. Mr. Creakle is a terrible bully, & all of the children cower before him.
When he mocks one of the students before beating him, the other boys are so terrorized that they laugh, too.Traddles is a particular target of Mr. Creakle because he is particularly plump, & Mr. Creakle likes whipping the fat kids. Traddles gets caned most days, but he's still cheerful anyway.Traddles is not a snitch: when he gets in trouble for something Steerforth does, he never tells the teachers the truth of the matter, & takes Steerforth's whipping. Steerforth praises Traddles, & all the boys are in awe.
Steerforth walks arm-in-arm with Miss Creakle quite often, which impresses the boys immensely. Even though Steerforth can't (or doesn't) protect David from Mr. Creakle, he does encourage him & compliments David's bravery. The one advantage of Mr. Creakle's cruelty is that David's sign gets in the way of his cane when he wants to clip the kid in passing, so he soon removes it. Steerforth finds out that David has done a lot of reading; he asks David to tell the adventures he's read every night in their dorm room.
The one downside to this arrangement is that David is often tired when Steerforth wakes him to tell these stories. David does it though, because he admires Steerforth & wants his approval.Steerforth is also kind to David, in his way: when Peggotty sends David a care package with a cake, some oranges, & two bottles of cowslip wine, David hands them all over to Steerforth. Steerforth offers David the wine to drink while he's telling his stories at night. Steerforth keeps the wine locked up for David & feeds it to him the last thing at night & the first thing in the morning to keep him healthy.
David is moved by Steerforth's attention to his health. These story-telling nights in David's dorm encourage David to survive & to learn, even in the middle of a school dedicated to cruelty. Mr. Mell helps David to learn, which David appreciates. It makes David feel bad that Steerforth spends a lot of his time mocking Mr. Mell. One day, Mr. Creakle is sick, & the boys are free to do what they like. Mr. Mell is supposed to keep order, but the boys are so excited that Mr. Creakle is out that they get a bit above themselves. They dance around him, singing, shouting, & laughing at him for his poverty, his poor clothing, his mother. Mr. Mell suddenly stands up & asks them why they are behaving this way?
The boys all stop because they feel bad. Steerforth is sitting at the back of the room whistling.Mr. Mell tells him to be quiet. Steerforth tells Mr. Mell to shut up. Mr. Mell replies: "Sit down". Steerforth answers, "Sit down yourself [...] and mind your business". Some of the boys laugh & start clapping, but Mr. Mell looks so angry that they immediately shut up. Mr. Mell tells Steerforth that he's fully aware of the influence Steerforth exerts over everyone at Salem House, but it's still shameful of him to insult a good man for something he cannot help: poverty. Steerforth answers Mr. Mell that he has no right to call Steerforth shameful or mean, because he, Mr. Mell, is just a beggar.
At this dramatic moment, when it looks like either Mr. Mell or Steerforth is going to hit the other, Mr. Creakle comes in with Tungay, Mrs. Creakle, & Miss Creakle. Mr. Creakle asks Mr. Mell if he has forgotten who he is addressing. Mr. Mell stutters that he has remembered himself. Mr. Creakle then asks Steerforth what is going on here. Steerforth claims that Mr. Mell has been talking about favorites. Mr. Mell clarifies that no student has the right to use his position as a favorite in the school to humiliate Mr. Mell. Mr. Creakle is outraged that anyone could claim that there is favoritism at Salem House.Steerforth jumps in to say that Mr. Mell has called Steerforth base & mean, and that Steerforth called Mr. Mell a beggar.The boys are all impressed that Steerforth has admitted to this.
Mr. Creakle scolds Steerforth for implying that any employee of Salem House is a beggar. Steerforth replies that, even if Mr. Mell isn't a beggar himself, he's near relations with one, which is the same thing. David has been standing next to Mr. Mell (where he had been saying his lessons) and Mr. Mell has been patting him on the shoulder reassuringly. Steerforth tells the whole school what he finally heard from David: that Mr. Mell's mother lives in a house for poor beggar women. Mr. Creakle demands that Mr. Mell set the record straight in front of the whole school.
Mr. Mell answers that, yes, Steerforth is telling the truth. Mr. Creakle wants Mr. Mell to swear that he, Mr. Creakle, never heard a word of Mr. Mell's mother's low social & economic status until this moment. Mr. Mell answers that Mr. Creakle has never asked though he must have known Mr. Mell's poor position in the world. Mr. Creakle fires Mr. Mell on the spot. Mr. Mell takes off, but not before telling Steerforth that he can only hope that, 1 day, Steerforth will feel ashamed of what he has done today (by outing Mr. Mell as the son of a beggar and forcing him to leave the school).
Mr. Mell collects all of his things & leaves. Mr. Creakle thanks Steerforth for protecting Salem House's reputation, & the boys applaud (though David feels miserable).Mr. Creakle canes Traddles for crying over Mr. Mell's departure. David feels hugely guilty for his role in Mr. Mell's firing, what with having told Steerforth about Mrs. Mell's poverty.David wants to cry, but he can't because Steerforth keeps looking at him & he doesn't want to appear ungrateful. Steerforth is very angry at Traddles for crying at Mr. Mell's departure.
Traddles says that Steerforth has behaved badly by making Mr. Mell lose his job.Steerforth retorts that he plans to write home & make sure that Mr. Mell gets some money. The boys are all relieved to hear this, & praise Steerforth's actions. David continues to feel guilt. Mr. Mell is replaced by another instructor who Steerforth likes, but who doesn't bother to look after David, the way Mr. Mell used to. One day, David is surprised to hear that he has visitors.He expects that it will be Mr. & Miss Murdstone, and he is nervous. It's Mr. Peggotty & his nephew, Ham. When he sees them, David bursts out laughing, he's so happy. David finally has to wipe his eyes from laughing so hard.
The guys are concerned at David's emotional response to seeing them.To cheer him up, Ham tells David that he's grown a lot. David asks about his mother, Peggotty, Emily, & Mrs. Gummidge. They're all well ("oncommon" as Mr. Peggotty says - in other words, "uncommonly well".They bring David some boiled (or "biled") shrimp, lobster, & crab.Mr. Peggotty explains that his sister, Peggotty, wrote to him & told him that, if he's ever in David's neighborhood, he should visit & send her news of David's health.
Mr. Peggotty can't write, so he has to have Emily do it for him, but he promises that he will let Peggotty know that David is doing well.David asks after Emily, who, Ham & Mr. Peggotty say, is growing into a woman. Steerforth goes past David & the Peggottys & greets David. David introduces the Peggotty's to Steerforth. Steerforth seems impressive & charismatic to the Peggottys, who are both pleased to meet him. David tells Steerforth that, if he is ever in Yarmouth, he must go & see the Peggotty house, which is built out of a boat.
Steerforth approves of a boat-house for 2 boatmen. The 2 Peggotty's continue to be charmed, & welcome Steerforth to their house if he is ever near their town. Steerforth & David split the shellfish among their classmates, but poor Traddles gets sick from the crab. The holidays grow closer & closer, & David worries that no one will send for him. David finds out that he will spend the winter holidays at home.
Chapter 8--My Holidays. Especially One Happy Afternoon
David makes his way to an inn in London, where he catches the mail coach heading for Suffolk. He is back on Mr. Barkis's coach.David tells Mr. Barkis that he told Peggotty the message - "Barkis is willing" Mr. Barkis replies that Peggotty never answered him. Mr. Barkis discovers that Peggotty's first name is not Peggotty, it's Clara.Mr. Barkis suggests that David tell Peggotty that he is waiting for an answer.
David finds it very strange to be going home, where he remembers happy times with his mother & Peggotty that will never come again.David comes in to his old house & hears the sound of his mother singing.David enters the parlor to find his mother breast-feeding a baby: it is her new son.In that moment, David is as perfectly happy & good as he has ever been.
Mrs. Copperfield embraces David, Peggotty comes running in & everyone is happy. Mr. & Miss Murdstone have gone out, so they are alone. They all dine together, & David tells Peggotty about Mr. Barkis's message. Peggotty laughs & throws her apron over her face. Peggotty tells Mrs. Copperfield that Barkis wants to marry her. Mrs. Copperfield says it would be a good match, but Peggotty says she won't do it.
David notices that Mrs. Copperfield is looking thin, anxious, & tired. Mrs. Copperfield reaches out to Peggotty & asks her not to leave Mrs. Copperfield. She says ominously: "Don't leave me, Peggotty. Stay with me. It will not be for long, perhaps" Peggotty promises that she will never leave Mrs. Copperfield. David tells them about how awful Mr. Creakle is, and how good Steerforth is. They are so happy & peaceful together that David can imagine the Murdstones had never come in to their lives.
Peggotty wonders whatever became of David's great-aunt Miss Betsey Trotwood. Mrs. Copperfield tells Peggotty to put it out of her mind; it's not like they're likely to see Miss Betsey again. Peggotty thinks that Miss Betsey might leave David something in her will if she were to die. Miss Betsey might be willing to forgive David for being born a boy now that he's got a brother.Mrs. Copperfield begins to cry. She tells Peggotty that she is being jealous & should go off & marry Mr. Barkis after all. Peggotty says that it would make Miss Murdstone happy if she did. Mrs. Copperfield scolds Peggotty for her bad nature.
Mrs. Copperfield accuses Peggotty of insinuating that neither Miss nor Mr. Murdstone have good intentions. Peggotty doesn't answer. Finally, Mrs. Copperfield winds down & suggests that she & Peggotty shouldn't argue anyway, because Peggotty is Mrs. Copperfield's true friend.Peggotty is quick to agree to this & everyone seems happy again. At around 10 o'clock, they hear coach wheels--the Murdstones are back.and they tell David to rush off to bed before he can meet them because they don't think children should be up late.
The next morning, David creeps into the parlor. He sees Mr. Murdstone & apologizes for having bitten him.Mr. Murdstone thanks David for his apology & shakes his hand - with the hand that David bit. David greets Miss Murdstone, whose only reply is that she's glad that a day of David's holiday has already passed (so they'll be rid of him soon). One day, David comes into a room where Miss Murdstone & Mrs. Copperfield are sitting with the baby. David picks up his brother, & Miss Murdstone gives a scream. Miss Murdstone has a huge fit because David has touched the baby. She insists that David can never be allowed to touch the baby again. Mrs. Copperfield weakly agrees with Miss Murdstone's order.
On a later occasion, Mrs. Copperfield notices that the baby has the exact same eyes as David. She decides that their blue eyes must come from her side of the family. Miss Murdstone takes huge offense at this, calls Mrs. Copperfield a fool, & insists that David & his brother are completely & totally different in all ways. David continues to feel ashamed & excluded by everyone at the Rookery: those who like him are afraid to show it, & those who don't like him tell him so over & over again to his face.
Because they don't like him & he seems to make them unhappy, David decides to keep as quiet & out of the way as he can. The Murdstones make David sit with the family in the parlor in the evenings so that they can monitor Mrs. Copperfield's treatment of him. One evening, the 2 Murdstones comment that David has a sulky, sullen manner. For once, Mrs. Copperfield doesn't just go along with their bullying: she asks Miss Murdstone if she is sure that she understands David.Miss Murdstone immediately shames Mrs. Copperfield into agreeing, again, as usual.
And then the 2 Murdstones humiliate her further by calling into question her judgment: Mr. Murdstone calls Mrs. Copperfield "weak and inconsiderate".Mr. Murdstone turns on David again. David says he hasn't meant to be sulky, & Mr. Murdstone calls him a liar with an attachment to "low and common company" in other words, servants like Peggotty. He forbids David from hiding away in his room or in the kitchen any longer.
David has to spend all of his time in the parlor trying to avoid being yelled at. And so his holidays pass away.Finally, David gets to go back to school. He's sorry to leave his mother & baby brother, but still he's glad to be getting away from the Rookery. As David drives away with Mr. Barkis, he hears his mother calling.He looks over his shoulder and sees her looking at him care with her eyes, holding his baby brother up for him to see.
Chapter 9 Summary--I Have A Memorable Birthday
2 months pass between the end of winter holidays & David's birthday in March.He remembers this birthday because of what happened on it. Mr. Sharp, the teacher at Salem House, comes in to the classroom & tells David to go to the parlor.mDavid thinks he's going to get another care package from Peggotty.He finds Mr. Creakle eating breakfast with Mrs. Creakle & Mrs. Creakle holds an open letter in front of her.
She tells David that the world changes all around us all the time & that people pass from it throughout our lives. Mrs. Creakle informs David that his mother has died & that his little brother is ill & will probably die soon. Mrs. Creakle keeps David in the parlor all day while he weeps & dozes off. David realizes that he is an orphan now.
He is really sad that his mother has died, but at the same time, he is aware of a new dignity he feels in relation to his classmates. David heads home for the funeral. The man who escorts him through London this time is not Mr. Barkis--it is Mr. Omer, who brings David to a workshop with 3 seamstresses who are stitching up a black set of clothes for David. Mr. Omer also stitched the clothes David's father was buried in. Mr. Omer tells him that the baby has died.
David starts to cry & Minnie Omer comforts him. A man carrying some nails appears - he seems to be Minnie's sweetheart. He has built a coffin for David's mother & brother.Having made these funeral preparations, the Omers & Joram, the carpenter, all get into a coach with David. David feels odd--he is miserable, but he is surrounded by people enjoying their ride.
When David arrives, he is immediately greeted by Peggotty, who bursts into tears & hugs him when she sees him. Mr. Murdstone is sitting in the parlor weeping silently next to the fire. Miss Murdstone asks David in a whisper if he has been measured for his mourning clothes. That's all she offers him in terms of comfort.Mr. Murdstone moves restlessly through the house, rarely speaking to Miss Murdstone & never to David.
David also sees very little of Peggotty until the funeral.At the funeral, Mr. Chillip (the doctor who delivered David in the first chapter) greets David kindly.Mr. Chillip tries to draw Miss Murdstone into a conversation about how much David has grown, but she refuses to acknowledge David. David recalls the pallbearers carrying his mother's coffin from the garden down the path to the cemetery.
Peggotty comes in to David's room when all is finished. She explains that Mrs. Copperfield had been ill & unhappy for a long time--she improved a bit when her baby was born, but she never really recovered her health. Mrs. Copperfield felt that she was going to die. She told Peggotty first & then Mr. Murdstone about a week before it happened. On her deathbed, Mrs. Copperfield told Peggotty to bury her baby with her if he should die, too. She also praises Mr. Copperfield's loving heart. Finally, at dawn, Mrs. Copperfield asks Peggotty to hold her. She dies softly, like a child going to sleep.After his mother's death, David only remembers her as she used to be when he was a young child.
Ch. 10 Summary I Become Neglected and Am Provided For
The first thing Miss Murdstone does after the funeral is to give Peggotty 30 days notice. Peggotty explains to David why she's leaving. Miss Murdstone tells David that he's not going back to boarding school. David's not sure what he is supposed to be doing: mostly, the Murdstones ignore him & he stays out of their way. David tells Peggotty that he's worried about what's going to happen to him: every time Mr. Murdstone sees David, he looks so angry. Peggotty tells David sadly that she can't find a job close by, so she won't be able to stand by David even though she wants to.
Peggotty plans to go to Yarmouth to live with her brother. She suggests that David come and visit Yarmouth for 2 weeks, since no one seems to want him around the Rookery right now. Miss Murdstone agrees to let David go & David has to hide how happy he is just in case she takes it back to spite him. David & Peggotty drive to Yarmouth in Mr. Barkis's cart.
David comments to Mr. Barkis that Peggotty seems pretty comfortable.Mr. Barkis nudges Peggotty with his elbow and asks, "Are you pretty comfortable?" Peggotty laughs & answers yes. They continue to joke together throughout the trip. Finally, they arrive at Yarmouth. Mr. Barkis makes an extremely odd comment: he says that he will be a friend of David's because David "made it all right first" David has no clue what Mr. Barkis is talking about.
A bit later on, Peggotty asks David how he would feel if she got married. David asks if Peggotty plans to marry Mr. Barkis. Peggotty says yes. David agrees that would be all right, because then she would always have access to the horse & cart & could come to see him often.Peggotty is delighted that David is okay with her plan, because she would never marry Mr. Barkis if it would hurt David.
David is genuinely happy for her.They all arrive at the boat-house in Yarmouth. Everything looks just the same. Mrs. Gummidge waits at the door, the house is full of the smell of shellfish. Little Emily is coming home from school soon.David feels oddly disappointed by the old house, perhaps because little Emily is not waiting for him. He tries to kiss her when she gets home, but she laughs, turns away, & says she isn't a baby any more.Little Emily is totally spoiled by all the Peggottys, but she's still nice.
David's crush on her is even stronger than it was before.Little Emily is so sad to hear that David has become an orphan that she tears up. Mr. Peggotty points out the little Emily & Ham Peggotty are both fellow orphans. Mr. Peggotty asks after David's friend, Steerforth. The 2 male Peggottys & David go off into a long exchange about how awesome, smart, & handsome Steerforth is.
Even though the house is just the same, there is a new distance between David & Emily now. In the year that they haven't seen each other, she really has started to grow up. Even though she likes David, she also enjoys teasing him. During his visit, David gets to observe Mr. Barkis courting Peggotty. Mr. Barkis does this by leaving weird little presents at the door every day & sitting by the fire & staring at her in the evenings. He hardly ever speaks. His courtship is an object of lots of laughter among the Peggottys.
Just before David is supposed to go home, he finds out that he is going on an outing with little Emily, Mr. Barkis, & Peggotty. Peggotty looks the same as usual, but Mr. Barkis is all dressed up in new clothes. Mrs. Gummidge rains on everyone's parade by complaining that she's miserable & bursting into tears before the children, Mr. Barkis, & Peggotty get into the coach to leave.
They stop at a church & leave David & Emily in the coach while Mr. Barkis & Peggotty head inside.In the coach, David makes Emily promise to be nice to him, kisses her, & declares his undying love.Emily bursts out laughing: she thinks of herself as much older than David, & tells him he's being "a silly boy". Mr. Barkis & Peggotty come out of the church after a long time. The carrier winks at David & tells him that Peggotty's new name - is Clara Peggotty Barkis.
Peggotty seems totally unchanged by marriage: she's just the same as always. Mr. Barkis drives Peggotty, David, & Emily home. As they ride back to the Peggottys' house in Yarmouth, David thinks that he would be so happy if he & Emily were married. They could live in the forest & never grow old. Peggotty says goodbye & heads back to Mr. Barkis's home. David feels that he has lost Peggotty - but at least he has little Emily.
Because her family guesses that David feels a bit abandoned by Peggotty, Ham & Mr. Peggotty feed him dinner, & Emily sits with him. Peggotty comes by the boat house just as usual. David says goodbye to Mr. Peggotty, Ham Peggotty, & Emily, & goes to spend his last night in Yarmouth with Peggotty. Peggotty promises that, no matter what happens, as long as she is alive, David will have a place in her home.David thanks Peggotty, & gets into the cart that will bring him back to the Murdstones.
Once David gets back to the Rookery, he finds himself completely alone: the Murdstones pretend he isn't there, & he is completely neglected. The only time they ever pay attention to David is to stop him from making friends. The old doctor, Mr. Chillip, invites David to visit (because he's a lonely widower), but David is rarely allowed to go.The Murdstones also won't let David visit Peggotty often, because they are afraid he will complain to her.
The only thing that makes David happy during this awful period of loneliness is his father's old books. David bumps into Mr. Murdstone & another gentleman in the road near the Rookery. The man next to Mr. Murdstone is Quinion, one of the 2 guys who teased David before Mr. Murdstone married his mother in the chapter 2. Quinion asks David where he's going to school. Mr. Murdstone answers for David: he's not going to school right now. Quinion asks if David is a clever kid.Mr. Murdstone tells Quinion not to bother with David, and the 2 men let him go on his way.
Quinion spends the night in the Rookery. That evening, the Murdstones & Quinion corner David.Mr. Murdstone tells David that young people should not just mope around, especially bad young people like David. David needs to get out into the working world.Miss Murdstone adds that David's stubbornness must be crushed.Mr. Murdstone adds that he can no longer afford to keep David, so the sooner David goes out into the world, the better.
Mr. Murdstone informs David that Quinion is the manager of the "counting-house" of his London wine company, Murdstone & Grinby. David is going to go to work for Quinion. Mr. Murdstone continues: in return for his work, David will make enough money to cover food & drink & a small allowance; Mr. Murdstone will pay for his room & washing. Miss Murdstone tells David to do his duty. David is completely confused, particularly since he has to leave with Quinion the next day - he doesn't exactly have time to collect his thoughts. So, the next morning, David gets into a coach to London with Quinion.
Chapter 11 SummaryI Begin My Life On My On Account and Don't Like It
As an adult, David isn't surprised by much, but he's still surprised to remember how young he was when he was thrown away.So, at 10 years old David becomes a worker at Murdstone & Grinby's wine warehouse. David's job is to look at empty bottles, make sure they're not too flawed for use for bottling wine, rinse them out, label them, seal them, & pack them away in casks once they've been filled. The first day that David gets to the warehouse, Quinion sets an older boy to teach David his job: this boy's name is Mick Walker.
Mick introduces David to a kid nicknamed Mealy Potatoes because he's pale like a potato. Spending time with these 2 working kids, David starts to miss the company of his old school buddies. David increasingly despairs of growing up to be a distinguished, educated man. At around 12:30, Quinion calls David into the counting house (his accounting office). There, David sees a middle-aged bald guy.Quinion introduces David to the stranger, whose name is Mr. Micawber who is David's new landlord.
Mr. Micawber speaks to David in a very stiff, formal manner, but he also seems friendly. He offers to come meet David after work & walk him to the Micawber home so David won't get lost.Mr. Micawber leaves the counting house.Quinion explains to David that he will make 6 shillings a week. David uses a little bit of his first week's wages to pay Mealy Potatoes to help him with his trunk to Mr. Micawber's house (Windsor Terrace). Mr. Micawber arrives to pick David up at the right time, & they walk over to Windsor Terrace together. The house is like Mr. Micawber: shabby, but attempting to look as good as it can.
Mr. Micawber has a wife & 4 children: 2 infant twins, a girl of around 3, and a boy of about 4There is also a girl who works for the Micawbers, whom they rescued from the poor house. She is "the Orfling" - the orphan.Mrs. Micawber is constantly breast-feeding 1 or both of these twins, which startles David a bit. Mr. Micawber is in a bad financial place right now; he tells David all about it. This is the reason the Micawbers are taking him on as a lodger.
She continues to complain: the people Mr. Micawber owes money to can't get blood from a stone. David has no idea why Mrs. Micawber is confessing all of this family business to David--At any rate, the Micawbers totally take David into their confidence. Creditors - people who collect debts - visit the Micawbers all the time.These visits really embarrass Mr. Micawber, but he bounces back pretty quick: he threatens to kill himself 1 minute & then settles down to polishing his shoes the next. The same is true of Mrs. Micawber: she'll faint over their tax situation 1 minute & then eat a heavy meal the next.
David is so young & childish at this point that he often can't resist buying a pastry in the morning, which leaves him with no money to buy dinner at night. Because David is such a child, sometimes the pubs worry about serving him because they think he has run away. David's condition is pretty appalling: when he's not working, he's got nothing better to do than hang around the streets. Even though he's so poor & unhappy, he has some status at the warehouse because his manners are so much better than those of the other boys. The boys call him "the little gent" or "the young Suffolker," because he's from the country county of Suffolk rather than London.
David has absolutely no hope that his life is going to get better, so he doesn't reveal how unhappy he is in his letters to Peggotty. David does start to get attached to the Micawbers. There's a lot of sympathy between David and the Micawbers because they are all struggling with money.Finally, one Wednesday, Mrs. Micawber comes entirely clean: she & Mr. Micawber no longer have anything at all left to eat. David offers to lend her some of his (very little) money, & she refuses.What she wants is for David to go & pawn some of her things for her. She can't because she's busy nursing the twins, & Mr. Micawber won't because he has so much pride. David understands at last, & promises Mrs. Micawber that he'll pawn on his way to work.
David starts visiting the pawnshop (Clickett's) almost every morning before work. Mr. Micawber also gets David to sell off Mr. Micawber's books for him.David becomes very well known at the local used bookstore & pawnshop. Everything comes to a head & Mr. Micawber gets arrested &sent to debtors' prison. (Debtors' prison was a 19th-century English institution. When people couldn't pay their taxes or other debts, they would be arrested & sent to these workhouses to stay for varying lengths of time. while the people in them couldn't come or go freely, they could have their families to live with them.)
The following Sunday after Mr. Micawber's arrest, David goes to visit him in prison.Mr. Micawber sends David up to Captain Hopkins, another debtor, to borrow a knife & fork. Captain Hopkins has his whole family in there: a woman to whom he's not married & their 2 children.David enjoys his meal with Mr. Micawber, even though he's eating with borrowed cutlery. When David goes back to Windsor Terrace, he comforts Mrs. Micawber, telling her that her husband seems to be in high spirits. Mrs. Micawber finally decides to move into the debtors prison with Mr. Micawber, & she hands over the keys of the Micawber house to their landlord.
David moves to a small room near the debtors prison because he doesn't want to part with the Micawbers. The Orfling also moves to a similar small room in the same neighborhood. David quite enjoys his quiet new home.Throughout all of these upheavals with the Micawbers, David keeps doing to the same dreary, lonely work, day in & day out at the wine warehouse.The only changes David notices in himself is that his clothes are getting worse, & he feels relieved that the Micawbers are pretty safe inside their prison.
The Micawbers are comfortable in the prison because they get regular food.David regularly goes to have breakfast at the debtors prison; he sometimes meets up with the Orfling at the wharves on the Thames river, & then in the evening, he returns to the prison to talk to (or play cards with) the Micawbers. David's not too clear on the details of Mr. Micawber's debt (he is, after all, ten, and can't really follow heavy financial details too well).All David knows for sure is that, one day, Mrs. Micawber informs David that she has persuaded Mr. Micawber to apply for freedom from debtors prison under the "Insolvent Debtors Act," which should make him a free man in about 6 weeks.
Mr. Micawber is an energetic man who is never so happy as when he's working hard at something that won't make him any money. Mr. Micawber is busy preparing a petition to the House of Commons to change the law allowing imprisonment for debt. Mr. Micawber presents this petition to the other prisoners, who view Mr. Micawber as an authority because he is a gentleman.
Captain Hopkins reads the petition aloud to the prisoners to persuade them to sign.They are all strongly in support of Mr. Micawber's petition. David looks back on his youth & wonders at what strange, romantic histories he invented for the poor, lowly people he knew back then.
Chapter 12 SummaryLiking Life on My Own Account No Better, I Form a Great Resolution
Mr. Micawber manages to make deals with his creditors, & he is released from debtors prison. Mr. Micawber has to spend a little more time at the prison because there are fees to be settled, but he's going to go free soon. Back at the prison, Mr. Micawber celebrates with his club while David & Mrs. Micawber toast Mr. Micawber's freedom together. David asks Mrs. Micawber what Mr. Micawber plans to do now. Mrs. Micawber tells David that her family has suggested Mr. Micawber leave London for Plymouth (which is where she's from). David asks Mrs. Micawber if she will accompany Mr. Micawber back to Plymouth.
Mrs. Micawber weeps as she informs David that she will never leave Mr. Micawber. Finally, she gets so loud in her protests that she frightens David, & he runs off to find Mr. Micawber with his club.David tells Mr. Micawber that Mrs. Micawber seems to be in hysterics, & Mr. Micawber bursts into tears. Mr. Micawber runs to Mrs. Micawber & asks what is wrong. Mrs. Micawber promises Mr. Micawber that she will never desert him.
Mr. Micawber is so moved by her devotion that he keeps begging her to be calm.David, meanwhile, starts to cry. Mrs. Micawber is so emotional that she makes Mr. Micawber weep again. So Mr. Micawber, Mrs. Micawber, & David all cry together. Mr. Micawber goes to put Mrs. Micawber to bed, & David waits for him.Mr. Micawber emerges & tells David that Mrs. Micawber is very sad. The problem is that the Micawbers have gotten so used to their troubles that they don't know how to face their new freedom.
David is so confused & miserable to think that the Micawbers will soon leave London that he doesn't know what to do. Late that night, he has a sudden idea: he realizes that he can't survive London without the Micawbers. So he has to escape, too. He knows that the Murdstones don't care. He's received a couple of parcels from Mr. Murdstone containing clothes, but there is no sign that the Murdstones expect him to become anything other than a drudge toiling away in that warehouse.
Mr. Micawber comes in to the counting house the next day to explain to Quinion that he is going to Plymouth and can no longer be responsible for David's rooms.Quinion puts David up in the house of one of the other warehouse workers.On the Micawbers' last day in London, they have dinner together, & David brings over presents for the kids. The Orfling is also there to say goodbye, since she now has to find another place of employment.Mrs. Micawber promises that she will always think fondly of David: he has been a true friend to the Micawbers.
Mr. Micawber also tells David that he is amazingly sympathetic & compassionate. David's only landlord also has a bit of advice for him: never procrastinate! And also - never get into debt! Debt makes you totally miserable. Mrs. Micawber gives David a motherly hug & the family drives away in a coach to Plymouth. The Orfling & David shake hands & go their separate ways. David returns to Murdstone & Grinby's wine warehouse.
David doesn't plan to stay at the warehouse for much longer: he is going to run away. He wants to go and find his aunt, Miss Betsey Trotwood. David has heard of her in the story of his birth. He imagines his aunt touching his mother's hair & feeling sympathy for her girlish beauty. He starts to wonder if his aunt might have some pity for him. David becomes determined to run away to Miss Betsey. David writes to Peggotty and drops hints to try & work out where Miss Betsey lives. He also asks if he can borrow a little money.
Peggotty writes back that Miss Betsey lives near Dover (on the southeast coast of England), but she's not sure exactly where. She also includes some cash for David.David feels that he has to stay at the warehouse until Saturday night because he has been paid in advance for his labor.Saturday night, when they're all lined up to get paid for their work, David shakes hands with Mick Walker, says good night to Mealy Potatoes, & runs away.
David finds a boy next to a donkey cart near the house where he's staying. David tries to hire the boy to help him carry his trunk to the coach office.The boy does take the trunk according to David's instructions.Unfortunately, the boy also sees the money David borrowed from Peggotty, which David drops.The boy grabs David's cash.The boy accuses David of running away on "a pollis case" a case for the police.He says that David has to prove it's his money at the police station.
David bursts into tears & demands his cash back. The boy starts to drag David off (presumably to the police) when he suddenly changes his mind, jumps on his cart, & drives away with David's trunk & money in hand. David runs after the boy's cart, but he can't keep up.Finally, with very little left in his possession, David sets out on the road he thinks leads to Dover.
David sits down for a time on a stoop to collect his thoughts. Since he has so little money he has no choice but to walk to Dover. He walks past a shop that advertises buying used clothes, with the best price given for rags. David rolls up his waistcoat & brings it to the shopkeeper, Mr. Dolloby who offers him a ninepence.David decides to spend the night in a haystack he knows is located behind his old school, Salem House.
David has trouble finding Salem House, but finally does and sleeps on the haystack. He dreams of talking to his school friends & wakes up saying Steerforth He falls asleep again at dawn. When he wakes up again, he creeps off without ever going to see the boys at Salem House. David hears church bells ringing as it's Sunday morning.
David walks about 23 miles on that first day. He is too afraid to spend the night at an inn, so he sleeps outside again in a field near a troop outpost where a guard is patrolling. David realizes he needs more money for food the next day, so he takes off his jacket to sell. Most of the 2nd-hand clothing stores he finds are too grand for his poor little jacket. He finds a small place that caters to sailors. An old man in the shop keeps asking David what he wants, and ending every sentence with "goroo".
David asks 18 pence for his jacket & the man says no but he offers an exchange instead.David waits outside while the old man thinks over his offer.David waits for many hours.The man Charley is an old drunk & is frequently teased by boys in the neighborhood which is why he behaves so badly with David. Charley comes out of his shop throughout the day with other things he offers David instead of money: a fishing rod, a fiddle, a hat, & a flute.
David asks with tears in his eyes, for either his money or his jacket. Charley starts giving David money a little bit at a time. David is scared of the "trampers" along the road. One of them is a young tinker (a person who fixes tin pots, pans, and tools) who is traveling with a woman.This man grabs David by the shirt a demands to know where David is going. He threatens to knock David's brains out if David says he's better than the tinker. The tinker demands "the price of a pint of beer" from David, but the woman with the tinker shakes her head no. David takes his cue from the woman & says he's very poor and has nothing.
The tinker asks how David dares to wear his brother's silk handkerchief? The tinker grabs the handkerchief from around David's neck & throws it to the woman. She laughs as though this is a joke, throws the handkerchief back to David, & whispers to David to get away.The tinker grabs the handkerchief back & punches the woman to the ground.David is so scared by this that he hides from all people passing him from now on which slows his travel down.
The only thing that keeps David going is his memory of his mother's face in her youth, which gives him hope for the future. David makes it to Dover & begins to ask around for Miss Betsey Trotwood, but the people he asks either laugh at him or else they won't tell him because they don't like the looks of him. Finally, he meets a good-natured fellow driving a carriage, who knows where Miss Betsey lives. He gives David a penny, which David uses to buy bread before he goes to meet his aunt. David winds up near a cluster of houses by following the directions. He stops at a general store to ask which house is Miss Betsey's.
A customer, a young woman standing at the counter, turns around and asks David what he wants of her employer. The young woman thinks David is a beggar, but she agrees to lead David to the house anyway.The young woman takes David to the house & then hurries in.David stands at the garden gate & looks inside. He is not looking too great: his shoes have practically lost their soles, his clothes are stained, torn, & his hair hasn't been brushed in days.
David doesn't know how he can meet his aunt in this condition. He sees a gray-haired man with a red face looking at him through the parlor window. The man winks at David, laughs, & then goes away. David is so surprised by this man that he is about to turn away & reconsider his plan when he sees a lady come out of the house. The lady is carrying gardening gloves & a knife. David is sure that it is Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey tells David to go away because boys aren't wanted here. His aunt goes to a corner of the garden to work. David is so desperate that he approaches Miss Betsey, touches her softly with his arm, & tells her that she is his aunt.
Miss Betsey sits down on the ground, she's so shocked. David explains that his mother has died & that he has been miserable since then--that he walked all the way here to find her. David is so exhausted & strung out that he bursts into tears. Miss Betsey takes him straight into the parlor & starts feeding him random things to try to calm him down. (aniseed water, anchovy sauce, and salad dressing)
David is still hysterical, so Miss Betsey makes him lie down on the couch. She rings a bell, & her servant (the young woman from the store, whose name is Janet) comes in.Miss Betsey asks Janet to bring Mr. Dick downstairs. Mr. Dick comes into the room laughing: it's the gray haired man who winked at David through the parlor window. Miss Betsey tells Mr. Dick that this boy is David Copperfield, who has run away.David's aunt exclaims that his sister, (the fictional) Betsey Trotwood would never have run away!
Miss Betsey tells Mr. Dick that, since he is so sharp, she wants his advice on what to do with David. Mr. Dick says that, if it was him, he would wash David.Miss Betsey turns to Janet & instructs her to heat the bath.David takes a look at the 3 people around him: his aunt is attractive, but very stern looking. Mr. Dick seems childish & strange: David thinks he may be a bit crazy. Janet, the servant, is 19/20; she's very neat and pretty.
As Janet is heating David's bath, Miss Betsey suddenly cries out, "Janet! Donkeys!" Miss Betsey feels very possessive of the patch of green in front of her house, & her main horror in life is the sight of donkeys trying to get into it. She spends much of her time driving away kids who happen to ride their donkeys into her green patch. As Miss Betsey is driving away the donkeys, she is feeding David spoonfuls of broth. His bath is very helpful--it soothes his aching limbs & makes him warm. Miss Betsey & Janet put him into a set of Mr. Dick's clothes, wrap him in several shawls, & let him sleep on the sofa.
As he dozes, Miss Betsey pushes David's hair from his face & seems generally to feel pity for him. When he wakes up, they all have dinner.Throughout the meal, David is very nervous: what is Miss Betsey going to decide to do to him? He explains what has happened to him in his life up to this point.Miss Betsey wonders why "the Baby" (Mrs. Copperfield) bothered to get married again.Mr. Dick wonders if it was because she wanted to. Miss Betsey dismisses this as her husband would be certain to abuse her somehow, so why did Mrs. Copperfield want another one?
Miss Betsey wants to know, why David's mother couldn't have given birth to a girl like she was supposed to? As though it wasn't enough that Mrs. Copperfield insisted on giving birth to a son, then she had to go off and marry someone with a name sounds like Murderer! No wonder David has become a wanderer, Miss Betsey decides. Then she talks about Peggotty! She had to go & get married next! David protests that Peggotty is the best & most devoted friend he could have, & that he would have gone to Peggotty instead of Miss Betsey except that he wasn't sure she could support him.Miss Betsey approves of David's loyalty. (she says he was right to stand by those who stood by him)
After a long day of suspense for David about his fate, Miss Betsey turns to Mr. Dick & asks what she should do with David.Mr. Dick answers that she should put David to bed.And so she does: David gets sent to a pleasant bedroom overlooking the sea. Janet reported that she had burned David's old shirt.
Miss Betsey locks his door from the outside, probably, David guesses, to keep him from running away.David is so grateful that he prays never to be homeless himself, nor to forget what it is to be homeless.
Chapter 14 SummaryMy Aunt Makes Up Her Mind About Me
David comes downstairs the next morning to find his aunt deep in thought and having breakfast. David is nervous because he doesn't know what her plans for him are. Miss Betsey informs David that she has written to Mr. Murdstone, & that they'll see what would happen next.David becomes deeply sad at this news. Miss Betsey instructs David to go upstairs & ask Mr. Dick about his Memorial. She asks if David thinks "Mr. Dick" is a short name.
In fact, his real name is Mr. Richard Babley, but he hates it.Miss Betsey tells David that he has been so cruelly treated by people who share his name that he can't stand it, which is why he is only known as Mr. Dick in the Trotwood household.David promises that he will only call him Mr. Dick, & goes upstairs to find him. Mr. Dick comments to David that it's a crazy world, and that he has just made a start on his Memorial.
Mr. Dick asks David if he knows the year when King Charles the 1st was beheaded? David says that it was 1649. Mr. Dick can't figure out why, if his execution happened so long ago, people have bothered to try & make Mr. Dick memorize this fact. He is glad Miss Betsey has asked after his progress & wonders what David thinks of the giant kite sitting in the corner of his room. It's about 7 feet tall. Mr. Dick shows David that the kite is covered with handwritten pages of facts. Mr. Dick uses this kite to send these facts off into the air & away from his mind. David laughs at this, & Mr. Dick joins him. They both become friends.
The boy goes downstairs & tells Miss Betsey that Mr. Dick seems to be doing well. Miss Betsey wants to know what David thinks of him. David asks if Mr. Dick might possibly be a tiny bit crazy? Miss Betsey says that he is not mad at all--Mr. Dick has been called crazy, which is why Miss Betsey has been able to enjoy the pleasure of his company for the past 10 years. He's a lot saner than many people, she says.
Mr. Dick is distantly related to Miss Betsey. The man's own brother wanted to lock him up in a mental institution because he is a little eccentric - even though their father asked Mr. Dick's brother to take particular care of him in his will.Mr. Dick also had a sister who was very kind to Mr. Dick, but she was abused by her husband, which upset him very much. Because of the brother who wanted to put him away & the sister whom he saw mistreated, Mr. Dick was very ill when he came to live with Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey says that Mr. Dick uses "King Charles the 1st" as a way of expressing his memory of his own agitation & illness
The Memorial is Mr. Dick's history of himself (though it is supposed to be a history of some lord or other), but King Charles the 1st keeps creeping in no matter how hard Mr. Dick tries to keep him out - his history of himself keeps getting interrupted by his memory of his illness. Miss Betsey says that Mr. Dick is the nicest guy in the world, & if he likes to fly a kite now & then, who cares?Since David heard how much Betsey defended Mr. Dick, he starts to hope that she will take him in & he respect her merits.
As David waits for Mr. Murdstone's answer to his aunt's letter, he is really nervous, but he does his best to be nice to Miss Betsey & Mr. Dick.The day arrives when Mr. Murdstone is going to come to see Miss Betsey.Just as they are about to eat lunch, Miss Betsey sees someone sitting sidesaddle on a donkey come riding across her beautiful lawn--it's Miss Murdstone. Mr. Murdstone comes soon after. Miss Betsey she won't have trespassers on her grass! They all assemble inside. Miss Betsey makes David sit down & then turns to receive the Murdstones.
She's obviously still furious that they trespassed on her grass.Miss Betsey tells Mr. Murdstone it would have been better if he had left Mrs. Copperfield ("that poor child") alone. Miss Murdstone agrees & adds that it would have been better if Mr. Murdstone had never made such a marriage. Miss Betsey rings for Janet & asks her to bring down Mr. Dick. Mr. Murdstone tells Miss Betsey that David is a bad tempered, ungrateful boy whom he & his sister have tried to discipline.
Miss Murdstone adds that David is the worst boy in the world.Mr. Murdstone continues: he has done what he thinks is best with a boy of David's type: to give him an occupation under a respectable man. But David (being ungrateful) has run away from that job Mr. Murdstone so kindly arranged for him. Miss Betsey wonders if Mr. Murdstone would have set his own son to such a job, or if he would have sent David to London if Mrs. Copperfield were still alive.Mr. Murdstone answers that Mrs. Copperfield would have known the Murdstones were acting in David's best interests.
As this conversation is going on, Mr. Dick keeps rattling his money more & more loudly, until Miss Betsey glances at him to stop him.David's aunt finds out the deal with Mrs. Copperfield's property. The house & garden were left to David's mother after her husband died. Everything went straight to Mr. Murdstone when David's mother died, leaving David with nothing.
Mr. Murdstone plans to take David back with him, & to do with David what he likes. He refuses to make Miss Betsey any promises. David's stepfather warns Miss Betsey that if she steps in on David's behalf, she has to take full control of him: Mr. Murdstone will never deal with David again. Miss Murdstone then thanks Miss Betsey sarcastically for her politeness. Miss Betsey asks David what he wants. David begs Miss Betsey not to let him go, because the Murdstones have never liked him, & because they turned his own mother against him.
Miss Betsey turns to Mr. Dick for his opinion. Mr. Dick says that they should have him measured for a suit of clothes.Miss Betsey applauds Mr. Dick's common sense, & tells the Murdstones that she will keep David because she's sure they're lying about him. Miss Betsey accuses Mr. Murdstone of misleading Mrs. Copperfield with pretty words & promises, marrying her, & then bullying her into behaving as he wanted her to.
As Miss Betsey makes these totally true accusations, Miss Murdstone keeps trying to get a word in edgewise, but her sarcasm doesn't make a bit of difference to Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey exclaims that Mr. Murdstone is a tyrant, that he broke Mrs. Copperfield's heart, & that his domination is what killed her. Miss Betsey concludes that the reason Mr. Murdstone can't stand to look at David now is because he remembers how he used Mrs. Copperfield's own son against her, to torment her & to break her spirit.
As David watches Mr. Murdstone's face, he notices that Mr. Murdstone's expression doesn't change, but he goes completely pale at this. Miss Betsey tells them both good day--the Murdstones leave her cottage. David's aunt turns to Mr. Dick & instructs him that he & Miss Betsey will share David's guardianship. Mr. Dick says he will do so gladly.
Miss Betsey decides to change David's name: she wants to call him Trotwood Copperfield.David is in a daze: his old life in Suffolk seems incredibly distant, & it's as though a veil has fallen over his awful experiences after his mother's death.
Chapter 15--SummaryI Make Another Beginning
David becomes good friends with Mr. Dick, & they frequently go kite-flying together. He also grows increasingly close to his aunt, who starts to call him by the nickname Trot (short for Trotwood). One day, she asks if David would like to go to school at Canterbury, which is near her home.David agrees, & Miss Betsey orders Janet to pack up David's clothes & order a coach to come pick them up at 10 the next morning.
David is really excited to be going back to school, though he feels bad because Mr. Dick is so heartbroken to be parted from David. The next morning, as they drive away from Miss Betsey's cottage, she asks David if he is happy. David answers that he is, & Miss Betsey is pleased. They stop on an errand: Miss Betsey needs to meet with her lawyer, Mr. Wickfield.
When Miss Betsey rings the doorbell at Mr. Wickfield's, it is answered by a red-headed boy of about 15 who looks much older than his age. His name is Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep says that Mr. Wickfield is at home, & they walk through the door. Mr. Wickfield greets Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey tells Mr. Wickfield that she is here for advice: she introduces David & informs Mr. Wickfield that she wants to enroll David in a school in Canterbury where he will be well-treated.
Mr. Wickfield asks what Miss Betsey's motives are. Miss Betsey is annoyed that Mr. Wickfield is fishing for deep motives when her reasons are so obvious: she wants to make David happy & useful. Mr. Wickfield shakes his head & says she must have another motive, but they let it go for a time. Mr. Wickfield offers to take Miss Betsey to a good school, & to several houses where David might board while he's studying there.
David waits in Mr. Wickfield's office until they get back. David can see Uriah Heep working in the room next Mr. Wickfield's office. Uriah Heep makes him deeply uncomfortable: every now and again, he looks up from his writing & stares at David with his red, watery eyes.After a time, Miss Betsey & Mr. Wickfield come back: Miss Betsey loves the school, but none of the boarding-houses seem okay.Mr. Wickfield proposes a solution: why doesn't David live at his house, which is quiet & roomy?
This would be a temporary arrangement so that they can find a better place for David to live. Miss Betsey feels embarrassed accepting, but Mr. Wickfield tells her not to worry about the favor - he's happy to do it. He would also accept some money if Miss Betsey feels obliged to pay him. Miss Betsey agrees that she would be glad to leave David with Mr. Wickfield.
Mr. Wickfield brings the two of them upstairs to meet his "little housekeeper" - his daughter, Agnes.Agnes Wickfield is sweet, calm, & quiet-seeming - & David's age. She offers to bring David & Miss Betsey upstairs to see David's room, which is lovely & has a stained-glass window.Miss Betsey & David are both pleased with this arrangement. Miss Betsey plans to head back to her cottage, but first she tells David (or Trot, as she calls him) to make her & Mr. Dick proud.
If David avoids being mean, lying, & cruel, he'll be fine, Miss Betsey adds.David promises to be good, & Miss Betsey departs abruptly. David realizes that she leaves quickly because she is sad to be leaving him. David eats dinner with Mr. Wickfield, & afterwards, Agnes comes downstairs to play the piano, chat, & talk to David & Mr. Wickfield. Mr. Wickfield looks at Agnes very seriously, but he can usually be shaking out of his brooding.
Mr. Wickfield does love his port wine, & drinks it throughout the evening.That night, David sees Uriah Heep locking up the office. David's feeling so good about the world that he chats with the guy & shakes his hand.Uriah Heep's hand is so horribly cold & clammy that David rubs his own hands after touching him to get rid of the chill.
Chapter 16 SummaryI Am A New Boy in More Senses Than One
The next morning, David goes to his new school, accompanied by Mr. Wickfield. His new principal is named Doctor Strong. He seems distracted, but he also welcomes David. Doctor Strong gives David his hand & David is embarrassed because he doesn't shake so David isn't sure what he should do. He is saved from further embarrassment by the entry of a young woman, Annie. David can't work out if Annie is Doctor Strong's daughter or wife. (She turns out to be his wife)
Doctor Strong asks Mr. Wickfield if he has found any kind of employment for Annie Strong's cousin, Jack Maldon.Mr. Wickfield hasn't yet, but he also makes an extremely mysterious comment: Mr. Wickfield says that finding Jack Maldon a job will be tricky because of Doctor Strong's motive. Doctor Strong protests that his only motive is to secure some kind of livelihood for his wife's cousin.
Mr. Wickfield agrees that yes, Doctor Strong wants to find him a job - at home or abroad. Doctor Strong says yes, this is true, but he also appears confused by Mr. Wickfield's emphasis.Mr. Wickfield is surprised that Doctor Strong doesn't have a preference for Jack Maldon being abroad.Mr. Wickfield exclaims that, if he had known Doctor Strong's lack of preference, his job would have been much easier.Doctor Strong looks confused, but he smiles sweetly, and David feels comforted that Doctor Strong seems like a nice man.
Doctor Strong leads David & Mr. Wickfield to the schoolroom, where there are about 25 boys sitting at their books. Doctor Strong introduces David as Trotwood Copperfield. Adams, the head boy gets up & leads David to his seat. David feels incredibly shy: it's been so long since he's been around other schoolboys who play normal games & learn ordinary things that he feels awkward & inexperienced.
He wonders what his schoolmates would think of all of his pawn shop & debtors prison visits for the Micawbers. Mr. Wickfield's home is so quiet & neat that, when David comes back to his room after school, he begins to relax & feel at ease.David goes downstairs to find Agnes, who asks about his first day of school. David wonders if Agnes has ever been to school, & Agnes says of course she has, every day. David clarifies that Agnes has been home-schooled. Agnes agrees: her father could never let her be educated elsewhere because he needs her at home.
Agnes's mother died in childbirth when Agnes was born, so it has always been just Agnes & Mr. Wickfield. When Mr. Wickfield comes home, Agnes greets him affectionately.Mr. Wickfield tells David that he will be very happy with Doctor Strong, who is a gentle & kind man. Mr. Wickfield warns David never to take advantage of Doctor Strong's kindness, as others have. David notices that Mr. Wickfield seems to be thinking of something bad, but he can't guess what it is.
Just as they all sit down to dinner, Uriah Heep pops in to tell Mr. Wickfield that Jack Maldon (Mrs. Annie Strong's cousin) has come for a word. Uriah Heep continues to freak David out with his staring eyes.Jack Maldon comes in & tells Mr. Wickfield it'll be for the best if he heads off to a job abroad as quickly as possible - the Strongs have said they want him to stay close to them, but he doesn't feel this is necessary, & he wants to leave town. Mr. Wickfield seems stern: his tone is disapproving as Jack Maldon speaks disrespectfully of Doctor Strong & his wife.
Jack Maldon feels that Doctor Strong owes Maldon help because Doctor Strong has been so lucky as to marry Maldon's cousin Annie - who is much younger & prettier than Doctor Strong. Given how young & pretty Annie is, Maldon is sure that all she has to do is to tell Doctor Strong she wants something & Doctor Strong will do it. Maldon promises he'll do whatever Mr. Wickfield arranges for him, without consulting the Strongs in the matter.
Maldon departs, announcing his intention to dine with his cousin Annie. Mr. Wickfield settles in for his after-dinner drink- Agnes plays the piano, and they all hang out happily.After Agnes goes off to bed, Mr. Wickfield asks David if he wants to stay there or move elsewhere? David wants to stay: he likes it there.Mr. Wickfield wonders if it is too dull.David answers that Mr. Wickfield's house is no duller for David than it is for Agnes. Mr. Wickfield seems very drunk- David mentions Agnes's name, Mr. Wickfield says that he worries that she will grow tired of his house & he cannot bear to lose her.
If Mr. Wickfield is still so unhappy when Agnes is there, he cannot imagine how much worse it will be once Agnes leaves. (Perhaps the unhappiness Mr. Wickfield is feeling is pain of missing his wife.) Mr. Wickfield asks David to stay: it's a good thing for Mr. Wickfield & it's a good thing for Agnes to have David around.David says he would be happy to stay. David keeps reading for another half an hour.
He sees a light on in Mr. Wickfield's office & finds Uriah Heep studying.Uriah Heep is reading a book on law.David assumes that Uriah Heep is a great lawyer. Uriah Heep denies this & says he is "a very umble person" Heep adds that his mother is also "umble", that they live in a "umble" home, & that his father was "umble" while he was still alive. He is grateful to Mr. Wickfield for being an apprentice for 4 years since a year after his dad's death. David thinks that once Uriah Heep becomes a full lawyer, he & Mr. Wickfield could be partners.
Heep says that he is too "umble" to think of being Mr. Wickfield's partner. Uriah also compliments Miss Betsey & Miss Agnes as he almost falls out of his chair. David is fascinated by Uriah Heep's ugly, unattractive gestures & movements & by the dampness of his hands. Uriah Heep invites David to come take tea with his mother some day.He asks if David is going to be living with Mr. Wickfield for some time?
David says he will board there as long as he stays at school. Uriah says that David might become a partner in Mr. Wickfield's law firm but David says not likely. Uriah shakes his hand before leaving. David is unnerved by him. After 2 weeks at school, David is over his shyness at school. Practice & hard work are all he needs to get along, both with the other boys & in his studies. Doctor Strong's school is so much better than Mr. Creakle's that David can't help but love it--he feels a responsibility for the school & for preserving its reputation as do all the other students as well.
David also learns from the other kids that Doctor Strong married Annie about a year ago, even though she's poor & has lots of relatives trying to sponge off of him. Doctor Strong is loved by the whole school because they all know how kind he is & how much he cares about learning.Annie seems to love her husband, & he is affectionate towards her. David spends a fair amount of time with Annie. The 2 get along. For some reason, Annie seems afraid of Mr. Wickfield.
David also enjoys the company of Annie's mother, Mrs. Markleham, who spends much of her time thinking of new ways to use Doctor Strong to improve the poor status of her own family members. One night, David attends a farewell party at the Doctor's house to celebrate Jack Maldon's departure for India (which Mr. Wickfield has arranged). It's also Doctor Strong's birthday. When all of the guests (David, Agnes, Mr. Wickfield, Mrs. Markleham, Jack Maldon, Annie, & Doctor Strong) have sat down, Mrs. Markleham wishes Doctor Strong a happy birthday.
She wishes him many happy returns, for his sake, for Annie's & for the sake of Annie's whole family. Mrs. Markleham remembers the old days when Jack Maldon used to flirt with Annie. (This comment embarrasses Annie.) Annie's mother instructs Jack never to forget how much he owes Doctor Strong, & how lucky he is that his cousin married so well. She says that he has been like a gift to her family.
Mrs. Markleham insists, over the protests of Doctor Strong, on retelling how his marriage came about: Doctor Strong had been a family friend of Annie's father & he asked for Annie's hand in marriage out of the blue. Annie said that she was young, when Mrs. Markleham asked her if she was free to marry him. Mrs. Markleham persuaded Annie to accept his proposal: Doctor Strong could be both Annie's husband & the head of their family now that Annie's father had died. Annie is looking down unhappily throughout this speech by her mother; at this point, she asks Mrs. Markleham if she is quite finished.
Mrs. Markleham wants to ask Doctor Strong for another favor for her family. Instead the talk around the table becomes more general, & they start chatting about Jack Maldon's future.Annie tries to sing for the party several times, but she can't keep up a note. David thinks she must be nervous.They begin to play cards, with the exception of Annie & Jack Maldon, who chat together on the sofa.
Finally, the time comes for them all to part & an awkwardness seems to fall over everyone. Mrs. Markleham keeps needling Doctor Strong to support Jack Maldon, Annie seems very sad, & all in all, this isn't going well - though Doctor Strong is so unworldly that he doesn't notice. After Jack leaves, David sees Jack Maldon driving away in his carriage looking pale & carrying something red in his hand.The party reconvenes without Jack Maldon but no one can find Annie. They finally find her fainted on the hall floor.
Doctor Strong puts Annie's head in his lap & exclaims that Annie is so soft-hearted that she has fainted because her old friend & favorite cousin has left. Annie comes back to herself & goes into the living room with the rest of the party. Mrs. Markleham notices that a cherry-red ribbon from Annie's dress has gone missing from her bosom, but no one can find it. Mr. Wickfield, Agnes, & David walk home.
When they arrive back at Mr. Wickfield's house, Agnes realizes that she has lost her reticule (purse).David goes back to Doctor Strong's house to get it. As he walks through Doctor Strong's house trying to find a candle to search the dining room, he goes past Doctor Strong's study.Doctor Strong is sitting & reading to Annie from his work (a dictionary).Annie's face is filled with sorrow, humiliation, pride, love, & shame. David's recollection isn't sure what it was.
The sound of David moving about disturbs them, & as David walks past the study once more, he sees Doctor Strong patting Annie on the head & apologizing for droning on like this. Annie says she's happy to listen: she wants to sit by him this evening & feel his confidence in her.
Doctor Strong picks up his reading once more & Annie looks up at him with the same confusing series of emotions. David remembers this moment for a long time afterwards.
Chapter 17 SummarySomebody Turns Up
David writes to Peggotty several times to let her know that he has been taken in by his aunt & that he has started school with Doctor Strong. Peggotty writes back to David, & her letter is splotched with tears on David's behalf. Peggotty is still a little unsure about David's aunt. She hints to David that if he needs to run away again, he can come to Yarmouth. She also tells David that the Murdstones have put his old house up for sale. Mr. Barkis is an excellent husband.
David passes on Peggotty's greetings to his aunt, who he sees about once a month on Saturdays. He also sees Mr. Dick every other Wednesday; Mr. Dick comes to his school & stays the night at Mr. Wickfield's house with David.David figures out that Miss Betsey totally controls Mr. Dick's money, & that Mr. Dick is happy to hand over his business to Miss Betsey. Mr. Dick thinks Miss Betsey is the wisest woman in the world.
One visit, Mr. Dick asks David who "the man that hides near our house and frightens" Miss Betsey is? David has no idea who this could be. Mr. Dick explains that an unfamiliar man has come up behind Miss Betsey suddenly on their evening walks twice now, and each time she has wept & given him money. At first, David doesn't believe Mr. Dick's story, but now he wonders whether Miss Betsey has paid this man to protect Mr. Dick from something. Mr. Dick absolutely adores his Wednesday visits to David's school: he is well-known & well-liked by the boys there.
He has also befriended Doctor Strong who he greatly respects.Eventually, Doctor Strong starts reading Mr. Dick excerpts from his Dictionary, which Mr. Dick thinks is the best book in the world. Since Mr. Dick regularly visits Mr. Wickfield's house, he has become close to Agnes Wickfield also. Mr. Dick's friendship with David deepens. Mr. Dick starts to ask David's advice about things, since he believes that David must have inherited good sense from his aunt.
One morning, David bumps into Uriah Heep, who reminds David of his promise to come & have tea with his mother. David isn't sure whether or not he likes Uriah Heep, but he's a bit offended that Uriah implies that David won't visit his house because David is too much of a snob. David agrees at once to come over to Uriah's house at 6 PM, as long as Mr. Wickfield approves. Later, David & Uriah walk over to Uriah's house.Uriah continues to study law, but he admits that it's hard because he doesn't know Latin. David offers to teach him Latin.
Uriah claims that he is too "umble" to accept David's offer.David says this is nonsense, but Uriah exclaims that a man in his station of life has to be "umble" if he is going to succeed.Mrs. Heep, Uriah's mother, looks exactly like him, only shorter. She is also obsessed with her humility. Mrs. Heep tells Uriah that "this is a day to be remembered" because David Copperfield is visiting her house.
David is embarrassed by her compliments, but he is still pleased to be treated as an honored guest.The 2 Heeps are very attentive, but they also manage to make David tell them all about things he doesn't want to talk about, about his family & his past. David can see that Uriah & Mrs. Heep are very fond of each other.They spend the entire meal getting David to tell them secrets he shouldn't be telling, & David becomes very uncomfortable.
Then the most extraordinary thing happens: a man walks past the open front door & it is Mr. Micawber! David is not entirely happy to see Mr. Micawber just then (since he's having dinner with new people who don't know about his time in London), but he is happy to see Mr. Micawber in general.Mr. Micawber calls out to David through the door, & David goes to greet him. David asks after Mrs. Micawber, who is well - both the twins have been weaned, she is traveling with Mr. Micawber.
David introduces Mr. Micawber to the Heeps, & Mr. Micawber tells them that any friend of David's is a friend of his. Mrs. Heep assures Mr. Micawber that she & her son are too humble to dare to call themselves friends of David. Mr. Micawber asks David if he is still in the wine trade - a reference to David's awful days as a worker for Murdstone & Grinby's--David tells him that he is now a student with Doctor Strong. David is in agony, because he doesn't want Mr. Micawber to reveal David's recent past in the city. Mr. Micawber is glad to hear David is a student & praises his intelligence.
David wants to get Mr. Micawber away from the Heeps, so he offers to go pay his respects to Mrs. Micawber.Mr. Micawber explains to the Heeps that he is a man in great financial difficulties, but he has always enjoyed confiding his problems to David. They say goodbye to the Heeps, & David & Mr. Micawber walk over to the inn where the Micawbers are staying. Mr. Micawber immediately pulls out the newspaper to see if there are any want ads in the classifieds.
Mrs. Micawber tells David that they had gone to Plymouth in search of a job, but her family's influence was not enough to get him employment.Since he just got out of debtors prison, the reception of Mr. Micawber by Mrs. Micawber's family was not warm. Her family kicked the Micawbers out after a week, which David thinks is shameful. Mr. Micawber decides to try his hand at the coal trade, so that's why they're in Dover, but they have no capital at all. They're waiting for a money order so that they can pay their bill at the inn where they are currently staying.
David expresses his sympathy for the poor Micawbers at this awful news. Mr. Micawber invites David to have dinner with them the next evening.Later that night, David sees Mr. Micawber & Uriah Heep walking by his home at Mr. Wickfield's arm in arm. When David goes the next day to have dinner with the Micawbers, Mr. Micawber informs David that he has been drinking brandy at Mrs. Heep's house.
Mr. Micawber tells David that some day, Uriah might become attorney general. David worries that Mr. Micawber might have told Uriah too much about David's history, but he doesn't want to ask Mr. Micawber what he has said. David is very uncomfortable. Mr. and Mrs. Micawber are in high spirits, constantly toasting one another & singing. Because they are in such high spirits, David is astonished when he gets a letter from Mr. Micawber at 7 AM the following morning:
'My Dear Young Friend,'The die is cast-all is over. Hiding the ravages of care with a sickly mask of mirth, I have not informed you, this evening, that there is no hope of the remittance! Under these circumstances, alike humiliating to endure, humiliating to contemplate, & humiliating to relate, I have discharged the pecuniary liability contracted at this establishment, by giving a note of hand, made payable 14 days after date, at my residence, Pentonville, London. When it becomes due, it will not be taken up. The result is destruction. The bolt is impending, & the tree must fall. Let the wretched man who now addresses you, my dear Copperfield, be a beacon to you through life. He writes with that intention, & in that hope. If he could think himself of so much use, 1 gleam of day might, by possibility, penetrate into the cheerless dungeon of his remaining existence-though his longevity is at present (to say the least of it), extremely problematical. 'This is the last communication, my dear Copperfield, you will ever receive 'From 'The 'Beggared Outcast, 'Wilkins Micawber.'
David is so worried that he runs over to the inn on his way to school.But half way there, he sees Mr. & Mrs. Micawber riding past him in a coach to London, chatting to one another & looking perfectly happy. So, David goes on to school, feeling rather glad that they are gone even though he likes them fine.
Chapter 18 SummaryA Retrospect
David looks back on his school days.David is not the least successful boy in school, but he's still a long way off from being the first one (Adams).Adams is not as superior as Steerforth, but David still wonders what he'll be when he leaves the school - he's sure that Adam will be amazing. David has a crush on Miss Shepherd, who boards at a school run by the Misses Nettingalls.
The Misses Nettingalls' pupils go to the same church that Doctor Strong's students attend. David & Miss Shepherd go to the same dancing school.David gives Miss Shepherd little presents: brazil nuts, cookies, & oranges. Slowly, however, they grow apart: David hears that Miss Shepherd wishes David didn't stare at her so much.Worse still, Miss Shepherd has a crush on Jones, one of his schoolfellows.
One day, David happens to walk past the Misses Nettingalls' girls & sees Miss Shepherd making a face at him & then laughing to her friends. He's done with her. David grows older & decides that he's above the Misses Nettingalls' young ladies. He's too good for them & for dancing school.Doctor Strong calls David a promising scholar--Mr. Dick & Miss Betsey are very proud of him. A young butcher in the town threatens to beat up Doctor Strong's boys because they think they're so great.
He stops a couple of the younger boys & punches them.This butcher challenges David directly, & so David decides to fight him. The butcher kicks David's butt, & he has to stay home for a couple of days to recover. Agnes nurses David. She agrees that David had no choice but to fight the butcher.Adams graduates from the school & goes on to become a lawyer.
David no longer thinks Adams is so very great: he suddenly seems very meek & not at all grand. Now David is head boy! He feels about a million miles away from the little boy he was when he first arrived at Doctor Strong's school. Agnes has also grown up: she is like a calm, sweet sister to David. David has fallen in love again, this time, with the eldest Miss Larkins. Miss Larkins is a tall woman of about 30, & David is crazy for her. He plans to go to a ball that he knows Miss Larkins will also attend.
When he can't be with Miss Larkins, he tries to catch the eye of her father, Mr. Larkin.David worries that, at 17, he may be too young for Miss Larkins. He'll be 21 soon!Fantasies run through David's head of Miss Betsey giving him her blessing to marry Miss Larkins & offering him a fortune of 20,000 pounds. He also notices that Miss Larkins is very popular with the army officers in the town & worries that she won't even notice him.
David makes it to the ball & asks Miss Larkins to dance. David tells Miss Larkins that he doesn't want to dance with anyone else. They dance & David is pleased that he has snatched Miss Larkins from the arms of Captain Bailey. David asks Miss Larkins for a flower, which he then kisses & pins to his chest. Miss Larkins tells David that he is very bold, & then asks to be escorted back to Captain Bailey. Miss Larkins later approaches David with a plain, somewhat older gentleman on her arm. She introduces David to Mr. Chestle, who is in the hops trade
David thinks that Mr. Chestle must be some friend of the family, & is very proud of the introduction. He's thrilled at this attention from Miss Larkins. Several weeks later, Agnes tells him at dinner that Miss Larkins has just gotten married to Mr. Chestle.David is miserable, stops wearing his best clothes, & throws away Miss Larkins' flower.
Tired of the whole dating scene, David challenges the butcher to another fight and beats him.He feels a bit better. And that's David's rise to the age of 17!
Chapter 19 SummaryI Look About Me and Make A Discovery
David is very attached to Doctor Strong & so happy at school, but he is ready to move on to the next phase of his life. David & Miss Betsey spend lots of time talking about what David should do with his life. Mr. Dick makes only one suggestion, that David should be a brazier (which is metal bowl used to hold coals or fire). Miss Betsey looks so annoyed at this that Mr. Dick never tries to offer his opinion on the subject again.
One day around Christmas, Miss Betsey makes David a proposal: why doesn't he go down to Yarmouth to see Peggotty? Miss Betsey tells David that his feelings for Peggotty are natural & rational, & that David should always be both of those things. She comments that David is the living image of his mother, with lots of his father in him as well.She advises that David must be resolute, determined, & morally firm.
Miss Betsey wants to give David a sense of independence, so she tells him to go on this trip to Yarmouth by himself. Miss Betsey hands David a fair amount of money & sends him on his way. David stops in Canterbury to see Agnes & Mr. Wickfield. David tells Agnes that she is good, gentle, & always right--so he wants to confide in her. Agnes thinks it's another crush on a lady, but it isn't--David tells Agnes that there is no one worthy of her love. When Agnes falls in love, David tells her he will expect a lot of her fiancé.
He thinks Agnes is so superior that he can't bear the thought of her tying herself to an unworthy admirer. Agnes seizes the opportunity to ask David something, since she will probably not see him again for some time. She wants to know if David has observed any change in Mr. Wickfield. Yes, possibly as a result of Mr. Wickfield's drinking so much, his physical condition is getting worse.
Mr. Wickfield's hands tremble all the time, his speech is unclear, & he seems stressed out. Whenever Mr. Wickfield is most stressed, Uriah Heep calls on him to work. The more that Uriah calls on Mr. Wickfield to work when he is unfit, the more nervous & unsettled he becomes. David tells Agnes that, just the other day, he saw Mr. Wickfield put his head in his arms & cry like a child. Agnes stops David from talking because Mr. Wickfield comes into the room.
David observes that Agnes looks at Mr. Wickfield with great gratitude, love, & worry for his condition. David is deeply moved by her feelings for her father. The Wickfields & David are due at Doctor Strong's house for tea. Doctor Strong tells them that he plans to retire soon & leave his school to his lead teacher. The school master asks Mr. Wickfield to draw up the contracts for him when the time comes.
Mr. Wickfield warns Doctor Strong not to let himself be taken advantage of. Once Doctor Strong has retired, he will think of only 2 things: his dictionary, & Annie. Annie looks timidly at Mr. Wickfield. Mr. Wickfield notices that Doctor Strong has received a letter from India. Mrs. Markleham chimes in that Jack Maldon is very sick because of living in India's hot climate. Mr. Wickfield asks if Jack Maldon has actually said anything about illness in his letters.Mrs. Markleham admits that Jack Maldon has not said that he is sick, but that he also never would: Jack Maldon would never complain if it meant violating Doctor Strong's plans for him.
Doctor Strong says that these were Mr. Wickfield's arrangements because he was fine with having Jack Maldon either at home or abroad. Mr. Wickfield adds that he was the one to send Jack Maldon abroad. Mrs. Markleham predicts that Jack Maldon will die in India before coming home & ruining anyone's arrangements for him.
Doctor Strong doesn't mind changing arrangements if Jack Maldon is really sick. He would be happy to find Jack Maldon a more suitable job here in England if that's the case. Mrs. Markleham is so overcome by the Doctor's generosity that she praises him repeatedly & demands that Annie show her gratitude. Throughout all of this, Annie stays silent with her eyes cast down. Mrs. Markleham reads out a piece of Jack Maldon's letter to Doctor Strong: apparently, Jack has been sick, & he has to come back to England to recover for a time.
The pushy lady demands that Annie produce the letter Jack Maldon wrote to her so that Mrs. Markleham can read out bits of that. Annie doesn't want to, but Mrs. Markleham insists.Mrs. Markleham reads out a, warmly worded passage about how much Jack Maldon hates India & wants to come home. It's unclear whether he has actually been sick - he says that being there is "insupportable". Jack Maldon insists on coming home, either on sick leave or by resigning from his job.
Mr. Wickfield says nothing, but he looks thoughtful & severe. The Doctor likes music, so Agnes & Annie sing several duets. David notices that Mr. Wickfield doesn't seem to approve of the friendliness between Agnes & Annie. David recalls the night when Jack Maldon left for India & begins to feel unformed suspicions about Annie's behavior. The evening passes quickly.When it's time for David & the Wickfields to leave, something odd happens. Agnes reaches over to hug & kiss Annie, but Mr. Wickfield physically steps between them & pulls Agnes away.
David finds this strange, & feels as though he is leaving the Doctor's house under a dark cloud. David worries that the Doctor's kindliness may be betrayed. The next morning, David departs Mr. Wickfield's house.David does his best to appear as old as possible, so he addresses the coachman condescendingly & in a gruff voice. David tells the coachman he's heading to Suffolk, the county where he is from.
The coachman thinks David is going hunting in Suffolk & comments on some aspects of food there.David suddenly feels awkward: he's from Suffolk, but the coachman seems to know much more about it than he does. The man sitting behind David is a horse & dog breeder. The coachman tells David that it seems wrong that such a great man should be sitting behind David.So David, blushing, offers the breeder his seat. David feels that he has somehow lost face: the order of seats in the coach is supposed to determine social status, & David has been physically moved down.
Riding in a carriage with a pocket full of money is a new & refreshing experience for David,& he is enjoying the trip. They drive by David's old school, Salem House, & he has a brief fantasy of getting out of the carriage & whipping Mr. Creakle. David stops at an inn in London. He tries to impress the waiter with his deep voice, but it doesn't seem to work that well. Anyway, David has dinner. After dinner, David goes to a play - Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
He is delighted to see all of these old Romans walking across the stage to entertain him. David is so impressed by the scenery & costuming that he can barely contain himself. David goes back to his inn, where he slowly comes to recognize a handsome, well-dressed young man sitting by the fire in the common room. David passes this young man on his way to bed and suddenly recognizes him: it is James Steerforth!Even though David recognizes him as soon as he sees Steerforth clearly, Steerforth doesn't put it together right away.
Suddenly, Steerforth exclaims, "My God! It's little Copperfield!" David is so excited to see Steerforth that he almost cries. Steerforth tells David to calm down a bit, but Steerforth also seems pleased to see David. Steerforth is studying at Oxford (so, he's not living in London), but he's on his way to visit his mother. David informs Steerforth that he has just been to a play which was wonderful.
Steerforth laughs at David & tells him that he's truly fresh & naive: Steerforth has also just seen that play, & it was bad. Steerforth asks the waiter what room David has been assigned. It's an awful room just over the stables. The waiter apologizes & offers David the room next to Steerforth's, since they hadn't realized that David was anybody in particular. Steerforth laughs at the terrible room David was given & invites him to breakfast the next morning. David is thrilled, & falls asleep looking forward to the new day.
Chapter 20 SummarySteerforth's Home
The next morning, a chamber-maid knocks on David's door to tell him there's water for shaving outside his door.David blushes: he doesn't need to shave yet, & he's sure the chamber-maid knows it & is laughing at him. Steerforth is waiting for David in a private dining room. David feels rather shy in front of Steerforth, who is so much grander than David is.Steerforth asks David all about him.David is pleased that Steerforth is so interested. He tells Steerforth his plans to visit Yarmouth.
Steerforth hears that David is not in a hurry & invites David to his mother's house in Highgate to stay for a few days. David is delighted to accept. He's so excited: he writes to his aunt to tell her of his change of plans. Then David & Steerforth see some of the sights of London.They go to a museum & David is impressed with Steerforth's knowledge of everything.David comments that Steerforth will certainly get a graduate degree out of his higher education.
Steerforth laughs & says that he has no intention of pursuing further education. Steerforth has now decided to call David "Daisy" as a nickname. Steerforth wonders why he should bother with fame or acclaim when he's satisfied with what he has?David is embarrassed at his misstep & changes the subject. They travel out to Mrs. Steerforth's house, where Steerforth's mother greets them. The house is old-fashioned, quiet, & neat.There is a 2nd lady in the dining room: she is thin & sharp looking, about 30, with a scar on her mouth that slightly changes the shape of her upper lip. This is Miss Rosa Dartle.
Miss Dartle has an odd way of speaking: she never comes out and says anything straight, but she hints quite broadly.For example, she hints that Steerforth is living a wild life at college & not learning anything.This happens a second time when David mentions that he plans to visit the Peggotty's, whom Steerforth has met.David explains that Mr. Peggotty has adopted Ham & little Emily, so his house is full of people who Mr. Peggotty has been kind to.
Steerforth comments that they seem worth his attention. Miss Dartle chimes in to ask if they really seem worth his notice, as though they were animals or beings of another order?Steerforth clarifies that he thinks there is a difference between them (i.e., the lower orders) and us (i.e., rich people) - they may be very good people, but they can't be expected to be as sensitive or fine as people with better breeding. Miss Dartle thanks him for making her feel better: she had been worried that poor people suffer, but now she knows that they don't really feel things the way better people do.
David thinks that Steerforth can't mean what he says, and that he must have made his comments about poor people to draw Miss Dartle out.Once they are alone, Steerforth asks David what he thinks of Miss Dartle.David comments that she seems very clever, & Steerforth agrees: she is so sharp that she seems all edge to Steerforth.David remarks on Miss Dartle's scar. Steerforth admits that he gave it to her: when he was a little boy, she irritated him & he threw a hammer at her.
David is sorry to have brought it up, since it must be painful for Steerforth.Steerforth continues: Miss Dartle is an orphan of a cousin of Steerforth's father's who Mrs. Steerforth brought to live with her as a companion once Mr. Steerforth died.David comments (incredibly naively, if we may say!) that Miss Dartle must love Steerforth like a brother.Steerforth hems and haws a bit, and then changes the subject.The next day, David keeps glancing at Miss Dartle's scar. He notices that, when she gets angry, it flushes dark & stands out clearly on her face.
Mrs. Steerforth shows David all of Steerforth's old letters to her, his baby pictures, & a lock of his hair. David tells Mrs. Steerforth that Steerforth practically saved his life at Mr. Creakle's school, & that he has always been generous & noble to David. Mrs. Steerforth agrees that Salem House was not good enough for her son, but Steerforth needed to go there because they had trouble finding a teacher who would "be content to bow himself" before Steerforth's superior character.
Steerforth's mother adds that her son had to go to a school where he could be the acknowledged king of the place. Mrs. Steerforth is delighted that David is so devoted to her son, but she also finds it only natural that her son should inspire such feelings in his fellow men. During this conversation, Miss Dartle is busy playing backgammon with Steerforth, but David is certain that she doesn't miss a word of any of this. Steerforth calls David Daisy again, & Miss Dartle jumps on it. She asks if it means that David is young & innocent.
She comments that Steerforth thinks David is innocent-- so he is willing to be friends with him. Miss Dartle goes to bed soon after--Steerforth & David stay up late to talk about old school times. When David goes to bed, he notices that there is a portrait of Miss Dartle on his wall. He finds it disturbing, & starts having uneasy dreams filled with doubts about the people around him.
Chapter 21 SummaryLittle Em'ly
Steerforth keeps a servant named Littimer, who is the most respectable & imposing-looking man imaginable.Littimer informs David that breakfast is at 9:30. Every morning, David & Littimer have this exact same conversation, & it somehow always makes David feels like a child again. Steerforth instructs David in riding, fencing, & boxing. David continues to feel completely inexperienced, which is fine in front of Steerforth but embarrasses him in front of Littimer.
David spends a week at Steerforth's house & is perfectly happy. Steerforth decides to accompany David to Yarmouth to see the Peggottys. Littimer arranges everything for their departure, but does not accompany Steerforth. They say goodbye to Mrs. Steerforth & Miss Dartle. David & Steerforth arrive at Yarmouth & make arrangements for Steerforth to come to the boathouse that evening.They decide to take the Peggottys by surprise.
Steerforth makes a weird remark that he wants to "see the natives in their aboriginal condition", as though the Peggottys are the subjects of an anthropological investigation. David comments that the Peggottys are part of the lower orders Steerforth was talking about earlier in the visit. Steerforth tells David not to mind his argument with Miss Dartle about the poor. David wants to head off to see Peggotty first, so he gives Steerforth directions to Mr. Barkis's home & they part.
As David is walking through Yarmouth, he sees the shop of Mr. Omer, the tailor, who outfitted his mother with her funeral clothes. He stops to say thank you. David sees Minnie Omer, who is now married to Joram the carpenter, & her young son, Joe. Mr. Omer comes in, & David shakes his hand. Mr. Omer doesn't remember David, so David reminds him of a day long ago when they road to Blunderstone together with Minnie & Joram to bury David's mother.Remembering at last, Mr. Omer asks how David has been.
David's been fine, as has Mr. Omer, though he's getting old. Mr. Omer further recalls that Peggotty was a servant for Mrs. Copperfield. He tells David that a young relation of Peggotty is currently acting as an apprentice in his shop: it's little Emily! She's learning to be a dressmaker. Mr. Omer informs David that half the women of Yarmouth hate little Emily because she is so beautiful. Minnie adds that that's not the problem; the issue is that little Emily is reaching above her station in life. Little Emily has given them scandal to talk about, which is what has made her the subject of so much gossip.
Mr. Omer sticks to his story: it's jealousy because little Emily is so lovely. Emily hasn't really become friends with any of the people in the neighborhood, so word has gotten around that she wants to be a lady. She wants to improve her social position above what she was born to. Mr. Omer says this isn't true-he just thinks that people have misinterpreted her saying that if she were a lady, she would improve her uncle's life.
Her reputation isn't great because she's so vain about her clothing & because she is a bit spoiled. Emily has been a dedicated apprentice-both Mr. Omer & Minnie agree on this-she's doing well as a dressmaker. David asks if little Emily is in & if he might see her? He glimpses Emily through a window, & she looks as lovely as ever. Mr. Omer invites David to come in & speak to little Emily, but he suddenly feels very shy & backs off. David continues on to Peggotty's house.
He finds Peggotty in the kitchen cooking dinner. David knocks & she answers the door.He smiles at Peggotty, but she doesn't recognize him straight away--it has been 7 years since she last saw him. David pretends for a bit: he asks Peggotty if Mr. Barkis is at home & if he goes over to Blunderstone often?Then David asks about a place in Blunderstone called the Rookery? Peggotty suddenly puts it all together: it's David! And they embrace, weeping.
She is so, so happy & proud to see him. Peggotty takes David up to Mr. Barkis's room, where Mr. Barkis is laid up with rheumatism.Mr. Barkis is very happy to see David as well, & they joke about that old message David passed to Peggotty, that Barkis is willing. The old carrier tells David that he is very pleased with his decision to marry Peggotty, because she does indeed do a lot of baking. Mr. Barkis complains of being very poor. He indicates a box underneath his bed, but he tells David that it's full of old clothes. He wishes it were money, but he assures David that it's not.
Mr. Barkis tells Peggotty to make David a good supper & offers her some money but he won't take the money out of his box until David and Peggotty are out of the room. When he is alone, he will crawl painfully out of bed to pull out the box himself, because he's gotten really miserly. David tells Peggotty that Steerforth is planning to come. Peggotty is well-disposed towards him because Steerforth has been so kind to David. Steerforth is so agreeable & good-humored with Peggotty & Mr. Barkis that everyone is delighted. Later on, they head to Mr. Peggotty's boat house.
Steerforth & David sneak up to the front door.Everyone inside looks unusually excited, even the generally grim Mrs. Gummidge. Mr. Peggotty looks like he's about to embrace Emily, Emily is blushing & smiling, & Ham Peggotty is holding her hand.Just at this point, David & Steerforth walk in, & Ham Peggotty shouts that it's David.They all shake hands with each other and seem overcome with pride & happiness. Mr. Peggotty is thrilled to see David & Steerforth under his roof and all grown up. The boatman is glad to be able to tell them his great news: that little Emily, whom he has raised as his own daughter, is going to marry Ham Peggotty, who has been her close companion since they were children.
Ham is so incredibly filled with joy that he almost falls down when Mr. Peggotty announces their plan. David finds it moving that someone as sturdy as Ham could be trembling with feeling at his upcoming marriage. David is filled with real pleasure at the news of this upcoming marriage. Steerforth shakes hands with Mr. Peggotty & Ham--then they all call little Emily back in to celebrate.Emily is bashful to start with, but she slowly relaxes under the effects of Steerforth's charm.She laughs at Steerforth's jokes & seems fascinated with his face.
Even Mrs. Gummidge starts to cheer up at Steerforth's conversation. Little Emily talks to David about their old adventures on the beach & his devotion to her. David observes that Emily seems to be pressing close to the wall rather than leaning towards Ham, even though he's sitting next to her. At around midnight, they leave. Steerforth goes to a hotel, & David returns to Mr. Barkis's house. As they walk off, Steerforth comments on how lovely Emily is. David adds that he's happy that they happened to arrive just at the news of this marriage. Steerforth thinks Ham seems like kind of an idiot--Emily could do better. David is shocked at this: Steerforth had been so generous & kind with Ham that David can't believe he was thinking bad things about him the whole time.
David decides that Steerforth is trying to pretend he's a worse man than he is. How can Steerforth really have such negative opinions of the poor if he understands them well enough to pass such a pleasant evening with them? Steerforth tells David that he wishes everyone could be as good as David is.
Chapter 22 SummarySome Old Scenes, and Some New People
Steerforth & David spend about 2 weeks in Yarmouth. David hates sailing & Steerforth loves it. Steerforth frequently goes out at night with the fisherman while David stays over with Peggotty & Mr. Barkis.David goes on long walks by himself to see old places of his childhood.There are several days when David goes off & Steerforth entertains himself, but David doesn't know how.
The Rookery has totally changed--the old rooks' nests have been removed & the house has been refitted for a mentally ill man & his caretakers. Mr. Chillip has gotten married again & has a baby. David's old neighbors the Graypers have moved to South America. David feels fortunate to have such excellent friends as Steerforth, Peggotty, & his generous aunt.
One evening David comes home later than usual & finds Steerforth sitting thoughtfully by the fire in Mr. Peggotty's house. David startles Steerforth when he puts his hand on Steerforth's shoulder which makes him angry. He reproaches David for being late. David has no idea what Steerforth is talking about & is amazed at how unlike himself Steerforth seems. Steerforth shakes off his bad mood pretty quickly, but says that it would have been good to have a father figure.
It's time for dinner, & neither David nor Steerforth knows where anybody is. Mrs. Gummidge comes in from the market, & explains that Mr. Peggotty is coming in with the changing tide. David & Steerforth walk off in the direction of Steerforth's hotel.Steerforth seems quite cheered up & wishes they didn't have to leave Yarmouth the next day as he likes the seafaring life.
David compliments Steerforth. Mr. Peggotty tells David that Steerforth is a great sailor. Steerforth replies that he is never contented, except that he still takes pleasure in David's fresh manners. Steerforth tells David that he has bought a boat at Yarmouth.David asks when Steerforth will ever have the chance to come back here.Steerforth answers that he has taken a liking to the place. David thinks that Steerforth has bought the boat to do Mr. Peggotty a kindness, since Mr. Peggotty can use it while he is away.
Steerforth blushes & says he doesn't want to talk about it.He tells David that Littimer, his servant, has come down to Yarmouth & will arrange for the boat to be properly outfitted after Steerforth leaves. Littimer has come down from London with a letter from Mrs. Steerforth which makes him go pale at the mention of her name.
David wonders if they have had a fight. Steerforth plans to call his new boat the "Little Em'ly." Steerforth notices that Ham & Emily are walking towards them. David looks at the couple & thinks how well-matched they are. Ham looks a bit rough, but he has become a skilled workman & he looks rugged, honest, & proud of Emily. Emily looks timid, shy, & won't walk arm in arm with Ham once she has seen David & Steerforth. A strange woman walks past David & Steerforth & follows Ham & Emily.
The woman seems to unnerve Steerforth. Littimer is there waiting & tells Steerforth that someone named Miss Mowcher is there. He is amazed--why is she there? Miss Mowcher is originally from Yarmouth & wants to see Steerforth after dinner so he tells Littimer to invite her.David is curious about who this woman could be. About half an hour later, Miss Mowcher comes in. She is a little person of about 40/45 years old, very fat & joking attitude.
Miss Mowcher mentions a couple of people she has seen, & implies that she has been doing makeup for someone named Lady Mithers. David is impressed with Miss Mowcher's cunning expression. David finds himself staring at her even though he knows he shouldn't. Miss Mowcher starts pulling out a bunch of makeup things (brushes, combs, sponges, bottles) out of her bag before she notices David. Steerforth introduces him, & Miss Mowcher pinches David's cheek. Miss Mowcher laughs at the formalities.
She pulls out some scraps that she claims are the fingernails of a Russian prince, to whom she gives manicures & pedicures every week. She also dyes his hair black from red. Miss Mowcher uses this example that the whole social system is just a matter of appearances & she's the one who helps people maintain them. Miss Mowcher gets up on the table near Steerforth & starts examining his hair.
She tells him he'd be bald in a year if it weren't for her potions. Miss Mowcher starts rubbing something into Steerforth's scalp. While Miss Mowcher is doing this, she starts telling Steerforth about Charley Pyegrave, a duke's son, who uses dye on his mustache. She also talks about the makeup she supplies to women to prove that appearances are all false. Steerforth addresses David, saying that they could show Miss Mowcher the real thing - a genuinely beautiful woman. He's talking about Emily.
David says sternly that Emily is engaged to a worthy man, & that he admires her good sense.Steerforth (somewhat oddly) goes into great detail with Miss Mowcher about where Emily is apprenticed & who she is marrying. Miss Mowcher listens attentively & then goes back to cutting Steerforth's hair. The woman then offers to cut David's hair, but he refuses. She even offers to outfit David with a fake mustache, but he says he's fine.
Miss Mowcher bustles out after Steerforth pays her. Steerforth laughs hysterically once she's out of the room & David joins him, though he's not sure if he really finds Miss Mowcher funny. David heads back to the Barkis home, where he is surprised to find Ham Peggotty outside. Little Emily is inside & Ham is waiting for her. Apparently, Emily is talking to a woman who she "doen't ought to know no more" in other words, a woman who Emily isn't supposed to talk to.
The woman is Martha Endell, who used to work at Mr. Omer's shop with Emily. She is also the shadowy woman who came up behind Ham & Emily as they were walking home. She's committed an unspecified crime - but probably sex before marriage.Ham tells David that Martha followed them that evening to plead with Emily for help. Emily knew that Mr. Peggotty wouldn't approve of Emily speaking with Martha, so Emily told Martha to meet her at Mr. Barkis's home.
Even though Ham doesn't approve of Emily acknowledging Martha either, he loves her, & accompanies her to this meeting. David shakes Ham's hand & they walk around outside waiting for the conversation to end.Peggotty beckons Ham & David to come inside. They find Martha sitting by the fire looking despairing--all 3 of the women seem to have been weeping. Emily tells Ham that Martha wants to go to London because she cannot bear to be in Yarmouth where everybody knows what she has done & she is surrounded by people who have known her since she was a child.
Ham gives Emily some money to pass to Martha & Emily starts weeping again because she is moved by his loyalty to her.Martha kisses Emily's hand, thanks her & then leaves.Emily begins to sob & Ham tries to comfort her. The pretty girl exclaims that she is not so good as she should be, & she should be more grateful. Ham assures her that he loves her, that he is happy at the sight of her, & just thinking of Emily makes him joyful.
Emily begs Ham, Peggotty, & David to help her, because she wants to be a better girl than she is. Peggotty hushes Emily & holds her as though she were a child. Emily slowly calms down & straightens her appearance so that Mr. Peggotty won't know she's been crying. As they walk out, David sees Emily kiss Ham on the cheek & lean against him as she has never done before.
Chapter 23 SummaryI Corroborate Mr. Dick and Choose a Profession
Having seen Emily's raw emotion after meeting with Martha Endell, David feels that he has witnessed something private. He doesn't even want to talk about her with Steerforth. David gets a letter from Miss Betsey asking what he wants to do next. After parting from all the Yarmouth Peggottys, Mr. Omer & his family, Steerforth & David leave Yarmouth. David tells Steerforth about his aunt's question: what should he do with his life?
Miss Betsey has suggested that David become a proctor. Steerforth says that he may as well become a proctor, but it'll be boring. David continues--his aunt got the idea when she went to visit her own proctor to get her will settled in David's favor. When Steerforth hears this, he encourages David to do as Miss Betsey wishes. David meets up with his aunt at an inn in London, where she is waiting with her servant Janet, to dine with David.
Miss Betsey has left Mr. Dick at home to watch the house, but she is sure that he won't be firm enough to keep the donkeys off her lawn. Miss Betsey refuses to eat very much at the inn because she feels that all London tradesmen are liars. After dinner, Janet helps Miss Betsey prepare for bed. Once she is all ready for a pre-sleep snack, Miss Betsey asks David what he thinks of the proctor plan.David thinks it's a great idea, but he's worried about how much it will cost to find him an apprenticeship with a proctor.
Miss Betsey tells him that it will be about a 1000 pounds. David worries that Miss Betsey has already spent a lot on his education - she shouldn't have to spend so much more on his apprenticeship. Miss Betsey brushes off his concerns: David has been a pleasure for Miss Betsey to raise from the moment he arrived on her doorstep. The only thing she asks of him is to be a loving child to her.
David is impressed by Miss Betsey's generosity & they agree to go to Doctors' Commons to find David a job.The next day, David & Miss Betsey head to the office of Spenlow & Jorkins. On the way, they stop to see several famous sights in London.Miss Betsey grows startled to see a man in poor clothing staring at her.She asks David what she should do.David is confused: he thinks the man is just a beggar.
Miss Betsey tells David to go on alone and then wait for her at St. Paul's Churchyard. Miss Betsey plans to meet with this man who has frightened her.David is taken aback that Miss Betsey has decided to meet with this fellow. He wonders if this beggar is the same man Mr. Dick described as terrifying Miss Betsey on their evening walks back in Dover.
After waiting for her for 1/2 hour at St. Paul's, Miss Betsey appears in front of David. Miss Betsey tells David never to ask about what just happened. David finds that Miss Betsey has spent all of her money during this mysterious outing he can never mention again.The 2 head into Doctors' Commons to meet with Mr. Spenlow. Mr. Spenlow welcomes David to his new profession, asks him delicately for the 1000 pounds David owes for learning the business, & confirming David's fears that he can earn no salary at this job.
Mr. Spenlow keeps pretending that he wants to be more generous with his clerks, but he can't be for fear of his partner, Mr. Jorkins. David discovers later that the terrifying Mr. Jorkins is, a mild-mannered man who mostly keeps out of Mr. Spenlow's way. Mr. Spenlow takes David around to meet the other lawyers & clerks at Doctors' Commons. After signing all the necessary documents, Miss Betsey takes David to a nearby neighborhood where she has found a room that seems appropriate for David.
David is delighted with the place - which is run by Mrs. Crupp - & can't wait to move in. He's feeling very grown-up. Miss Betsey tells David that he will become self-reliant as he sets out to a new life in London.With that, Miss Betsey heads back to Dover.
Chapter 24-SummaryMy First Dissipation
David is living on his own. It's kind of lonely - he doesn't have a tight relationship with Mrs. Crupp & he misses Agnes. David goes over to Highgate to Mrs. Steerforth's house, to see if Steerforth is around--he's not (he is with his Oxford friends.)Mrs. Steerforth asks David to dinner, & he is so pleased to have company again that he starts to fall for Miss Dartle a bit. The next day, Steerforth surprises David with a visit at Mrs. Crupp's. David is happy & invites Steerforth to dinner.
Steerforth can't: he's got plans with these 2 Oxford friends so David suggests that Steerforth bring them along.Steerforth agrees & David makes arrangements with Mrs. Crupp for dinner for 4. Once Steerforth & his 2 friends, Grainger & Markham, arrive, David's excited to have them but also a bit nervous - he feels very young & unprepared for a dinner party so Steerforth steps up & plays host. David gets very, drunk.
There's a lot of singing, laughter, smoking, & confusion. Someone suggests that they should go to the theater. Steerforth asks if David is all right, to which David replies, "Neverberrer". David is very drunk.At the theater, David is stumbling all around the audience & making noise. The other playgoers shush him, but he keeps making a scene. David spots Agnes sitting in a private box. She looks embarrassed & ashamed of David--tells him to be quiet & watch the play.
Agnes tells David that she is absolutely serious: David has to go away & tell his friends to take him home. David is annoyed that Agnes is being mean to him, he respects her enough that he does go away.Steerforth follows David & helps him into his house & into bed.The next morning, David wakes up completely embarrassed about what he did the night before.
David is haunted by the awful sense that he has done many shameful things without being able to remember them. He feels incredibly sick. When he sees Mrs. Crupp, he wants to confess to her that he feels very miserable, but Mrs. Crupp doesn't seem like the cozy sort of woman one confides in.
Chapter 25 SummaryGood and Bad Angels
David's recovered from his hangover the next day when a letter arrives from Agnes. Agnes makes no reference to the theater incident, but she tells David that she is in town staying with her friends the Waterbrooks, & she would like it if David came by. David feels so awkward & nervous that he writes & rewrites his reply to Agnes, but at last he agrees to pay her a call. When David first catches sight of Agnes, he gets so ashamed that he cries a little bit. He apologizes several times, & Agnes tells him to sit down & relax - he can trust her.
David calls Agnes his good angel. Agnes asks if she can warn David against his bad angel? David clarifies that Agnes means Steerforth.Agnes agrees: she is concerned about the influence that Steerforth has over David's character. David respects Agnes so much that, even though he admires Steerforth, he starts to wonder a little about him. David refuses to renounce Steerforth entirely.
David expects that Agnes will come to love Steerforth as David does.Agnes changes the subject: is David in love with anyone? David tells her about Miss Dartle, though he admits it's not serious. Agnes then asks if David has seen Uriah Heep. David hasn't. He's surprised that Uriah Heep is in London at all. Agnes informs David that Uriah is in London to arrange a business partnership with Agnes's father, Mr. Wickfield. David thinks that is awful.
Uriah has been expanding his influence over Mr. Wickfield. Things came to a head when Uriah threatened to leave Mr. Wickfield's service in favor of a better position. To keep Uriah on hand, since Mr. Wickfield feels so dependent on him, Mr. Wickfield offered Uriah a partnership. Mr. Wickfield is clearly ashamed of this new partnership with someone who doesn't deserve it.
Agnes tells David that she begged Mr. Wickfield to let Uriah leave his employment. She pleads with David to be friendly with Uriah, even though she knows it will be hard for him, because she doesn't want to anger Uriah in case he turns on Mr. Wickfield. Agnes's hostess, Mrs. Waterbrook, walks in. She was at the theater when David put on such a drunken spectacle. It takes some time for Mrs. Waterbrook to warm up to David. Eventually she does: Mrs. Waterbrook invites David to dinner the next day.
At the party are 2 relatives of the Waterbrooks (Mr. & Mrs. Henry Spiker), Uriah Heep, & Tommy Traddles--the amiable skeleton-artist from Salem House. David asks his host, Mr. Waterbrook, if that is Tommy Traddles; Mr. Waterbrook agrees that it is, and that Traddles is a good fellow.Traddles is apparently also reading for the bar. Mr. Waterbrook adds mysteriously that Traddles always seems to be standing in his own way, though he is very clever.
Mr. Waterbrook thinks Traddles will never be truly successful. David isn't seated near Traddles at dinner, so he can't catch up directly. The dinner conversation is also exceedingly boring: the Waterbrooks keep saying that the most important thing in a person is the fineness of their blood. Mr. Gulpidge & Mr. Spiker fall into a completely incomprehensible, self-important dialogue in which they call everyone involved by their initials because their names are too important to be spoken at a common dinner-party. David manages to get away & introduce Traddles to Agnes.
Traddles has to go away on a business trip, but they promise to catch up later. Uriah Heep keeps hovering near David.David remembers Agnes's plea to him to be nice to Uriah, so he invites Uriah over for coffee.Uriah comments on how odd it is that David is now serving him coffee - how Uriah's life has changed! He asks if David has heard of his new promotion.Uriah compliments David on his powers of prediction, since David himself asked Uriah once if he was going to be Mr. Wickfield's partner.
David is having a tough time hiding his loathing for Uriah. Uriah tells David that Mr. Wickfield has not been wise in his business dealings. Mr. Wickfield would've been ruined if it weren't for 'umble Uriah helping him out. Uriah then confesses to David that he has, for many years, been in love with Agnes. David is so filled with rage that, for a second, he thinks of running Uriah through with a hot poker. He asks if Uriah has told Agnes his feelings. Uriah expects that Agnes has noticed how useful he is being to her father & Uriah implies to David that he expects that Agnes will agree to marry him out of pity & concern for his power over her father.
Uriah comes out point blank to ask David to keep Uriah's feelings for Agnes a secret. Uriah's biding his time for a bit longer before he asks her to marry him. It's gotten late enough that Uriah can't go back to his hotel, which is already shut up for the night. David has no choice but to let him sleep on his sofa for the night.
Uriah curls up on David's couch- David tosses & turns the whole night trying to come up with schemes to save Agnes. David keeps thinking that he should just stab Uriah with the poker and have done. When he sees Uriah the next morning, he realizes that Uriah looks even worse in person than he does in memory.After Uriah leaves, David tells Mrs. Crupp to leave all of his windows open so that he can air out his rooms and clean them of Uriah.
Chapter 26 SummaryI Fall Into Captivity
David doesn't see Uriah again until the day that Agnes leaves London.He tries to be kind to Uriah, since Agnes is watching, but he's concerned that Agnes is going to do exactly what Uriah expects: marry him to save her father from ruin.David is sure that Agnes is unaware of Uriah's schemes. He is also sure that, if he were to tell her, she would become extremely unhappy & still wouldn't be able to do anything to change the situation. So, he decides not to tell her.
Once more, David is alone.Steerforth is at Oxford & while they are still exchanging friendly letters, his Agnes-born suspicion of the man makes David kind of glad that Steerforth's not around.David continues to be apprenticed to Spenlow & Jorkins. About a week after David starts work, Mr. Spenlow invites him over to dinner.Mr. Spenlow is a widower with one daughter, Dora Spenlow.David has heard that Mr. Spenlow's home is quite grand from the office clerk, Mr. Tiffey, so he's excited to go.
One evening, as Mr. Spenlow & David drive over to Mr. Spenlow's house, Mr. Spenlow informs David that being a proctor is the highest form of business any man can have. Proctors are a privileged class. Mr. Spenlow explains that nothing less than the entire fate of the nation of England rests on the proctors. David's not quite so sure that proctors are all that important, but he respects Mr. Spenlow too much to argue. They arrive at Mr. Spenlow's house. Dora Spenlow greets them, & David is taken with her--she looks like a fairy.David is truly shocked at Dora Spenlow's friend, Miss Murdstone.
Miss Murdstone acknowledges that David & she were acquainted when he was a child. But now, she would never have recognized him. Mr. Spenlow explains that, since Dora's mother has passed away, Miss Murdstone has been acting as a friend & surrogate mother for Dora. David is surprised to think of Miss Murdstone in any kind of motherly capacity, but he's too distracted by Dora to comment properly.
After dinner, Miss Murdstone calls David over for a word. Miss Murdstone tells David that she knows they both have opinions about one another, but she sees no reason why those opinions should come out now, when so much time has passed.David replies that he will always think that Miss & Mr. Murdstone were cruel to both him & to his mother, but that he agrees that they shouldn't bring it all back up now. He can barely remember the rest of the evening: it's all impressions of the lovely Dora.
David stays over at Mr. Spenlow's house & thinks of ways to woo Dora. He tries to make friends with her dog, Jip, but the dog snarls at him. As David is walking in the garden-- he runs into but Dora Spenlow. David blushes & stammers & can barely say a sensible word. Dora tells him that she has just come from Paris & that it is lovely.
Jip starts barking at David. Dora picks up the dog & pets him--David feels jealous. She asks if David is very close to Miss Murdstone. David says no. Dora doesn't feel like she needs protecting & can't understand why her father hired the boring Miss Murdstone. She wants to find her own friends to confide in. David is really excited at this news.Miss Murdstone eventually comes to find Dora & marches her inside to breakfast.
David accompanies Dora & Miss Murdstone to church, where David hears Dora sing. Mr. Spenlow & David head back into the city early Monday morning for work. David is extremely sorry to leave Dora & he can't focus on his case because he's thinking about her so much.Everywhere that David goes in London, he sees signs of Dora.David is disappointed that he doesn't get another invitation to Mr. Spenlow's house.
Mrs. Crupp surprises David by figuring out that he is in love.She tells David to cheer up--she can't stand to see him so blue, because she is a mother. Mrs. Crupp has figured out David's secret because he is so careful with his laundry - a sure sign that he's in love. The woman suggests that David do something to take his mind off of it-- she suggests "skittles," (lawn bowling). While David's offended that his landlady has started in on such personal matters with him, he does appreciate the warning that he's showing his feelings too much.
Chapter 27 SummaryTommy Traddles
David decides to catch up with his old school friend, Traddles. He finds Traddles's lodging house in a shabby little side street. The house actually reminds him a lot of the days he spent boarding with the Micawbers.Just as David arrives, he sees a milkman asking the servant girl at the house if anyone is going to pay his bill which reminds him of his days with the Micawbers. David approaches the door & asks the servant girl if someone named Traddles lives there.
Traddles welcomes David to his room. David notices that both Traddles's good nature & his bad luck have not changed: he is having serious money troubles. The 2 of them remind each other of the old days back with Mr. Creakle at Salem House. Traddles seems to have forgotten how brutal Mr. Creakle was to him. The uncle who raised Traddles died soon after Traddles left Salem House& he didn't leave Traddles any money in his will So, Traddles was left alone without much money or any professional training.
Luckily, a friend of his from school (named Yawler, who came to the school after David left) helped Traddles become a law clerk. Traddles has been trying to climb into the law business through working hard & making lots of connections (including with Mr. Waterbrook). David's old friend has managed to make enough money to take the bar exams, which is what he's studying for now. Traddles is really happy with his situation, because he's gotten engaged to a clergyman's daughter. Even though it'll be a long time before Traddles will be able to scrape together enough money to get married, he's still happy waiting to marry the girl he loves.
Traddles tells David that Mr. & Mrs. Micawber, his landlords, are great company. David is astonished at the news that he is going to reunite with the Micawbers again. David asks how Mr. Micawber is, & how his wife & children are doing.Mr. Micawber answers that they are fine, all the while not recognizing David. Finally, when he sees David smile, Mr. Micawber startles & exclaims that it is Copperfield!
Mr. Micawber calls down to Mrs. Micawber that they have a visitor she should see. Mr. Micawber asks after all the people he knew in Canterbury, where they last met. David can hear the sounds of Mrs. Micawber in the room next door, opening & shutting drawers: she's getting ready to receive guests. Mrs. Micawber comes in, looking a little sloppier than she used to but still making an effort for company. Mrs. Micawber faints at the sight of David. After reviving her with water from the well in the backyard, the Micawbers, David, & Traddles all chat for half an hour.
Mr. Micawber asks David to stay for dinner, but David can see that Mrs. Micawber is worried about how much food they have on hand, so he refuses. David invites Traddles & the Micawbers to come & eat with him at his house. As David is leaving, Mr. Micawber pulls him aside. He explains that it is delightful to have someone as smart & pleasant around the house as Traddles, because otherwise, the neighborhood is disappointing.
Mr. Micawber is currently involved in the corn trade, which (as usual) is not making him much money.David's old landlord is hoping that something will turn up soon because Mrs. Micawber is, in fact, pregnant (or, as Mr. Micawber puts it, "an addition may be ultimately made [...] in short, to the infantine group"
Chapter 28 SummaryMr. Micawber's Gauntlet
David spends most of his time before his dinner party not eating & making himself sick with love for Dora. Mrs. Crupp cooks up food for the dinner party, but only on condition that he'll eat out every night for the next 2 weeks. Mr. & Mrs. Micawber & Traddles all arrive together at the arranged time. Mr. Micawber says that David's house looks great - it's like the place Mr. Micawber lived before he got married. They sit around together & drink punch, but the food is awful. Mr. Micawber suggests that they all pile into the kitchen & cook up the rest of the meal themselves.
Everyone's happy, & David finally wants to eat for the first time since falling in love with Dora. Littimer, Steerforth's servant, turns up & asks David if Steerforth is around; David has no idea where Steerforth is & assumes that he must still be up at Oxford. Littimer takes over the cooking, but he seems so serious that the group quiets down a lot. David asks Littimer to join them in eating; Littimer refuses.
As Littimer heads out the door, David asks him how long he was at Yarmouth. Is Steerforth's boat finished? Littimer says the boat is finished, but he won't give David any further information on Steerforth.Everyone seems relieved once Littimer leaves. Mr. Micawber launches into "Auld Lang Syne". Traddles has no idea how Mr. Micawber & David came to be friends.Mrs. Micawber then lays out Mr. Micawber's disastrous money problems: Mr. Micawber is making no money on corn; before, he also made no money on coal.
She thinks that Mr. Micawber should be a brewer. Mr. Micawber may have the manners of a banker, but since no one has hired Mr. Micawber to work in a bank, that's not much use. Mrs. Micawber feels that the only way Mr. Micawber is going to be able to "throw down the gauntlet to society" - to provoke society into helping him - is by advertising in the newspapers for a job. David points out that ads are expensive. Mrs. Micawber insists that it is necessary.David is most impressed by her resolve.
Mrs. Micawber goes to lie down in David's bedroom. David & Traddles congratulate Mr. Micawber on having such an amazing wife. They all drink toasts to one another & everyone is very happy. Mr. Micawber tells the company that, once he has gotten this new job, he wants to move. But there will always be a room for Traddles & a place set at the table for David. Mrs. Micawber decides to come in & make tea. They all continue to make merry, & to tease David over his new sweetheart-- he will only say that her name starts with "D" As the Micawbers & Traddles walk out the door, David pulls Traddles aside quickly.
David tells Traddles that Mr. Micawber means well, but Traddles still shouldn't lend him anything. Traddles says he hasn't got anything to lend.David points out that he could lend his name (presumably as a co-signer for a loan that Mr. Micawber will never be able to pay). Traddles tells David that he already has signed something for Mr. Micawber - not the loan Mr. Micawber was discussing for the newspaper ads, but another one. David hopes that nothing will go wrong with it.
Traddles says something ominous: he tells David he thinks nothing can be wrong, because Mr. Micawber told him just the other day that the loan was "provided for". But Mr. Micawber always thinks all of his debts will soon be "provided for." David repeats his warning to Traddles quickly.Traddles thanks David, and they all head out. David hears footsteps on the staircase, which he recognizes as Steerforth's. Even though he remembers Agnes's warning, David is very pleased,. Her suspicions about Steerforth don't seem serious when David can see the man himself before his own eyes. Steerforth sees signs that David has been having another party.
Steerforth has just walked past David's 3 guests on the street.David informs Steerforth that one of those 3 was his old school friend, Traddles.Steerforth asks where on earth David found him. Completely uninterested in Traddles, Steerforth asks for something to eat. He's just come from Yarmouth, where he's been doing some sailing. David tells him that Littimer was just here asking about Steerforth.Steerforth seems a little annoyed with his servant for some reason.
David asks if little Emily has gotten married. Steerforth says he hasn't seen much of that group and doesn't know exactly. He delivers a letter from Peggotty to David. Mr. Barkis is very sick & not likely to live much longer. David turns to Steerforth & tells him that he plans to go down to visit Peggotty. Since Steerforth has just come from Yarmouth, he doesn't want to go there again so soon.Steerforth plans to go visit his mother in Highgate. Steerforth asks David to wait a day on his trip to Yarmouth. He invites David to visit Highgate the next night instead. David agrees, & they part for the evening.
As David's getting ready for bed, a letter that Mr. Micawber handed over to David at the dinner party falls on the floor.David opens the letter, & it's the usual awfulness: Mr. Micawber is crushed. He has no hope.Unfortunately, all of his things have been assessed by a repo man - all of Mr. Micawber's things & all of Tommy Traddles's possessions, too. Yes, in other words, Traddles's stuff is about to get repossessed because Mr. Micawber hasn't paid his debts.
David is really worried: Mr. Micawber is a flexible guy and bounces back from these disasters, but how will Traddles cope?It's going to be that much harder for Traddles to marry his fiancée, the curate's daughter.
Chapter 29 SummaryI Visit Steerforth at His Home, Again
David asks Mr. Spenlow for some time off. Mrs. Steerforth & Miss Dartle welcome David to their home in Highgate. David notices that Miss Dartle seems to be watching him & Steerforth very closely, as though comparing their faces. Every time David starts to talk to Steerforth, he notices that Miss Dartle is nearby.Finally, Steerforth, his mother, Miss Dartle, & David all go for a walk.Miss Dartle grabs David's arm & pulls him back a bit. She asks about David's job, which David agrees is a bit boring sometimes.
Miss Dartle seems to be hinting at something that David doesn't get at all. She asks David (in her usual odd, roundabout way) if Steerforth has been away from home so much because he has been spending time with David.David says that he hasn't seen much of Steerforth at all. Miss Dartle asks David what on earth Steerforth is doing, then? David replies that he knows nothing at all. Miss Dartle makes him promise not to tell anyone they've had this conversation.
David observes that Mrs. Steerforth seems particularly happy with her son; David thinks that the 2 seem very much alike. At dinner, Miss Dartle wants to ask a question.Mrs. Steerforth pleads with her not to take too much time about it, but to be direct, as she used to be. Miss Dartle wonders that she could every have been different than she is now - what can have caused the change?Perhaps she should study Steerforth's manner to learn how to be more frank, Miss Dartle suggests. Mrs. Steerforth agrees. Miss Dartle then asks if 2 people who are very like one another get into an argument, if it's all the harder for them to make up afterwards?
Let's just say that Steerforth & Mrs. Steerforth got into an argument. What would happen?The Steerforths dismiss the possibility. David also notices that Steerforth is going out of his way to charm Miss Dartle.Miss Dartle resists as much as she can, but eventually, even she starts to soften. Steerforth asks Miss Dartle to sing an Irish song, just as she used to. Steerforth puts his arm around
Miss Dartle & tells her that they should love each other forever.Miss Dartle hits Steerforth & runs out of the room. Mrs. Steerforth comes in & asks what's happened to Miss Dartle. Steerforth explains that she was being an angel, so she had to become a devil to make up for it.Mrs. Steerforth warns him not to try Miss Dartle's temper too much.Later that night, when David says good night to Steerforth, Steerforth laughs over Miss Dartle's fierceness. He tells David that Miss Dartle is always dangerous.
Steerforth gets a bit sentimental, & tells David that, if anything should happen between them, David should always think of Steerforth at his best. David says that he loves Steerforth in all of his moods.David almost confesses Agnes's suspicions about Steerforth's character, but he can't figure out how. Instead, the next morning, David leaves for Yarmouth before the household wakes up.
Chapter 30 SummaryA Loss
David arrives at Yarmouth & goes to an inn, not wanting to disturb Peggotty at this difficult time. He does find Mr. Omer in his shop.David asks Mr. Omer if he knows how Mr. Barkis is. Mr. Omer replies that he doesn't know because he can't ask: it's rude for an undertaker to inquire about the health of a potential client.David comments that this seems painful, since Mr. Omer has known Mr. Barkis for 40 years. The best Mr. Omer can do is to ask little Emily how Mr. Barkis is doing. That's what Minnie & Joram the carpenter are doing right now.
David asks how little Emily is.Mr. Omer tells David that he'll be glad when Emily is safely married - right now, she seems unsettled & in low spirits.Ham Peggotty has already furnished the house they're going to be living in, but the marriage has been postponed because of Mr. Barkis's illness.The longer Mr. Barkis stays ill, without either dying or getting better, the more opportunity little Emily has to doubt her choices.
Little Emily is clinging closer & closer to Mr. Peggotty, as though she is afraid of what she might do if she lets him go. David asks if Mr. Omer has heard anything about Martha Endell. Mr. Omer says it's a sad story, since he thinks Martha didn't mean to do any harm. Minnie comes home with Mr. Joram. They tell Mr. Omer & David that Mr. Barkis is unconscious, & that he seems near death. Mr. Chillip the doctor is there, but he has given up on Mr. Barkis's life.
David decides to go over to Mr. Barkis's house. Mr. Peggotty, Ham Peggotty, & little Emily are sitting in the house. Little Emily is covering her face with her hands. She embraces her uncle.Mr. Peggotty claims that Emily is so upset because she has such a tender heart, & because she is too young to be used to trouble & sorrow. Mr. Peggotty comforts her: Ham Peggotty is about to take her home.
Emily whispers to Mr. Peggotty that she wants to stay with him. Mr. Peggotty protests that she should go with her soon-to-be-husband, though he does appreciate how fond she is of her uncle. Ham eventually agrees. As Ham heads out the door, he goes to kiss Emily. David notices that it looks as though Emily is pushing closer to her uncle & away from Ham. Emily is so upset because she is afraid of death, David assumes.Peggotty comes downstairs to hug David & bring him to see Mr. Barkis.
She believes that, if Mr. Barkis wakes up, he'll be really happy to see David. David knows that Mr. Barkis probably won't wake up-he looks unconscious.Peggotty leans over & tells Mr. Barkis that David has arrived.Mr. Peggotty predicts that Mr. Barkis will go "out with the tide". Apparently, people living on the coast always die when the tide goes out.
David & Mr. Peggotty sit & watch by Mr. Barkis's bedside. Mr. Barkis begins to mutter, his mind wandering. Peggotty sees that he's coming awake. Mr. Barkis tells Peggotty that she is the best woman anywhere. Peggotty gestures to David & tells Mr. Barkis that David has come. Mr. Barkis repeats to David his old message; "Barkis is willin'!" .And with that, Mr. Barkis dies.
Chapter 31 SummaryA Greater Loss
David decides to stay in Peggotty's house until Mr. Omer comes to pick up Mr. Barkis's body. Peggotty asks David to take care of Mr. Barkis's will.They open the chest Mr. Barkis kept hidden under his bed. They find a huge amount of money: 3,000 pounds. Mr. Barkis leaves some of the money as a trust fund for Mr. Peggotty, which will be divided between Peggotty, little Emily, & David once Mr. Peggotty dies. The rest, he leaves to Peggotty.
David spends the week before Mr. Barkis's funeral sorting out his possessions. He finds out that little Emily is supposed to be married 2 weeks from now.David attends the funeral along with Mr. Chillip & Mr. Omer. No one else is there, & the churchyard is very quiet.Peggotty plans to travel with David to London the next day to settle the final legal matters of the will. Little Emily is supposed to be spending the day at Mr. Omer's shop.
Ham is supposed to bring her from Mr. Omer's shop to the old boat house where Peggotty, David, & Mr. Peggotty would meet them for the evening. David walks towards Yarmouth & eats at an inn there.He strolls towards Mr. Peggotty's house, where the lights are on inside.David finds Mr. Peggotty at home smoking his pipe. Dinner has been laid out. Peggotty is sitting waiting & doing needlework. Mr. Peggotty comments that Peggotty has done right by Mr. Barkis, & Mr. Barkis has done right by her. Mrs. Gummidge groans at this.
Mr. Peggotty tells Mrs. Gummidge to cheer up. If she cheered up a bit, she might find that she likes to be cheery.Mrs. Gummidge replies that being cheerful doesn't come naturally to her, since she is so lonesome. Mr. Peggotty places a lamp in the window to signal to little Emily that he's home & waiting for her. Peggotty thinks Mr. Peggotty's a bit babyish for doing this, but she seems fond of him for it. Mr. Peggotty really dotes on Emily.When Ham arrives, he is alone. Ham asks David to come outside to see what he & Emily have to show David.
David comes outside to find Ham terribly pale. Once Ham has closed the door behind them, he starts to cry. Ham tells David that Emily has run away, that she has gone to ruin and disgrace. He begs David to tell him how to break the news to Mr. Peggotty. But just then, even though David tries to hold the door shut, Mr. Peggotty comes out.Mr. Peggotty bites his lip so badly that it bleeds.The boatman asks David to read aloud the letter that Emily left for Ham.The letter says that, by the time they read this, Emily will be far away.She says that she won't come back unless "he" brings her back a lady.Emily thanks all of them, but especially her uncle, who has been so kind.
If she never comes back, Emily asks them to remember her as a child, as though she had died then & been buried. Mr. Peggotty thanks David for reading the letter & stands unmoving. Mr. Peggotty asks who the man might be. Mr. Peggotty wants to know his name. Ham looks at David, & suddenly David sits down from shock. Ham tells Mr. Peggotty that, for some time now, there has been a gentleman and a servant around Yarmouth.
The night before, this servant was seen talking to little Emily. Ham begs David not to say the name, but David feels struck dumb, as though he can't move. Mr. Peggotty guesses it anyway: it's Steerforth. Ham tells David that he knows it's not David's fault, but that Steerforth is a "damned villain" . Mr. Peggotty takes his coat down from its peg on the wall. He's going to look for Emily, but first, he's going to sink Steerforth's boat. Mr. Peggotty is going to search for Emily throughout the world & bring her back to Yarmouth.
Mrs. Gummidge starts up unexpectedly & tells him not to go out like that: she begs him to sit down & remember with her what it was like when he first adopted Ham & Emily & brought Mrs. Gummidge, the young widow, into his home. She tells him to soften his heart for a time before he goes searching for Emily.Mr. Peggotty sits down & starts to cry, & David follows suit.
Chapter 32 SummaryThe Beginning of a Long Journey
David finds himself thinking of Steerforth as a beloved friend who has now died - he can't imagine that he'll ever see Steerforth again. The entire town has heard about the Peggottys' misfortune, & they treat the family gently. The next morning, David comes to the boat house & finds Mr. Peggotty with Ham & Peggotty. He goes for a walk with Mr. Peggotty & Ham.
Mr. Peggotty tells David that he plans to leave Yarmouth. He wants to travel with David to London the next day.Ham will continue working as a fisherman. He'll live with Peggotty in Mr. Barkis's old house. Mr. Peggotty plans to leave the boat house exactly as it was when Emily left, so she'll have a place to go if she ever comes back. Mrs. Gummidge will take care of the house while Mr. Peggotty is away looking for Emily.
David asks Ham what he wants to do now, & Ham can't answer: he feels totally at sea & lost right now. Mrs. Gummidge is making breakfast for them when they get back to the boat house. She looks after them kindly, & promises that she will write to Mr. Peggotty regularly to let him know how things are going at the boat house. David is impressed with Mrs. Gummidge: she spends the whole day running useful errands without ever complaining as she used to do.David goes out in the late evening for a walk & returns to Mr. Omer's shop.Mr. Omer is so upset that he has gone to bed early.
Minnie is still up, & she speaks to David. She exclaims that Emily is a lying, bad-hearted girl. David protests. Minnie starts to cry, & asks what on earth Emily will do next? How can she have done this to herself & to Ham? Minnie is so unhappy that her husband comes in to take care of her.David returns to Peggotty's house. Peggotty, is staying at Mr. Peggotty's house to help him.
David is sitting up late at night when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door to see: Miss Mowcher, the hairdresser.She looks incredibly upset. David asks her what the matter is, & invites her inside. She tells David that she feels quite ill when she thinks that she could have prevented what has happened if she had been less foolish.David seems surprised that Miss Mowcher has such strong feelings about this whole disaster.Miss Mowcher is annoyed that David assumes that, because she is a little person, she doesn't have regular human feelings.David apologizes.
Miss Mowcher continues--people expect her to be foolish so she does because she has to make a living! If Miss Mowcher had been serious & confiding to Steerforth, he would never have listened to her. The little lady tells David that she saw him walking through the street & decided to come pay him a visit.Miss Mowcher knows of Emily from Omer & Joram.
The hair dresser scolds David for having looked so fond of little Emily during his previous meeting with Miss Mowcher--she thought that it was David who was courting Emily, not Steerforth. Littimer encouraged Miss Mowcher's mistake by telling her that Steerforth had only come down to Yarmouth with David to keep an eye on David's budding romance with Emily. Littimer told Miss Mowcher that Steerforth was there to keep David & Emily from going too far.
Miss Mowcher realizes that Littimer deliberately deceived her. She thought it was David who was pursuing Emily that Miss Mowcher agreed to give Emily a letter from Littimer.She now thinks that that letter was probably the first method Steerforth used to bring Emily in contact with Littimer, & then with Steerforth. Miss Mowcher became suspicious when she was visiting the nearby town of Norwich, where she saw little Emily, Steerforth, & Littimer, but no David.
She came to Yarmouth to try & stop the plot, but it's already too late & Emily has disappeared. Miss Mowcher asks if David trusts her. He doesn't.Miss Mowcher tells him that he would trust her if she were a full-sized woman. David is embarrassed to admit that might be true. The little hairdresser advises David not to judge people by how they look.Miss Mowcher gets up to go, but she says she'll be in touch: she promises that, if she ever hears word of little Emily on her travels, she'll let David know.
She gives David a piece of advice--she recommends that, if David ever sees her behaving as she did when David first met her, to see who she's with. That may explain why she's having to defend herself by appearing foolish. David feels completely differently about Miss Mowcher now. The next morning, Mr. Peggotty & Peggotty arrive to meet David for the coach to London. Ham Peggotty & Mrs. Gummidge come to say goodbye.
Ham pulls David aside & tells him to look after Mr. Peggotty. Ham says if Mr. Peggotty needs money, Ham will send some. They part, & David remembers that moment with great sorrow: Ham is convinced that he will be alone for the rest of his life.Mrs. Gummidge also seems deeply moved & tearful as she runs after the coach saying goodbye to Mr. Peggotty. They arrive in London & David manages to find a place for the Peggottys to stay, in a room 2 streets over from his own. He brings the Peggottys up to his boarding house to eat.
Mrs. Crupp is annoyed because Peggotty dusts David's room for him, as though Mrs. Crupp weren't taking good enough care of the place. Mr. Peggotty wants to see Mrs. Steerforth.David writes to Mrs. Steerforth, letting her know what Steerforth has done.They arrive at Mrs. Steerforth's house in Highgate, where they also find Miss Rosa Dartle. Mrs. Steerforth looks pale & shaken--she clearly knows what Steerforth has done.
Steerforth's mother asks Mr. Peggotty what he wants from her. Mr. Peggotty holds out Emily's letter to Mrs. Steerforth, who reads it without emotion. He asks whether Steerforth will marry Emily. Mrs. Steerforth says no: Emily is uneducated & ignorant-her family is too low to be connected to the Steerforths. Mr. Peggotty promises Mrs. Steerforth that, if Steerforth were to save Emily from disgrace, none of her family would ever come & bother the Steerforths.Mrs. Steerforth seems touched, but she repeats that Steerforth can never marry Emily: it would ruin his career.
Steerforth's mother offers Mr. Peggotty money to make up for the loss he has suffered. Mr. Peggotty tells her that it's the worst thing he's ever heard, offering money to repay the life of his disgraced child. Mrs. Steerforth flushes with anger: she asks how Mr. Peggotty can talk to her that way, when now there is a huge gap between Mrs. Steerforth & her son?
She claims that Mr. Peggotty's loss is nothing compared to hers, now that Steerforth has chosen a young girl over his own mother. Miss Dartle keeps trying to soothe Mrs. Steerforth, but she stays furious.When Mrs. Steerforth talks this way, David sees the resemblance between her & her son very clearly: the same strong, misdirected will. Mr. Peggotty says that he has no more to say, & leaves. As they are walking out the house, Miss Dartle walks up & addresses David.
She scolds him for bringing Mr. Peggotty here. Miss Dartle looks furious. She tells David that she knows that James Steerforth is a liar & a betrayer, but she doesn't give a damn about Mr. Peggotty or "his common niece". Miss Dartle calls the Peggotty's depraved & worthless--she claims that she would have had Emily whipped.Mr. Peggotty walks out the door. David tells Miss Dartle she ought to be ashamed of herself.
Miss Dartle is filled with rage & passion--she detests Emily & wishes her the worst. David walks out the door after Mr. Peggotty. Mr. Peggotty plans to leave that evening to look for little Emily. David, Peggotty, & Mr. Peggotty all eat together that evening, & Peggotty hands Mr. Peggotty some money. Then, Mr. Peggotty walks out into the night.
Chapter 33 SummaryBlissful
David has been loving Dora from afar. As soon as he comes back to London, he walks over to her house so that he can walk around it, thinking of her. David tells Peggotty about his love for Dora. She has no idea why David should feel that he has no chance with her - Dora should feel lucky to have David. He takes Peggotty to his law offices & has the will approved--He also brings Peggotty to Mr. Spenlow to pay her bill. While they are waiting for Mr. Spenlow to return to the office, which he does shortly - accompanied by Mr. Murdstone.
Mr. Spenlow says, "You know this gentleman, I believe?".David nods, & Peggotty barely acknowledges Mr. Murdstone.Mr. Murdstone doesn't look too pleased to see them, but he asks how David is doing.David answers passive aggressively: not that you really care, but yes, I'm doing fine.Mr. Murdstone turns to Peggotty & gives her condolences for losing her husband. Peggotty replies that at least she has the comfort of knowing that she never nagged anyone to death.
Mr. Murdstone looks over to David & tells him that he's sure he'll be happy to know they'll probably never meet again. David's stepfather claims that he was right to treat David strictly, & that David's hatred of Mr. Murdstone is what made Mrs. Copperfield's final years so unhappy. They've been conducting this conversation out of earshot of Mr. Spenlow, but suddenly Mr. Murdstone raises his voice.Mr. Murdstone addresses Mr. Spenlow, saying that family issues are always difficult. Mr. Murdstone then pays his bill and walks out of the office.
Both David & Peggotty have trouble keeping themselves from yelling at Mr. Murdstone.David is relieved to find that Mr. Spenlow doesn't seem to know the connection between Mr. Murdstone & David. Mr. Spenlow seems to think that Miss Betsey is the leader of David's family & that Mr. Murdstone is some kind of "rebel" from her authority.
He congratulates David for being on the side with the most money, (Miss Betsey's side.) Mr. Spenlow comments that he has heard that this marriage will be a good one. David has no idea what Mr. Spenlow is talking about.David asks if the lady Mr. Murdstone is planning to marry is young. She's only just come of age. Peggotty exclaims, "Lord deliver her!". The clerk, Mr. Tiffey, comes in with Peggotty's bill and she pays it and leaves; David stays on to do a bit of work.
The divorce case they're working on gives David some moral problems, but he's too shy to argue too much with Dora's father (Mr. Spenlow) on the matter. David has some specific suggestions about how the practice of law could be improved: he thinks that the facilities for storing documents all seem really insecure & vulnerable. Mr. Spenlow shrugs off this objection.
David notes that, 18 years ago, this problem came before Parliament, but no one has done anything about it.It is in the middle of this discussion that Mr. Spenlow invites David to join him & Dora for a picnic on Dora's birthday. David starts preparing for the picnic, buying new clothes & making preparations.He arrives & finds Dora sitting with a friend of hers, Miss Mills. Dora is also accompanied by her dog, Jip.David gives Dora a bouquet of flowers, which Jip starts eating.
Dora tells David to be glad because Miss Murdstone isn't there: she's gone to her brother's wedding. Mr. Spenlow comes out of the house, and the 4 friends - Mr. Spenlow, David, Dora, & Miss Mills - all get into a carriage. David is happy throughout the whole trip. They arrive at their destination. David is disappointed to find other people waiting for them, including a man just a few years older than David with a big red mustache, who David calls Red Whisker.
David is jealous of Red Whisker, & is sure that they are rivals for Dora's affection. He spends some time sitting around feeling tragic. Miss Mills & Dora find David. David kisses Dora's hand & then kisses Miss Mill's hand. David & Dora walk through the trees arm in arm & feels as though he has gone to heaven. Soon, they have to rejoin the crowd, but David still feels too happy to believe it all.Eventually, the party ends & everyone goes their separate ways, including Red Whisker - but David gets to go home with the Spenlows & Miss Mills.
As David is preparing to climb into the carriage, Miss Mills pulls him aside. She tells David that Dora is coming to visit Miss Mills in 2 days, & that she is sure that her father would be happy to host David. He is thrilled & thanks Miss Mills. They return to London & David rides home. David finds Miss Mill's house. Mr. Mills is out, but Dora and Miss Mills are in.
Miss Mills chats with David & leaves the room. Dora & David talk about how tired his horse is. Dora reproaches David for being chummy with Miss Kitt (a girl he mentions dressed in pink) at the picnic the other day. David embraces Dora & tells her how much he loves her.Jip barks throughout the whole proposal. David & Dora are engaged.Miss Mills comes back in & gives them her blessing. David commissions a wedding ring in blue stones shaped like forget-me-nots.Dora & David have quarrels, but Miss Mills helps them to patch it up.David looks back on this time with joy.
Chapter 34 SummaryMy Aunt Astonishes Me
David writes to Agnes telling her about his love for Dora & about little Emily's flight from Yarmouth. Also Tommy Traddles had come by a couple times so he & Peggotty have become friends. While Peggotty is staying with David, Mrs. Crupp refuses to do any of the housework because she can't stand Peggotty.Traddles comes by & greets David warmly. He has heard of David's engagement, & reminds David of Traddles's own fiancée, the curate's daughter who is one of 10 children.
David sympathizes with Traddles because he gets to see his fiancée Sophy rarely because she spends all of her time looking after the other 9 children because her mother has become bedridden. David is impressed by the great care that Sophy takes of her family.He asks how Mr. Micawber is doing, but Traddles is no longer living with him. Mr. Micawber has changed his name to Mortimer.
Traddles has also found a number of his household possessions, including the furniture he bought for his new house with Sophy, at the pawn shop.Traddles wants to ask Peggotty to go in & negotiate the price for these items, since he's worried that the pawnshop owner is cheating him.David is sure that Peggotty will be happy to help, as long as Traddles promises never to sign a loan with Mr. Micawber again. Traddles confesses that he has already done so, but he's sure that Mr. Micawber will come through this time.
David doesn't want to lower Traddles's spirits, so he doesn't criticize. David, Traddles, & Peggotty go to the pawnshop.David & Traddles wait around the corner while Peggotty buys back his things. As they get back to David's apartment, they are surprised to find his front door open--Miss Betsey & Mr. Dick are waiting inside. David hugs Miss Betsey & shakes Mr. Dick's hand.
David's aunt greets Peggotty, who is looking very shy. Miss Betsey refuses to call Peggotty by "Peggotty," since it sounds ugly: she prefers Barkis.David's aunt asks David for a cup of tea, & sends Mrs. Crupp out of the room. Mrs. Crupp is trying to impress Miss Betsey because she knows Miss Betsey has money. David notices that Miss Betsey is looking rather uncertainly at him, & he's worried that she's somehow heard of his engagement & doesn't approve.
Miss Betsey asks if David has learned to be self-reliant & firm. David replies that he thinks he has. Miss Betsey answers that the luggage that she has brought with her is all that she has left in the world: Miss Betsey is ruined. David is shocked. Miss Betsey informs him that she still has her cottage, which she has asked Janet to rent out for her.
David's aunt wants to stay at David's just for tonight, & then they'll think of something in the morning.Miss Betsey suddenly hugs David & cries that she only worries for his sake. She collects herself & calms down: Miss Betsey resolves not to be frightened.
Chapter 35 SummaryDepression
David suggests that Mr. Dick could stay in the same place where Mr. Peggotty slept during his stay in London. Mr. Dick tells David that he has no idea how Miss Betsey came to lose all her money. David is so frustrated that he takes it out on Mr. Dick, & explains that no money means starvation for Miss Betsey & Mr. Dick. David tells Mr. Dick that the best thing they can do is to stay cheerful & not add to Miss Betsey's troubles. Mr. Dick tries, but he keeps staring at Miss Betsey as though he is going to see her waste away to nothing right before his eyes.
Miss Betsey behaves with a calmness that really impresses David. David's aunt asks for ale instead of her usual glass of wine before bed. Peggotty walks Mr. Dick back to the shop where he is staying. David brings back some ale for Miss Betsey & tells David that she has really come to like Peggotty. David's aunt starts to tear up, & informs David that Peggotty has offered her money, as though Peggotty has so much of it in the first place.
While David was out getting ale, Miss Betsey & Peggotty were gossiping.Peggotty has told Miss Betsey all about little Emily, & Miss Betsey comments on her foolishness. David tells Miss Betsey that he has fallen in love with Dora. Miss Betsey asks all about her: is she silly? Is she light-headed? David has never thought of these questions before. He answers that he is sure that he & Dora could never love anybody else. Miss Betsey shakes her head & comments that David reminds her of his mother.David needs someone who is faithful & serious in his life.
He promises that Dora is earnest, but Miss Betsey just shakes her head & tells him he is blind. Miss Betsey says they should hope for better fortunes so that David can get married, if he really wants to. David's aunt goes to bed & he takes the sofa.He lies there worrying about what will happen when he tells Dora about his poor fortune.The night feels ages long as David worries & has bad dreams--Miss Betsey paces
The next morning, David walks to the office early to speak to Mr. Spenlow.David explains that he has had bad news from his aunt - that she is ruined - & wants to cancel his apprenticeship. Mr. Spenlow says that it's neither common nor professional to cancel such a thing.David's boss claims that it's just Mr. Jorkins who would object; if it were up to Mr. Spenlow, he'd let David go. He asks if he can approach Mr. Jorkins directly.Mr. Spenlow warns David that it will be useless.
David heads out to meet Mr. Jorkins. Mr. Jorkins hears David's story & expresses sympathy, but he says that, if Mr. Spenlow objects, well, there's nothing he can do about it. David tells Mr. Jorkins that Mr. Spenlow doesn't object personally.Mr. Jorkins says it's impossible, & he has an appointment at his bank. The man runs out the door & hides from the office for 3 days. David then begs Mr. Spenlow to use his influence to persuade Mr. Jorkins.
Mr. Spenlow promises David that nothing will change Mr. Jorkins's mind. David is confused: which of the 2 men, Spenlow or Jorkins, are really objecting to his request? David goes home: there's no way he's going to get his aunt's money back. As he's walking home, David sees someone passing by in a carriage: it's Agnes!David tells Agnes that she is the person he most wants to talk to in all the world. Agnes is on her way to see Miss Betsey at David's rooms. Miss Betsey left the Wickfields a very short & unclear note stating that she has been ruined, but that no one needs to worry about her because she'll be fine.
Mr. Wickfield & Uriah Heep had business in London, & Agnes hitched a ride to check on Miss Betsey. Mr. Wickfield & Uriah Heep have become partners.Uriah Heep & his mother have moved in to Mr. Wickfield's house. Uriah Heep has David's old room. Agnes fondly remembers the old days when David lived with them. She hates that she can't stick as close to her father as she wants: Agnes worries that Uriah Heep is plotting some kind of betrayal of Mr. Wickfield.
Agnes asks if David knows what has happened to Miss Betsey's money.They walk in to David's rooms to find Miss Betsey alone. She has been arguing with Mrs. Crupp, who would like Miss Betsey to leave. Mr. Dick is out with Peggotty looking at the sights of London. David explains that he tried to cancel his work with Spenlow & Jorkins, but was refused.Miss Betsey says that was kind of him, but stupid. She then presents her own personal history. What has happened is this: Miss Betsey has had a number of secure investments that netted her a lot of money. Her business manager (Agnes's father, Mr. Wickfield) hasn't been doing as well with her money as he used to.
Miss Betsey got fed up investing through Mr. Wickfield, & decided to try various markets herself. Miss Betsey has lost all of her money. Agnes seems oddly relieved to hear this news.David realizes that she had been worrying that Mr. Wickfield had ruined Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey turns to Agnes & David and asks what she should do. She can count on about 70 pounds a year in rent money from the cottage
Miss Betsey is worried that David will join the army & get himself killed.Agnes asks if David has signed a lease for his apartment? Miss Betsey agrees that she has enough cash to pay the rent for the term of his lease 6 months. Miss Betsey decides that she will stay with David & they will rent a room for Mr. Dick nearby.Agnes suggests that, if David has time, he might take on the job of secretary to Dr. Strong. David is delighted at this news & thanks Agnes for being so helpful.
Miss Betsey, Peggotty, & Agnes set to work rearranging & tidying David's rooms, Mr. Wickfield & Uriah Heep arrive.David is absolutely horrified at the change between the 2 men: Mr. Wickfield now seems totally dependent, on Uriah Heep.Miss Betsey compliments Agnes's good sense to Mr. Wickfield. She adds that Agnes is worth more than his whole firm.
Uriah Heep chimes in that he'd be happy to see Agnes become a partner. Miss Betsey shuts him down: she tells Uriah that he's already become a partner himself, & that should be enough for him. Uriah Heep tells David that he's happy to see David even under such awful circumstances. David is sure that Uriah is happy to see David brought low like this. Miss Betsey scolds Uriah Heep for jerking around & waving his arms like an eel.
In a dull, forced-sounding voice, Mr. Wickfield claims that anything Uriah Heep says, Mr. Wickfield agrees with. David is sure that Uriah Heep has made Mr. Wickfield say this to impress David. Uriah Heep heads out, & Mr. Wickfield & Agnes stay for a chat. Mr. Wickfield brightens up without Uriah Heep's presence.
Agnes & David go out to dinner, along with Mr. Wickfield--it really is like old times.David is so moved by Agnes's goodness & kindness that his heart feels stronger for her presence.
Chapter 36 SummaryEnthusiasm
David wants to repay Miss Betsey for all of her kindness to him in earlier days & he's going to make enough money to marry Dora. David travels to Highgate to see Doctor Strong.David is an hour early, so he gives in to curiosity & goes across to Mrs. Steerforth's house first. He peeks in through an open door to see Miss Dartle pacing back & forth like a trapped animal. The sight freaks him out, & he heads back to Doctor Strong's home. Doctor Strong looks exactly the same as he always does.
He greets David warmly & tells him that both Annie & Mr. Jack Maldon will be happy to see David. Jack Maldon has come back from India because he hates the climate. Doctor Strong is happy to hire David, but he wants to make sure that David can't do better. David assures him that he doesn't want to do better - he's really committed to this, & he hopes that he can be of service to Doctor Strong. He's grateful for the work!
Doctor Strong admits that his papers are out of order-Having agreed to take on David as an employee, Doctor Strong brings him to see Annie.Just then, a man comes walking up to the house leading a horse: it's Jack Maldon who seems lazy & uninterested except when talking to Annie. The lazy man has heard news of hunger in the north of England & a murder in the city, but he doesn't seem to care at all. He has only come to invite Annie out to the opera that evening.
Doctor Strong encourages her to go, but Annie says she would rather not. She changes the subject right away & asks David about Agnes. David can finally see what's going on, but Doctor Strong is so good-natured that he's blind to the fact that Jack Maldon is trying to steal his wife from under his nose. Annie keeps to her resolution not to go out with Jack Maldon, & David wonders if Agnes has been influencing Annie for good the way she has been influencing David. David has yet to tell Dora his news; he's going to wait until she is next visiting Miss Mills.
David goes to Tommy Traddles with Mr. Dick. Mr. Dick has begun to fret because he doesn't have anything useful to contribute. David worries that Mr. Dick will make himself sick with all the worrying, so he wants to find something for Mr. Dick to do.Traddles welcomes David, & they talk over plans. David wants to do some reporting on the debates of Parliament to add to his income.Traddles warns David that he'll need to learn shorthand. He promises he will, & Traddles is amazed at his determination. Mr. Dick then tells Mr. Traddles that he would do anything - play the drums, blow a flute, anything - to help. Traddles asks how Mr. Dick's handwriting is.
It is neat, but the problem is that King Charles the First keeps cropping up in all of Mr. Dick's manuscripts. Traddles wonders if Mr. Dick might have an easier time writing out a manuscript that's already been finished. The 2 men decide to try it out: they bring Mr. Dick to Traddles's law office the next morning.They hand over some legal documents that need to be copied several times. They instruct Mr. Dick to put his Memorial next to the legal documents he's copying & tell him that every time he feels the slightest inclination to talk about King Charles the First, he must reach over and put that in his Memorial.
Otherwise, he should copy the documents exactly as they appear on the page. Traddles pays Mr. Dick by the page for this copy work. By end of the week, Mr. Dick has earned 10 shillings & 9 pence which makes him proud & happy. Traddles is pleased to have been able to help Mr. Dick.Tommy delivers a letter to David from Mr. Micawber. The letter has news that Mr. Micawber has found a job.He's going to a rural town to work in "one of the learned professions".David is relieved that it looks like Mr. Micawber really has found a job at last. Traddles & David set off to see Mr. Micawber. The whole Micawber family is there: the twins are napping in the living room, & Master Micawber is 12 is fidgeting around.
Miss Micawber, the oldest daughter, is also there. David congratulates Mr. Micawber on the job. Mrs. Micawber says she will never leave Mr. Micawber.Mr. Micawber seems annoyed because no one expects she will leave him. The Micawbers are heading back to Canterbury because Mr. Micawber is going to be working as a clerk for Uriah Heep. The newspaper ad was answerd by Uriah. Mrs. Micawber insists that this job is an opportunity to rise to the heights of law: maybe a judgeship.
Traddles tries to explain that this just isn't going to happen, but Mrs. Micawber seems undeterred. David tells Mr. & Mrs. Micawber about his aunt's bad luck, & they seem quite happy with this news. They drink a number of toasts.Mr. Micawber hands Traddles an I.O.U. for his debts, with the claim that he's going to pay them back. Mr. Micawber seems to feel that this I.O.U. is basically the same as actually paying Traddles back
Chapter 37 SummaryA Little Cold Water
Dora has no idea that David is busy working hard in her name and sacrificing so much. Miss Betsey, David, & Mr. Dick are all comfortable in their new homes. David's aunt has won out with Mrs. Crupp, who basically never leaves her kitchen now. Miss Betsey is also so neat & clever that she has remade David's rooms to seem better than before.Peggotty also seems very pleased to help out with these arrangements.Eventually, though, she has to go home and look after Ham.
Peggotty cries when she parts from David, & offers him money if he needs it. At the end of his work day, David plans to go to Miss Mills's house, where he believes that Dora is visiting.David finds Dora & asks her if she could love a beggar? She tells him not to be so silly, or she'll have Jip bite him. David is charmed by Dora's childishness.But she is frightened by David's words & he has to spend a lot of time soothing all of her fears.She can't bear to hear David talk of being poor & working hard.
Dora forbids David from being practical because it scares her. He doesn't want it to scare her-he wants her to be inspired. Dora says she's not strong enough to be inspired.She begs David not to frighten her.David says he won't, but he does ask her to learn some things--housekeeping, simple accounting, & how to cook. Dora freaks out again & begs to see Miss Mills. Dora goes into hysterics, & David thinks he's been a brute to her. Miss Mills comes in, figures out what David has told Dora, & starts to calm Dora down. David asks if he was right to ask Dora to think about keeping household accounts & learning how to cook?
Miss Mills answers --no. Dora is not suited to that kind of life, though it would be useful if she could learn that kind of thing.David asks Miss Mills - if Dora ever shows any interest in such serious things - to encourage her to learn. Dora has calmed down & returns to teasing Jip & playing like a child. She is disturbed to hear that David has to get up at 5:00 AM to work.
Dora tells him to stop working: why should he? Dora clearly has no idea that we need to work to live.Even though David still really loves Dora, he's starting to think pretty hard about how much he frightened Dora by asking her to be serious.
Chapter 38 SummaryA Dissolution of Partnership
David continues with his plan on reporting on Parliamentary Debates.He learns shorthand, but it is hard.Traddles, Miss Betsey, & Mr. Dick help him to learn by staging debates slowly, with pauses for him to catch up. David is working hard: he is always on time at both Doctor Strong's home & at the law offices.One day, he finds Mr. Spenlow muttering to himself & looking cold & reserved. Mr. Spenlow asks David to follow him to a coffee shop.
David worries that Mr. Spenlow has found out about his engagement to Dora. Once they arrive at one of the private rooms of the coffee shop, they find Miss Murdstone waiting for them. Miss Murdstone is holding several letters in David's handwriting to Dora. She says that she has suspected Dora of loving David, but she hasn't had any evidence until now. Miss Murdstone did notice that, since she returned from her brother's wedding, Dora has been getting an awful lot of letters from Miss Mills.
Jip happened to be playing with one of these letters in Miss Murdstone's presence.She saved it from the dog, read it, & found that it was from David. Miss Murdstone then managed to bully Dora into giving up all of David's love letters.Mr. Spenlow asks David to explain himself. David says that the fault is all his, not Dora's.Mr. Spenlow answers that David is to blame, for sneaking into his house & keeping this whole love affair a secret. Dora's father says that David cannot truly love Dora because he hasn't considered Dora's station in life or potential future with David.David agrees that it's true that he hasn't though much of the future, but they are engaged.
Mr. Spenlow tells David not to talk about engagements. It's all nonsense & he insists that David stop thinking of Dora.Forget about the past, Mr. Spenlow encourages David.David doesn't want to make Mr. Spenlow angry, but he does tell him that he's committed to Dora. Mr. Spenlow answers that he's going to influence Dora to forget the whole thing. Miss Murdstone snorts, suggesting that it's about time that Mr. Spenlow intervene.
David is edging towards the door when Mr. Spenlow tells David that he has money to leave to his daughter.David protests that he's not in this for the money. Mr. Spenlow is sure that David isn't--he's thinking about changing his will to include conditions against foolish marriages.Mr. Spenlow gives David a week to consider this, a week that David won't use: he can't deprive Dora & himself a chance at happiness. Miss Murdstone stares after David the same way she used to when he messed up his lessons.
David sits in his little office & writes a letter to Mr. Spenlow begging him not to frighten Dora further, nor to make her cry. He leaves the letter on Mr. Spenlow's desk. Mr. Spenlow warns David that, if he keeps on about this, Mr. Spenlow will have to send Dora abroad.David then writes to Miss Mills & asks to meet her. Miss Mills weeps with David and promises to go to Dora the next morning to reassure her of David's commitment.
Miss Mills seems to be enjoying all of this love drama. David then passes all of this news on to Miss Betsey, who tries to comfort him. The next day, David goes in to the office, which is odd. All of the clerks, including Mr. Tiffey, are standing around & not working. Mr. Tiffey gives David the news: Mr. Spenlow is dead. David staggers, & the clerks help him to a chair. Mr. Spenlow's usual carriage arrived home without him. They found Mr. Spenlow's body about a mile back on the road. He appears to have either fallen or jumped out of the coach on his way home & been overcome by a sudden illness.
David is absolutely shocked. He also feels a bit guilty because he's jealous of Dora's grief for someone other than David.That night, David travels to Mr. Spenlow's house. He finds Miss Mills there, and gives her a letter to pass on to Dora. The next day, David receives a letter from Miss Mills about Dora, who is weeping constantly. Mr. Jorkins comes into the office to look for Mr. Spenlow's will.David is also eager to find the will, since he wants to know what Dora's future holds.They look all around the office but can't find one.
Oddly enough, when David reassures Mr. Jorkins & Mr. Tiffey that Mr. Spenlow had told him hat Mr. Spenlow had a will all drawn up, they shake their heads. Mr. Jorkins & Mr. Tiffey agree that people are weird about their wills, & often lie about them. That proves to be true: even though Mr. Spenlow's whole law career was built on wills, he did not, in fact, leave one. What's even more extraordinary is that, after paying off all of Mr. Spenlow's bills & debts, there isn't actually much money left over for Dora. Mr. Spenlow had 2 estranged sisters who agree to take Dora into their home.
David manages to visit her new neighborhood quite often.Miss Mills goes so far as to keep a diary of Dora's activities for David. This journal is quite hilarious: Miss Mills's little comments are filled with intense emotion.
Chapter 39 SummaryWickfield and Heep
Miss Betsey is worried about David's state of mind. She sends him to Dover to check up on the cottage & to oversee the tenant's signing of a long-term lease. Janet has gone into Annie's service, so David sees her regularly.David is glad to go because he wants to spend a few hours talking to Agnes. Doctor Strong is happy to give David 3 days off, & there's nothing very pressing going on at the law office.Business isn't so good without Mr. Spenlow to manage things.Mr. Jorkins actually isn't very capable, & he doesn't get much business.
David is really disappointed that he's stuck with this guy, & that Miss Betsey's 1000 pounds is going to waste. The cottage looks great, & David is glad to see that the tenant is keeping the donkeys off the lawn. He visits Mr. Wickfield's house, where he finds Mr. Micawber working where Uriah Heep used to. Mr. Micawber is renting Uriah Heep's old house, & he would be happy to get a visit from David some time.
Micawber tells David that he appreciates Uriah Heep because he has been willing to advance Mr. Micawber's salary from time to time.David is glad that Mr. Micawber is getting along ok.He asks how Mr. Wickfield is doing. Mr. Micawber says that Mr. Wickfield isn't needed in the office too much. Mr. Micawber refuses to discuss the dealings of Wickfield & Heep with David any more. David tells Mr. Micawber that's fine, & they shake hands.
Mr. Micawber does really like Miss Wickfield, who seems superior & virtuous. He's surprised that David isn't pursuing Agnes. David has a strange moment of knowing exactly what Mr. Micawber was going to say before he says it.He feels uncomfortable: Mr. Micawber's new job has put an unfamiliar distance between him & David. David heads off to find Agnes. He tells Agnes that, as his adopted sister, she gives him a sense of steadiness & self-reliance that he lacks without her.
David can rest when he is with Agnes, so he bursts into tears.She comforts him.Agnes reminds David that his reliance should no longer come from Agnes, but from Dora. David tells Agnes about that evening when he came in to tell Dora of his poverty & she couldn't hear it without being upset. Agnes says that it's just like David to barge in on a timid & inexperienced girl like Dora. David admires Agnes's kind, protective regard for Dora. He asks Agnes what he should do.She suggests that David should not be secretive again: he should write to Dora's aunts about their relationship & ask permission to visit sometimes.
David agrees happily. He then goes downstairs to see Mr. Wickfield & Uriah Heep. Mr. Wickfield asks if David will stay with them while he is at Canterbury. David asks if there is room, & Uriah offers to give up his room to David. Mr. Wickfield won't hear of that, & says there is another room.After deciding to stay, David retreats upstairs until dinner.He wants to sit with Agnes, but Mrs. Heep, Uriah's mother, insists on coming along. Mrs. Heep wants to spend all of her time talking & worrying over Uriah Heep.
Uriah's mother absolutely never lets David & Agnes sit alone together.David finally goes out for a walk by himself. Soon, he sees Uriah Heep walking out behind him. Uriah Heep catches up & asks to walk with David a while. David confesses that he had wanted some time by himself. Uriah Heep clarifies that David wants time away from Uriah Heep's mother. He says Yes. Uriah Heep tells David that all's fair in love, & he finds David a difficult rival. Angrily, David replies that he thinks of Agnes as nothing more than a sister. He tells Uriah that he is engaged to another woman, if that's any comfort to Uriah.
Uriah grabs his hand, thanks him, & promises to call his mother off from her guard duty.Heep informs David that it's a pity that he has never liked Uriah the way Uriah likes him, or they could've cleared up this misunderstanding sooner.David reminds Uriah that Agnes is worth a whole lot more than Uriah. Uriah explains: humbleness has been drilled into his family by generations of schools & charities, because they have been so poor. The Heeps have learned that the only thing that gets people like them ahead in life is to be as humble as it is possible to be.Suddenly, David understands. He had known that Uriah was malicious & cruel, but he now sees how much of Uriah's behavior is motivated by revenge for all of this humble pie he's been eating.
They walk back to Mr. Wickfield's house without saying much more.After dinner, Uriah really acts out: while David is sitting with Mr. Wickfield, Uriah keeps offering Mr. Wickfield more drink. Mr. Wickfield is aware of how weak he is being at drinking more & more (at Uriah Heep's suggestion) but he cannot stop himself. It makes David sick to see Uriah Heep playing on Mr. Wickfield's drinking problem like this.Uriah Heep makes Mr. Wickfield drink to Agnes. Heep tells Mr. Wickfield that he adores her. Uriah Heep says he wants to be her husband. Mr. Wickfield cries out & jumps out of his chair. Uriah Heep wonders if Mr. Wickfield has gone mad. David tries to calm Mr. Wickfield down. Mr. Wickfield points to Uriah & calls him a torturer, who has forced Mr. Wickfield to abandon his reputation & his happiness at home. Uriah Heep reminds Mr. Wickfield that it's thanks to Uriah that he still has any kind of reputation.
Uriah warns David to shut Mr. Wickfield up: if he keeps talking, he'll say something he'll regret. Mr. Wickfield begins to weep that he has ruined everything he touches with his weakness.Agnes comes in, wraps her arm around Mr. Wickfield, & tells him to come with her. David realizes that Agnes knows everything that has happened inside the room that evening. Uriah tells David that Mr. Wickfield will think better of his words the next morning. David asks Agnes if there is anything at all he can do for her? He loves her so much - as a sister! Agnes's face has a strange look, but she tells David not to worry about her.
David has to leave Canterbury before dawn, but Uriah Heep is there to say a last word.Uriah's already smoothed things over with Mr. Wickfield.What's more, he may have been premature in trying to get permission to marry Agnes the night before, but the time will come.
Chapter 40 SummaryThe Wanderer
David tells Miss Betsey all about his visit with the Wickfields. Miss Betsey paces up & down, a sign that she is worried. She reads David's note to Dora's aunts & approves of it. David mails it and waits for a response. One snowy afternoon, as David is walking home from Doctor Strong's house, he sees a woman walking past him whom he recognizes. He doesn't place who it is until he sees someone else standing on the steps of a church: Mr. Peggotty. That's when he gets that the woman he just passed was Martha Endell, the fallen woman whom Emily tried to help.
Mr. Peggotty is only in London for the night before he goes away again. David and Mr. Peggotty head over to a nearby pub. Mr. Peggotty tells David about his travels: first, he headed over to France, where he wandered mostly alone & on foot. He would walk from town to town, sometimes in the company of other travelers or old soldiers. In each town, he would wait for someone to turn up who spoke English. He was well treated by local families with daughters Emily's age, & especially by families with daughters who had died. David sees that Martha is standing at the door listening carefully. Mr. Peggotty starts to sob, thinking about the children he met & how he misses Emily. He collects himself & returns to his story.
Eventually, he made his way to the east coast of France, where he makes his way over to Italy. Mr. Peggotty makes his way through Italy the same way he did in France, until he hears news of Emily, Littimer, & Steerforth. They are in Switzerland. Mr. Peggotty travels north to the Swiss Alps, still on foot. He has stopped thinking of revenge on Steerforth. All he dreams of is finding Emily & bringing her home. Mr. Peggotty is too late, & they had already left by the time he arrives in Switzerland. Mr. Peggotty comes home again. He goes to the boat house & finds Mrs. Gummidge keeping house. While Mr. Peggotty was away, 2 letters came, written in Emily's handwriting. One contained a 50 pound bank note.The second is a full-on letter addressed to Mrs. Gummidge. In it, Emily begs for news of Mr. Peggotty's health, and for news of Ham. She is praying for both of them.
Mrs. Gummidge & Ham have replied to these letters, saying that Mr. Peggotty has gone to look for Emily. Then, the day before yesterday, another sum of money arrived - addressed to Mr. Peggotty and "From a true friend" - which has a German postmark. So, Mr. Peggotty is setting off again to Germany.David asks how Ham is doing.Ham is still working hard & never complains, but he seems heartbroken. Mr. Peggotty worries that Ham is not being careful of his life, that he goes out in all kinds of weather.David observes that Martha Endell has disappeared from the doorway. Mr. Peggotty never noticed her there.
Mr. Peggotty is glad that he was able to see David before going off again.He assures David that his only wish is to be able to find Emily & to return that money to Steerforth - he won't accept it. They walk out of the pub, & David sees a glimpse of a lady who might be Martha. David asks Mr. Peggotty where he is staying to distract Mr. Peggotty from the figure until it is gone.When David looks again, there is no trace of Martha Endell to be seen.
Chapter 41 SummaryDora's Aunts
David gets a reply from Dora's aunts: they ask him to come & meet them, & to bring a friend. He replies that it would be an honor & invites Traddles.David is disappointed because his old confidant, Miss Mills, has gone to India with her father. He worries endlessly over what to wear. David feels a little annoyed (though he loves Traddles) that his companion for the day keeps brushing his hair so weirdly. Traddles apologizes: his hair just won't stay down. Traddles's hair has given him a lot of trouble: his girlfriend, Sophy, doesn't mind it, but her oldest sister, "the Beauty," does.Sophy is so necessary to her family that, when Traddles asks her parents if he can marry Sophy, Sophy's mother (Mrs. Crewler) faints.Finally, her father (the Reverend Horace Crewler) agrees.
But Sophy's sister Sarah (who has some sort of problem with her spine) eats nothing but toast and water for 2 days at the news. They've all become resigned to it, but they all resent Traddles for taking Sophy away from them. Traddles & David arrive at the home of the Missses Spenlow.David feels like he's on display.He looks around for Dora, but doesn't see her - though he does hear the sound of Jip.The 2 Miss Spenlows are older than Mr. Spenlow was. The younger of the 2, Miss Clarissa, addresses David - she thinks - but she's actually looking at Traddles.
David corrects her mistake, but he feels weird right off the bat. The older of the 2 sisters, Miss Lavinia, is supposed to be experienced in the ways of the heart. This experience arises from a relationship Miss Lavinia had long ago with a Mr. Pidger. Dora's aunts acknowledge that, with their brother's death, Dora's position in the world has changed. They also agree that David seems genuinely to love Dora.(There's a little digression about the source of the quarrel between Lavinia, Clarissa, & Mr. Spenlow: apparently, the issue was that Mr. Spenlow's wife didn't find room for the Dora's aunts at a dinner party long before.)
(Miss Clarissa adds that it was no problem at all if Mr. & Mrs. Spenlow wanted to have their own friends; she & Lavinia could make do on their own, she's sure.) Miss Clarissa & Miss Lavinia are both undecided about what to do with David, since young love is so uncertain. David & Traddles both chime in to talk about how honest & faithful David has been with his love for Dora.The Spenlow sisters seem impressed with Traddles because he is a lawyer.Miss Lavinia asks Traddles to confirm that David's love is the real thing. She then tells Traddles that they want to put these feelings to the test by getting to know David.
Still directing her attention to Traddles & not David, Miss Lavinia clarifies that these visits will be to Miss Lavinia & Miss Clarissa, not to Dora. Dora's aunts don't want an official engagement between David & Dora yet. Traddles agrees that this is reasonable & considerate, & David chimes in positively.mMiss Lavinia also makes David promise that he won't try to contact Dora secretly outside of these visits. David promises happily. Miss Lavinia insists that David talk over these conditions with Traddles for 15 minutes before he agrees. So, they leave David and Traddles alone for a quarter of an hour, they come back, & David still agrees to all of their terms.
Miss Clarissa invites David to come to dinner at 3 PM every Sunday, & to tea twice a week at 6:30 PM. They would also like to meet Miss Betsey Trotwood.Miss Lavinia guides David into the house to see Dora, who has been listening at the door. Dora tells David that she's frightened of his friend & wants him to leave - she's talking about Traddles, & she thinks he has no business being there. David pleads that Traddles is the best guy around. He also tells her that Miss Betsey will be visiting soon, but Dora doesn't want to meet her either.
The 2 of them play with Jip & avoid practical matters. David suggests that Dora come & meet Traddles, but she runs off to her room & locks herself in instead. Traddles congratulates David: he's sure that David will be married long before Traddles himself will. Miss Betsey is pleased to see David so happy, but David notices that she paces back & forth in her room almost until dawn. David also writes to Agnes to thank her for advice, & she replies happily. He gets even busier than usual, with lots of work & now these extra visits to Highgate. David is relieved to see that Miss Betsey seems to be getting along with the Spenlow sisters, even though they think Miss Betsey is a bit eccentric.
Jip hates Miss Betsey, & growls whenever he sees her. The one thing that does worry David is that everyone seems willing to treat Dora like a toy or a doll.He brings it up with her one afternoon, telling her that, after all, Dora isn't a child. David tells her that she could still be happy & treated as an adult. Dora starts to cry & tells David that he shouldn't find fault with her.Dora eventually asks him to show her that cookbook he wanted her to learn.
But she gets a headache from reading the cookbook, & trying to learn to add and subtract makes her cry.David asks her, if they were married & he wanted an Irish stew for dinner, if she would know what to do.Dora answers that she would ask the servant for one. So, David & Dora go back to being happy with playing their guitar & songs & painting flowers.
Chapter 42 SummaryMischief
David tells us that he could never have succeeded in the world without his commitment to punctuality & determination. He learned much of this dedication from Agnes. Agnes, comes to visit Doctor Strong for 2 weeks with Mr. Wickfield. Mrs. Heep goes along, too, because she needs a rest cure. Uriah Heep comes too.Uriah Heep makes David go on a walk with him in Doctor Strong's garden.Uriah tells David that he is jealous of someone - a female. Apparently, back when he was a clerk, Mrs. Annie Strong never paid any attention to Uriah Heep.
She would come to the house to visit Agnes, & she would bring Agnes to visit her. Uriah was below Annie's notice, & he was also below the notice of Mr. Jack Maldon. David's heart falls: he remembers all of his old suspicions of Annie & her cousin.David tries to hide his misgivings in front of Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep continues: because of Annie's behavior, he wants to put a stop to Annie's friendship with Agnes.
Uriah Heep refuses to "allow people in [his] way".David is confused about what Uriah's going to do next, but he can't stand to be around him, so he leaves Uriah in the garden laughing.The next evening, David takes Agnes to meet Dora at the Misses Spenlows' house. Dora is afraid of Agnes, & she hides from her. Once she finally comes out to meet Agnes, she is pleased to see that Agnes looks cheerful & thoughtful & hugs her.David is glad to see that the 2 women like each other. Miss Lavinia & Miss Clarissa also seem pleased by the friendship.
Everyone at the house loves Agnes: Dora, Miss Lavinia, Miss Clarissa, & even Jip. Dora is glad to have a new friend, now that Miss Mills has left for India. When Agnes goes out of the room for a bit, Dora wonders why David ever fell in love with her, when he had someone like Agnes around. When Agnes goes back to Doctor Strong's house with David, she tells David that Dora is "a poor angel" but "faithful".David asks if Agnes's home situation has gotten any better. It hasn't.In fact, Agnes thinks she won't come to London any time soon because she has to stick close to her father.
Agnes promises to write to Dora often. David sees Doctor Strong's study light on, & decides to go & ask him if he's working on his dictionary late at night. But what he finds is Uriah Heep, standing next to the Doctor's desk. Doctor Strong is also there, as is Mr. Wickfield. Uriah Heep is telling Doctor Strong that they can keep it a secret from the townspeople. Heep spots David, and tells him that he's been talking to Doctor Strong about a matter David doesn't understand.David goes over to Doctor Strong & tries to comfort him. Uriah Heep insists on spelling it out: he's just told Doctor Strong about the "goings-on" of Annie.Heep demands that Mr. Wickfield confirm Uriah's suspicions that Annie & Mr. Jack Maldon have been carrying on an affair.
Mr. Wickfield protests that Doctor Strong shouldn't believe Mr. Wickfield's old suspicions. Mr. Wickfield apologizes for his doubts. Mr. Wickfield thought Doctor Strong had doubts about his wife & her cousin. That's why he thought Doctor Strong wanted to send Mr. Jack Maldon all the way to India. Doctor Strong had no doubts at all - he just thought he was making his wife happy by giving her cousin a job. Mr. Wickfield apologizes to Doctor Strong for his suspicions, & begs his forgiveness for telling them to Doctor Strong like this.
Uriah Heep is obviously enjoying all of this. He points to David & says that David, too, has been having his doubts. Doctor Strong looks at David, & David remembers all of his moments doubting Annie. The Doctor tells them that he has been in the wrong, that he must have pulled Annie into an unhappy marriage. He now sees how natural it is for such a young, lively woman to miss the close companion of her youth. Doctor Strong decides that he will never reproach Annie with any suspicions, nor will he allow other people in society to do so. Instead, Strong is going to retire from public life. And once he dies (which he thinks will be soon), Annie will be free to do what she wants.
The Doctor asks Mr. Wickfield, David, & Uriah Heep to keep their conversation this evening a secret. Doctor Strong leaves the room with Mr. Wickfield.Uriah Heep turns to David & admits that he didn't expect Doctor Strong to behave this way. David calls Uriah Heep a villain & slaps him on the face.Uriah Heep asks if David has gone crazy. David says he won't have another thing to do with Uriah Heep. Uriah replies that he knows David has never liked him, but it doesn't matter - David won't be able to help associating with Uriah Heep. Heep refuses to let David drop him.
David walks straight out of the house, but Heep follows him.Uriah mocks David: David may try to make himself seem like the hero of this adventure, but he hasn't achieved anything, and he hit a man without being provoked. He tells David he won't tell another living soul about David's behavior, which makes David feel even guiltier. When David comes down the next morning, he sees Uriah Heep walking with Mrs. Heep. Uriah Heep greets him as though nothing has happened.Doctor Strong avoids company for the rest of the Wickfields' visit.Strong eventually asks David to come back to his secretarial duties, but only as long as he never refers to Uriah Heep's doubts.
David thinks that Annie had no idea - at that point - of Doctor Strong's suspicions. It's not for several weeks that she starts to change. Annie grows more & more unhappy. Even though Annie's mother, Mrs. Markleham, comes often to the house, she never notices Annie's emotional state. Doctor Strong continues to be sweet-tempered & kind to Annie, even though he is looking older.Strong comes up with lots of ways to amuse Annie out of the house with her mother, but Annie never seems to enjoy these excursions.
No one knows what to think, neither David nor Miss Betsey (who also knows the whole story). The only one who manages to cheer up the situation is Mr. Dick. When David was still at school in Canterbury, Mr. Dick loved to walk around Doctor Strong's garden when he came to visit David during the week. Now that Doctor Strong has come to London, Mr. Dick has started taking regular walks with Doctor Strong again. When Doctor Strong is busy with David, Mr. Dick walks with Annie & helps her in the garden. Because both of them like him, Mr. Dick has become a link between Doctor Strong and Annie.
David is a bit ashamed that, for all that Mr. Dick is a bit mad, he is still much more useful than David in helping the Strongs.Miss Betsey continues to be very proud of Mr. Dick. One more thing: David noticed that, during Uriah Heep's visit to Doctor Strong's house, Uriah Heep received many letters from his clerk, Mr. Micawber.Because of these letters, David had thought that Mr. Micawber was doing really well with his job.
This is why David is surprised to get a letter from Mrs. Micawber. Mrs. Micawber asks David not to tell anyone about this letter. She needs his advice. She's worried because Mr. Micawber has become secretive & reserved - Mrs. Micawber knows that something is wrong with him, but he won't tell her what. Mrs. Micawber wants David to tell her what to do.David has no idea, but he suggests that she just stay patient with him.This letter makes David worry for Mr. Micawber.
Chapter 43 SummaryAnother Retrospect
David takes a moment to stand back and observe his past life. He has turned 21, & he has started making a living as a journalist reporting on debates in Parliament. Traddles has also tried to work as a journalist, but he's not great at it. Instead, he's managed to get a job as a lawyer.David starts writing fiction pieces for magazines. He has moved out of Mrs. Crupp's boarding house to a cottage in Highgate. Miss Betsey has sold her cottage in Dover & plans to move to another little cottage nearby.
She's moving out of David's house because he is getting married. Miss Lavinia & Miss Clarissa have given permission for Dora to get married. Peggotty comes for the wedding, & helps Miss Lavinia, Miss Clarissa, & Miss Betsey set up the house for the newlyweds. David also sometimes sees the shadow of Mr. Peggotty in London, but he never stops Mr. Peggotty to speak to him: he knows what Mr. Peggotty is looking for, & it's not David.
Traddles comes by one afternoon with David's marriage license.David is proud & pleased. He tells Traddles that the next time Traddles comes to the Archbishop of Canterbury to get a marriage blessed, it should be his own. Traddles tells David that he's almost as excited by David's wedding as he would be by his own. In fact, Sophy (Traddles's fiancée) is one of Dora's bridesmaids, along with Agnes.David gets to meet Sophy at his wedding. David finds her friendly & delightful.
Agnes really enjoys Traddles, & they all get along beautifully.David can't believe his good luck, & when they all go to visit his new house the next day, he still thinks that it must belong to someone else. Someone taps on the window: it is Dora, accompanied by her 2 aunts & Jip. Dora asks if David thinks the house is pretty - and if he is sure that he likes her. David confirms that he does, & is so, so happy. The next day is the day of the wedding.
Miss Betsey looks amazing all dressed up, & Mr. Dick has had his hair curled. David's aunt gives him her blessing: David reminds Miss Betsey so much of his mother. Miss Betsey shakes Traddles's hand, who shakes Mr. Dick's hand, who shakes David's hand, who shakes Mr. Traddles's hand. The rest of the day seems like a dream, with Dora looking lovely & clutching Agnes's hand, trembling & weeping for her father. David & Dora sign the register, the marriage is witnessed by Peggotty, & they walk down the aisle together as man & wife.
As Dora & David walk arm-in-arm to their carriage (with Jip in Dora's hand), Dora looks back and tells them, "If I have ever been cross or ungrateful to anybody, don't remember it!" .Dora looks back once more & says farewell to everyone, & especially Agnes.
As they drive away, David begins to believe this is all real.Dora turns to David &asks if he is happy.with that, David resumes his story
Chapter 44 SummaryOur Housekeeping
David finds the early days of his marriage very odd: it's so weird to see Dora all the time, without having to make special excursions to see her. It still seems a special thing to come home late knowing that Dora would be there waiting for him. Neither David nor Dora know anything about keeping house. Their first servant, Mary Anne, has great references - but is a disaster.She keeps stealing their teaspoons & is the cause of their 1st fight. David notices that dinner is supposed to be on the table at 4 P.M. one afternoon, but by 5, there's still no sign of it.He tells Dora to scold Mary Anne a bit.
Dora feels that she can't because she is so weak & Mary Anne knows it. They go back & forth with each other trying to figure out how to keep house. Dora thinks that David is calling her a bad wife & starts to cry.David has no idea what to do, & he tries to tell Dora that they both have a lot to learn.
Dora has to learn to tell Mary Anne what to do. Dora cries & David feels horrible. David goes out for a bit & when he comes back late at night, he finds his aunt waiting up for him.David asks Miss Betsey if anything is wrong. Miss Betsey says everything is fine, but that Dora is out of sorts.David tells Miss Betsey that he's also been unhappy all night, but he just tried to talk to Dora about their housekeeping.
Miss Betsey tells David: Dora is very delicate & he must be patient & gentle with her.David thanks Miss Betsey & asks her to talk to Dora about household matters. Miss Betsey refuses; she won't interfere &David sees that she is right.Miss Betsey reassures David that they have plenty of time to build their marriage.
David married Dora,& he can't expect Dora to be other than she is, nor can he blame her for her nature. With this advice, David escorts Miss Betsey home & thinks over her advice. When he comes back, Dora comes downstairs, hugs him, & cries; she apologizes for being naughty & they make up. They continue to have trouble with servants.They dismiss Mary Anne, but have other bad maids.
Worse still, all the shopkeepers in town, know how young & inexperienced David & Dora are, & manage to cheat them with poor-quality meats & bad washing. One of the first guests they invite to their house is Tommy Traddles. David loves seeing beautiful Dora at his table, but he cannot help but notice that the dining-room is terribly cramped. Traddles has barely any room to move. Jip is also behaving badly: he walks all over the tablecloth & barks at Traddles.
David knows that Dora will be hurt if he insults Jip, he doesn't protest.David sees that Dora has purchased oysters, which Traddles loves--he thinks this is a great idea. Sadly, they cannot pry the tops off of the oysters.David, Traddles, & Dora look at the oysters while they eat some bacon.Dora soon cheers up when she realizes David isn't angry at her, so Traddles, David, & Dora pass a very pleasant evening together.When Traddles goes home, Dora asks David to teach her what to do.
David confesses that he knows about as much about housekeeping as Dora does.Dora tells David that he can learn, because he is clever.She wishes she could have spent a year living with & learning from Agnes. Then she might be more self-reliant.Dora asks David to call her a special name: "Child-wife".She explains that David should think of her that way, so that when he is angry or disappointed, he will remember that Dora is only his "child-wife" .
David doesn't think she is serious, but he eventually realizes that she is - Dora is pleading with David for patience. Dora really tries, but she's just not that gifted - she cannot make the household accounts add up, even though she keeps trying.David's reputation as a writer is starting to grow. He comes home in the evenings to show Dora again how to add, but Dora can only pay attention for about 5 minutes at a time before she starts playing.David is trying to save Dora from pain, so he never talks to her about his daily worries over work & business.
David feels that he has no partner in the worries of their shared life. When he comes home late from the Parliamentary debates, or when he works on his writing at home, Dora sometimes sits up to watch him. One night, David tries to send her to bed, & she cries: she wants to be near David when he works. Dora worries that David will forget her in his world of writing.
She asks David if she can hold his pens, & when he agrees, she is so happy. Whenever David works, she sits by him in a designated place & holds his pens especially for him.Dora is as affectionate to Miss Betsey as she is to David, & Miss Betsey works hard to keep her love. They are very close.`
Chapter 45 SummaryMr. Dick Fulfills My Aunt's Predictions
Since David is now living so close to Doctor Strong, he sees the Doctor all the time. Mrs. Markleham has come to live in Doctor Strong's house too.She is a selfish woman who always needs to be amused. She claims to go out for Annie's sake, when really, she just wants excursions for herself.One day, Mrs. Markleham tells Doctor Strong that Annie must be bored being shut up in his house because he is an older man & they don't have the same interests..
Dictionaries are useful, but they're not designed to interest young people like Annie.Mrs. Markleham compliments Doctor Strong's good sense in letting Annie go out often because he must understand that Annie is bored with him.Mrs. Markleham offers her own services to go with Annie to the opera, concerts, museums, etc. even if Annie says she's tired and doesn't want to go.
Occasionally, Jack Maldon goes along, but this is rare; sometimes, Dora &/or Miss Betsey go with Mrs. Markleham & Annie. David has decided that Doctor Strong is right, & that he shouldn't mistrust Annie.Miss Betsey thinks that Mrs. Markleham is interfering in Doctor Strong & Annie's happiness. Miss Betsey also thinks Mr. Dick has an idea to make things better, so she waits patiently for him to act.
David isn't so sure that this is going to happen, but 1 night, Mr. Dick drops by & asks if David has time to chat. Mr. Dick asks what David considers Mr. Dick to be? David says that he is a dear friend. Mr. Dick adds, perhaps a little bit mentally challenged? Perhaps he is "simple"? David tries to be kind, but does eventually agree that Mr. Dick is a bit slow. Mr. Dick continues: Doctor Strong is a great man & a fine scholar, & Annie is a lovely, shining girl.
Mr. Dick asks David why it appears as though clouds have come between them? David tells Mr. Dick that there is a secret separating them. Doctor Strong is devoted to Annie, but there is still some problem. The reason that neither David nor Miss Betsey have gotten involved is because it is too delicate a subject for outsiders.Mr. Dick hears this and is delighted: sure, maybe David & Miss Betsey can't get involved, but he, Mr. Dick, can. Because Mr. Dick knows that he is mentally challenged, he also knows that no one will object if he says something that might seem out of place.
Just then, Miss Betsey & Dora come in. Mr. Dick swears David to secrecy & promises that he will solve everything. One evening after about 2 or 3 weeks, David & Miss Betsey walk over to Doctor Strong's house. It is twilight, & Annie is coming in from the garden. Mr. Dick is still in the garden, & the Doctor is in his study. Mrs. Markleham comes in & scolds Annie for not telling her that Doctor Strong is seeing guests in his study.
Mrs. Markleham surprised Doctor Strong drawing up his will. She tells everyone in the room that Doctor Strong plans to leave everything to Annie, because he has total confidence in her. Annie gets up & goes outside. Mrs. Markleham keeps on talking about how lovely it is, given Doctor Strong's age, that he is thinking ahead about such matters.Mrs. Markleham invites David & Miss Betsey to come in & see Doctor Strong; they arrive just as Mr. Dick is supporting Annie into the room on one arm. Doctor Strong is sitting at his desk & doesn't notice them.
Mr. Dick escorts Annie to Doctor Strong & then lays his hand on Doctor Strong's arm.Annie drops to her knees in front of her seated husband.Mrs. Markleham scolds Annie, & tells her to get up - why should she humble herself so much?Annie tells her mother to be quiet: her words are for her husband. Doctor Strong tells Annie that if anything has gone wrong with their marriage, it is all his fault. Annie should stand up immediately.
Annie asks if there is anyone in the room who can speak out about the suspicions that seem to hover around Annie and Doctor Strong. David speaks softly of some of the doubts voiced by Uriah Heep that fatal evening. Annie stays silent & then takes her husband's hands. Annie promises to tell him everything that has been in her heart since their marriage. Mrs. Markleham tries to interrupt, but Annie is determined to lay it all before Doctor Strong. Annie explains that her first memories of learning were from a patient friend and teacher - Doctor Strong - who molded her young mind, & whose approval she was proud of.
She looked up to him as a father, & so when she heard that he wanted to propose marriage to her, she hesitated.Annie felt sorry, at first, that Doctor Strong's relationship with her had changed this way.But after a time, Annie felt honored by Doctor Strong's affection, & so she married him.Annie never thought for a moment of the wealth that marrying Doctor Strong would mean; indeed, the first idea that some people might be suspicious of her motives in marrying Doctor Strong came from Mrs. Markleham herself.
Annie has worried over their difference in wealth. Even though Annie is sure that Mrs. Markleham never meant anything by it, by constantly asking Doctor Strong to help various members of her family, Annie has become aware of the suspicions of Mr. Wickfield. Mrs. Markleham starts to weep, offended at the implication that it's wrong for her to care for her family. Annie continues: she knows that Mrs. Markleham has been very caring with Jack Maldon. She also admits that, when they were young, she might have persuaded herself that she loved Jack Maldon - which would have been disastrous, because they aren't a bit alike.
Annie says something that really hits David, though he can't say why: marriage between 2 people with very different characters causes the worst problems. She explains that she & Jack Maldon have nothing in common. Not until the night before Jack Maldon left for India that Annie realized his false heart & Mr. Wickfield's suspicions of her. Doctor Strong protests that he had no such suspicions.
Annie agrees, but she still felt guilty & ashamed that someone who Doctor Strong had helped so much - Jack Maldon - had tried to seduce her under the Doctor's own roof. She was so ashamed that she couldn't tell Doctor Strong. Mrs. Markleham groans & drops back into her easy chair. Annie confesses to Doctor Strong that sometimes she wishes she had just stayed his student, because then she might have learned enough to be worthy of him.
She has seen that Doctor Strong has been growing unhappy, & she's worried that he might have begun to doubt her. Annie must tell Doctor Strong that she has never stopped loving him, nor has she ever been unfaithful to him. Annie begs Doctor Strong not to think that there is any difference between them, except maybe for Annie's own faults. After this declaration, there is silence.
Miss Betsey walks up to Mr. Dick & hugs & kisses him. Miss Betsey tells Mr. Dick that he is a remarkable man.With that, Miss Betsey, Mr. Dick, & David leave the room. Miss Betsey is glad that Mrs. Markleham has at last gotten her comeuppance. David is still thinking over that odd phrase Annie used, that "there can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose".
CHAPTER 46 SUMMARYIntelligence
One night, about a year after his marriage, David is walking home.He happens to go past Mrs. Steerforth's house. David sees the blinds drawn & the whole house shut up. He feels a bit depressed & doesn't notice anyone around him until suddenly, a woman's voice rings out.It's the voice of Mrs. Steerforth's maid asking David to come in & have a word with Miss Dartle. Miss Dartle saw David passing & would like him to speak with her.
The maid tells David that Mrs. Steerforth is not well & stays in her room most of the time.Miss Dartle looks disdainfully at David. She asks if Emily has been found. She seems pleased to tell David that Emily has run away from Steerforth. Miss Dartle hopes openly that Emily has died. The woman asks if David wants to know about Emily's whereabouts & he says yes. Miss Dartle calls to Littimer to come out.
Littimer tells David that he & Steerforth have been abroad with Emily. They traveled through France, Switzerland, & Italy. Emily was quick to learn the languages & much admired wherever they went. Littimer explains that, though they were happy for a time, Emily got depressed, & her low spirits dragged down Steerforth. After many arguments, Steerforth finally left Emily in Naples, Italy. Steerforth offered to arrange a marriage between Emily & another man who wouldn't mind her past indiscretions.
(Hearing Littimer talk about this, both David & Miss Dartle are sure that Littimer is talking about himself.) Once Littimer explained to Emily that Steerforth had gone away, she tried desperately to kill herself.(Miss Dartle seems delighted by this news.) Littimer continues: Emily's behavior was awful, & Littimer was sure that she would murder him if she got the chance.
Littimer locked her up with nothing at hand to hurt herself or anyone else. Emily still managed to escape by knocking the bars out of the window of her room & climbing down the wall. There has been no news of her since. Miss Dartle smiles at the thought that she may be dead. Littimer agrees that Emily may have drowned herself, or she may have found a way to join the local boatmen. After Emily's escape, Littimer went to meet with Steerforth.Steerforth injured Littimer, & so Littimer left Steerforth's service & headed back to England to tell Mrs. Steerforth & Miss Dartle this news (for a sum of money).
Now, Littimer is looking for another job. David wants to know is if Emily received a letter from home, or if he & Steerforth intercepted it. Littimer implies that Steerforth prevented Emily from getting her letter from Mr. Peggotty. David finishes up by telling Littimer that he plans to tell Mr. Peggotty this story, so Littimer had better watch himself. Littimer informs David that he is not afraid, and that this is a free country.
Littimer leaves. Miss Dartle adds that Steerforth is sailing off the coast of Spain. She tells David that they share a common goal: David wants Emily saved, & Miss Dartle wants to make sure that Emily never has another chance to hurt Steerforth again. Mrs. Steerforth comes up behind Miss Dartle & greets David. Steerforth's mother reaffirms Miss Dartle's suspicions that Emily is going to try to get something more out of Steerforth. David disagrees: Emily has been badly treated, would not accept anything from Steerforth now.
Miss Dartle looks like she wants to say something, but Mrs. Steerforth stops her. Mrs. Steerforth asks how David is - he's starting to get famousDavid says that he has been lucky to get good reviews.Mrs. Steerforth asks if David's mother is alive. She tells David that it's a shame, because his mother would have been proud of him. He now seeks out Mr. Peggotty, who is in London at the place where Mr. Dick stayed before.
David tells Mr. Peggotty that he heard from Littimer that Emily left Steerforth. David thinks Emily is still alive & Mr. Peggotty agrees-he would know if she had died. David thinks that Emily might come back to London, having nowhere else to go.He asks if Mr. Peggotty remembers Martha Endell? David & Mr. Peggotty have seen her on the London streets.David tells Mr. Peggotty that Emily used to be kind to Martha. David says they should look for Martha to see if she might know where Emily is. David asks about Ham Peggotty.
Ham is still working too hard, & he's popular in the village.David worries that, if Ham ever finds Steerforth, he might do something dangerous. Mr. Peggotty agrees that he has had similar concerns about Ham.David & Mr. Peggotty fall silent as they walk towards the lonely figure of a woman--it is Martha. They follow her through the London streets until she turns down a quiet alley.
Chapter 47 SummaryMartha
At the end of an alley near the Thames River, David sees Martha going into a run-down wooden building. The neighborhood is grimy, dark, & empty. David signals to Mr. Peggotty to stay where he is. Martha looks wild as she stands muttering to herself. David touches her arm & calls her name. Martha screams & babbles: she compares herself to the river, which starts clean but then flows into the dirty city. David & Mr. Peggotty wait for Martha to calm down.
David asks if Martha recognizes him & Mr. Peggotty. She does.David wants to know if Martha can talk of Emily. Martha begs David to tell Mr. Peggotty that what happened to Emily wasn't her fault. If it had been her fault, she would have thrown herself into the Thames a long time ago.David assures Martha that they know Martha had nothing to do with Emily running away.
Martha knows that she is corrupt, & that Emily was never anything but kind to Martha. It pains Martha to know that the people of the village might think Martha brought Emily down, she who owed Emily so much.Martha asks how she can go on as a living disgrace. Mr. Peggotty tells Martha that he will never judge her.He assures Martha that Emily is dearer to him now than she was before. Mr. Peggotty knows that Emily would never doubt his love for her.
If Emily is hiding from Mr. Peggotty, it is because of shame. David & Mr. Peggotty agree that Emily will probably wind up in London.Mr. Peggotty asks Martha to help them find Emily. Martha asks if Mr. Peggotty will trust her to bring Emily to him if she ever finds her? David & Mr. Peggotty both say they trust her. Martha promises that she will do this task faithfully.
David tells Martha everything they know so far about Emily's movements since she ran away. He writes down his & Mr. Peggotty's addresses so that she can get in touch if she hears any news. David tries to offer Martha some money, but she will not accept.Martha refuses the money because she worries that if she accepts money they will trust her less. She is honored to be trusted again for the first time in so long. Martha touches Mr. Peggotty briefly & then goes on her way.
David arrives home at midnight.He sees that his aunt's cottage is lit up, & he goes to see if anything is wrong. David is shocked to see a man standing in her yard. The man is eating & drinking as though he is starving. Miss Betsey comes out & presses some money into his hand. The man tells her it's not enough for him to go.
Miss Betsey asks how he can be so cruel to her, when she can spare him nothing else? The man tells her that he has grown shabby & pathetic. Miss Betsey replies that he has taken most of her money & treated her cruelly. The man goes off, looking annoyed.He and David pass each other, & David asks his aunt why this man has been bothering her. Miss Betsey brings David inside & tells him not to speak to her for a little while.
After sitting quietly for a bit, Miss Betsey comes out & says that that man is her husband.He is not dead at all; he's just dead to Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey tells David that she loved that man & that he stole her fortune & broke her heart. She left him with money which he gambled away; he also married another woman & turned into a cheat.
Now and again, he still turns up, & she pays him to go away.Miss Betsey says that now David knows her whole story, & she wants to keep it between them.
Chapter 48 SummaryDomestic
David is working hard at a book. He doesn't plan to make many references to his fictional works; they speak for themselves. David has been married for 1 1/2 year & they have given up their housekeeping lessons.They have an awful page. David worries that they'll never get rid of the boy, but he steals Dora's watch & pawns it. The page keeps confessing all of the things he has stolen.
David feels embarrassed by what a victim he has become: he can't keep order in his own house.Dora goes to visit the boy in prison, but faints.David uses this as an opportunity to note that their poor household management has gotten so out of hand that it's now messing up other people.David tells her to put Jip down.
He tells Dora sternly that they are wasting money by not being careful, & they're also spoiling all of their servants by giving them opportunities to turn bad. Dora thinks David is accusing her of stealing gold watches. Dora sobs that David is comparing her to the thieving page boy. David asks Dora to be reasonable. She wonders why David didn't send her to India (where Miss Mills went) instead of marrying her.
David thinks the only thing left to do is to educate Dora's mind.When Dora is being childish, David turns serious. He tries to read Shakespeare to her, which makes her tired. When Traddles comes over, David starts instructing him in practical wisdom in the hopes that it will spread to Dora- it doesn't.After several months, David notices that it has no effect. David decides that he's going to be satisfied with her from now on & he buys her some presents.
Dora is happy. He apologizes that they haven't been good company.Dora knows that David has been trying to make her wise. She tells David it's no use - she's his child-wife. Sometimes she thinks it would have been better if —Dora doesn't finish her sentence and won't explain.David tells Dora that he loves her as she is, & won't try to change her anymore. Dora is delighted & kisses David. This was David's last effort to try & change Dora. David feels unhappiness- he loves Dora, but something is missing.
What David wants is a real life partner-David knows that Dora is truly proud & fond of him.But he also knows that, if his heart had been careful when he first met Dora, he would never have fallen for her. David is aware that he & Dora have different minds & goals. David comes to terms with the fact that he has to adapt himself to Dora, to make her life as good as he can. He notices that Dora seems weaker in that second year of marriage than she was in the first.
She becomes pregnant, but the baby does not live. After the pregnancy, Dora can't walk or run.Dora tells Miss Betsey that she wants to make Jip race-he is getting slow & lazy. Miss Betsey tells Dora that Jip is growing old. Dora starts to worry over Jip; & grows afraid of the future. She grows happy & cheerful again, but she still can't walk or run. David carries her downstairs in the morning & upstairs at night. Miss Betsey nurses Dora.Mr. Dick carries the candles up & down the stairs after her. David starts to feel a kind of dread at how light Dora is getting in his arms.
Chapter 49--SummaryI Am Involved in a Mystery
David receives a letter from Mr. Micawber at his law office that shocks him. He writes that he has hit a run of bad luck & that he wants to confide in his old friend. He must take a brief vacation from Canterbury because life has become awful. He hopes that David & Mr. Traddles will meet him when he comes to London for 2 days.Mr. Micawber stresses that Mrs. Micawber is unaware of his plan to come to the city. David is sure that there is something important going on in the letter, though Mr. Micawber doesn't come out and say it.
Traddles finds David because he has just received a letter from Mrs. Micawber. She says that she is unhappy about Mr. Micawber's secretiveness with his family. Mr. Micawber is growing unhappy: he has said that he has sold his soul to the devil. Mrs. Micawber has figured out that he is planning a secret trip to London. She asks Traddles & David to meet with Mr. Micawber & reason with him.
Traddles thinks these letters are significant, but he can't think what's behind them. David writes a letter to Mrs. Micawber on behalf of both him & Traddles assuring her of their plan to meet Mr. Micawber. They go to meet Mr. Micawber. He is looking less genteel & dapper than before. He seems low-spirited. He starts talking very formally to Traddles & David- David tells him to relax. Micawber recalls those long-ago days when he was an inmate in debtors prison. At least then, he could look his fellow men in the face!
David asks Mr. Micawber how Uriah Heep is. Mr. Micawber says that he's a devilish horrible person. David then asks how Mr. Wickfield & Agnes are. He says that Agnes is a lovely girl of superior character. David invites Mr. Micawber to come out to Highgate & meet Miss Betsey. They all set off to Miss Betsey's house because Dora is ill.
Mr. Dick shakes Mr. Micawber's hand in a very friendly manner, which cheers up Mr. Micawber a tiny bit.Miss Betsey addresses Mr. Micawber directly: she asks after Mrs. Micawber & his family. Mr. Micawber is worried because he's about to lose his job.Mr. Micawber keeps talking around the problem, saying that all is ruined & that everything is the matter. And it all comes back to one Uriah Heep.
Mr. Micawber has decided that he can no longer live this life; he wants to return to his family.Uriah Heep, is a complete scoundrel--he shouts.Micawber works himself into such a state over Uriah Heep that he rushes out the door.
In the midst of all his passion, he finds the time to write a letter:Mr. Micawber apologizes to Miss Betsey for his excitement that night.He asks for another meeting in a week's time at a restaurant in Canterbury.
Chapter 50--SummaryMr. Peggotty's Dream Comes True
David doesn't hear anything from Martha Endell for several months, but she's in touch with Mr. Peggotty.David thinks that Emily must be dead.Mr. Peggotty's faith that she's alive never changes. Dora grows to like Mr. Peggotty & sees him quite often.Mr. Peggotty tells David that Martha has been to see him, & to ask that Mr. Peggotty absolutely not leave England but she won't say why.
David doesn't want to get Mr. Peggotty's hopes up, so he says nothing about this. 2 weeks later & 2 days after David saw Mr. Micawber, he is walking in his garden. A woman beckons him over: it is Martha Endell.She asks David to come with her immediately. David & Martha go into downtown London. Martha guides David down one of the dark & grungy streets to a poor lodging-house. David walks up to the top story of the house.
In the shadows on the staircase, he can see a woman walking ahead of them. Martha exclaims that she doesn't know the woman who has gone into this room. David knows her--Miss Dartle. Martha leads David softly up the stairs, but she indicates that he must not say anything. Miss Dartle is inside telling someone that she has come to see her. A voice speaks & David recognizes Emily.Miss Dartle asks how Emily can show her face to Miss Dartle, after she has done so much.
Miss Dartle won't let Emily leave; if she tries, Miss Dartle will tell the whole world Emily's history. Emily sounds scared.Miss Dartle asks how Steerforth can have fallen for such fake modesty. Emily begs Miss Dartle to be merciful, because of her suffering. Miss Dartle tells Emily that she can't be moved by Emily's tears. She reproaches Emily with the home Emily has ruined.
Emily weeps to think of the pain her uncle & her family has gone through.Miss Dartle looks down on Emily & mocks her for thinking that Miss Dartle meant Emily's family; she meant her own. Emily protests: when Steerforth first came to her, she truly loved him! She believed that she would be his wife!Miss Dartle threatens that, if she had her way, Emily would be whipped to death. She mocks Emily for daring to claim that she knows how to love.
Miss Dartle warns Emily to hide herself among her family or to die, because Miss Dartle will hunt her down wherever Emily goes & tell everyone what kind of a creature she is. David is in agony waiting for Mr. Peggotty, because he cannot bear to hear this torture. Miss Dartle tells Emily that she should spend the rest of her days thinking of Steerforth's treatment of her, or of her own lost virtue - and then she should die.
Miss Dartle hears a footstep on the stairs & walks out the door, but not without warning Emily again of her plans. Mr. Peggotty comes in & embraces a fainting Emily. Mr. Peggotty thanks God that he has finally found his darling niece.He carries Emily down the stairs.
Chapter 51 SummaryThe Beginning of a Longer Journey
David is walking with Miss Betsey in the garden early the next morning when Mr. Peggotty comes by to speak to David. He tells them that he brought Emily to his lodging house the night before. Mr. Peggotty tells Emily's story: After she flees from the house where Littimer has kept her a prisoner, she runs along the beach.She is so out of it that she thinks she is running towards the old boat house.A woman finds Emily lying on a rock near the shore & starts to speak to her.Emily can barely speak, she feels so ill. This woman - a pregnant young wife - tries to help Emily. Mr. Peggotty stops to bless the woman & her child, & Miss Betsey also does this blessing.
Emily tells her whole story.The woman takes Emily home, & convinces her neighbors to keep Emily's presence a secret.Emily gets a bad fever, & she forgets Italian. The young woman keeps helping her. Emily falls into delirium & thinks she sees familiar faces all around her, both bad & good. One morning, she wakes up clear-headed. Emily begins to recover, & her knowledge of Italian starts to come back.
When Emily is strong again, she travels to France & becomes a maid at an inn in a port town. One day, Littimer comes into sight, & Emily runs away again without him ever seeing her. She jumps on a boat to England. Once in England, she worries that her uncle will never forgive her. Emily runs to London, alone & penniless. She runs into a woman who offers her lodging for the night & a job as a needleworker. This woman is Martha! Mr. Peggotty thanks David for recommending that Mr. Peggotty trust in Martha. Martha has been true to her word.
Martha tells Emily that she has seen Mr. Peggotty & that he forgives Emily. Martha nurses Emily until she can go out & find Mr. Peggotty. Mr. Peggotty has no idea how Miss Dartle might have found Emily, but he suspects it's Littimer. David asks if Mr. Peggotty has decided what to do for the future. Mr. Peggotty is going to sail with Emily to Australia, where no one will reproach Emily.
Emily & Mr. Peggotty will go alone: Peggotty is too fond of David to leave, & Ham - can't as he is still broken-hearted. Mr. Peggotty doesn't know what to do about Mrs. Gummidge. He wants to leave Mrs. Gummidge an allowance so that she can provide for herself. Emily will rest with Mr. Peggotty while preparations are being made. Mr. Peggotty's last piece of business is to send back the banknotes that came from Steerforth & that Emily sent to him. He plans to direct them to Mrs. Steerforth's house.
Mr. Peggotty asks David to come with him to Yarmouth.Dora seems better, so David goes with Mr. Peggotty. David doesn't want to be there when Mr. Peggotty first meets Peggotty & Ham, so he stops to see Mr. Omer first. Mr. Omer is in a wheelchair, but he seems in good spirits. David is impressed by how cheerful Mr. Omer is: he says he enjoys the newspaper twice as much now that he's placed in his chair.
Joram & Minnie are both happy, & Joram's work is going well.Mr. Omer compliments David on his own work, which he claims to have enjoyed very much .David thanks Mr. Omer for all of his kindness towards Emily & explains that she has been found by her uncle. Mr. Omer is happy to hear it and asks what has become of Martha? David says that he is not sure yet, but he's sure Mr. Peggotty has a plan. Mr. Omer says he'll be happy to find some way to help Martha, & he's sure that Minnie will be glad to help, too.
Mr. Omer adds that Ham is the best man in Yarmouth, always willing to help other people out.Mr. Omer sends his respects to Ham & then plays with his granddaughter. David heads over to Ham's house. He finds Ham, Mrs. Gummidge, Mr. Peggotty, & Peggotty all around the table. Mr. Peggotty has told them the news. The next day, when Ham comes home from fishing, David gets Ham alone for a bit.
Ham asks if David has seen Emily, & if he plans to see her again? David thinks it would be too painful for her, but he would be happy to write to Emily for Ham if Ham wants to get in touch.Ham thanks him, and asks David to say just this: Ham wants Emily to forgive him.He worries that, if he hadn't pressed Emily to marry him, she might have felt free to talk to him about Steerforth & his plans, & then Ham could have saved her. Ham is unhappy, but he doesn't want Emily to know that. He wants David to convince her that Ham wasn't too badly hurt, & that he's still living a good life.
David promises that he will do his best to soothe Emily's mind.Ham thanks him for that, & for going with Mr. Peggotty on his trip from London to Yarmouth.David approaches the boat house, which has been emptied of furniture. The villagers think the boat house is unlucky now.Mrs. Gummidge suddenly grabs Mr. Peggotty's arm & begs him not to leave her behind. Mr. Peggotty says that they are in for a long trip & a hard life, but Mrs. Gummidge doesn't care - she will die if she is left behind.
Mrs. Gummidge begs David to speak to Mr. Peggotty & convince him for her. She kisses Mr. Peggotty's hand.They carry her trunk out the door, lock up the house, & Mrs. Gummidge travels to London with Mr. Peggotty and David the next day
Chapter 52 SummaryI Assist at An Explosion
The day that David is supposed to go & meet Mr. Micawber, he doesn't want to leave Dora. She's not doing very well. Dora won't hear of David staying behind, so finally she convinces both David & Miss Betsey to go to Canterbury. Dora is excited because they'll come back with so much news. Mr. Dick, Miss Betsey, David, & Traddles all go to Canterbury that night. David walks around the town revisiting old sights.He sees the butcher who he used to fight so often, who now seems like a peaceful fellow with a baby.
David returns to the inn & they sit waiting for Mr. Micawber. He arrives & warns the group that they shall soon have an explosion. Micawber has been corresponding with Traddles, who has advised him how to go forward. He asks the assembled company to present themselves at the Wickfield house in about 5 minutes. Mr. Micawber won't say anything more, & Traddles refuses to explain.
After 5 minutes, the group of 4 goes over to the Wickfield house. They find Mr. Micawber at his desk. They greet Mr. Micawber, pretending that they haven't seen him 5 minutes ago.Mr. Micawber announces them to Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep seems astonished to see them all, but he greets them humbly, as usual. Uriah tells Mr. Micawber to inform Mrs. Heep & Agnes that they have guests.Heep explains that he's fairly busy at present, because he has to pick up Mr. Wickfield's duties.
Traddles says something ambiguous: that if he had known Mr. Wickfield earlier, he might have called on Uriah Heep long ago. It sounds threatening, but Uriah Heep clearly can't figure out if Traddles is trying to intimidate him. Agnes comes into the room. Mr. Micawber & Traddles exchange a subtle signal, & Traddles slips out of the door.
Uriah Heep dismisses Mr. Micawber, but Mr. Micawber doesn't leave. Heep tries to get rid of Mr. Micawber again, but Mr. Micawber calls him a scoundrel. Uriah Heep's whole manner completely changes: gone is all of his talk of "umble" this & "umble" that. He calls David scum & a puppy, he threatens to expose Miss Betsey's husband to the law, & he promises to ruin Mr. Wickfield if Agnes doesn't do what he says.Traddles returns to the room with Mrs. Heep.
He tells Uriah Heep that he has the authority to act on Mr. Wickfield's behalf. Mrs. Heep tries to say something, but Uriah stops her. Uriah Heep turns on David and accuses him of bribing his clerk (Mr. Micawber) to work against him. He throws in some details about David's past on the streets that he presumably learned from Mr. Micawber. Mr. Micawber takes this opportunity to launch into a letter about Uriah Heep's crimes.
Micawber claims that he was seduced into the criminal life by Uriah Heep's payment of his debts.Mr. Micawber accuses Uriah Heep of 3 things:(1) When Mr. Wickfield's memory for business became poor, Uriah Heep deliberately made his work more difficult to confuse him. He forced Mr. Wickfield to sign withdrawal notes for sums of money for business dealings that were made up by Uriah Heep. He made sure that the withdrawal notes looked like the dishonesty started with Mr. Wickfield, & not with Uriah Heep.
Uriah Heep blackmailed Mr. Wickfield with these made up notes. Uriah Heep demands that Micawber prove this accusation.It turns out that Uriah Heep burned a notebook in his house, the same house that Mr. Micawber is currently living in.Mr. Micawber does have proof of Uriah Heep's wrongdoing.Mrs. Heep begs Uriah to negotiate some kind of compromise, but Uriah won't listen to her.
(2) Uriah Heep has forged Mr. Wickfield's signature on a variety of documents. Mr. Micawber has proof: in the notebook, he has found several practice signatures imitating Mr. Wickfield's own handwriting. Mr. Micawber handed this book over to Traddles earlier that day. Mrs. Heep again begs Uriah to negotiate for his freedom. Uriah Heep demands that she shut up, because she's just feeding David what he wants to know.
(3) Mr. Micawber has a collection of Uriah Heep's falsified books & real notes. These documents show how Uriah Heep has been undermining & manipulating Mr. Wickfield for years. The most recent document is one in which Mr. Wickfield gives up his share in the partnership, & signs over his furniture to Uriah, in exchange for an annual allowance. Even the rumors of Mr. Wickfield's terrible business dealings & borrowing of money at high interest were created by none other than Uriah Heep.
Agnes is weeping with both joy & sorrow. Mr. Micawber folds up the letter & hands it to Miss Betsey.Uriah Heep throws open his office safe & finds all of his books gone.Mr. Micawber informs Uriah that he has handed them over to Traddles for safekeeping. Miss Betsey grabs Uriah Heep's lapel & demands her property.Miss Betsey really didn't lose her own money. When she thought it was Mr. Wickfield's fault, she would never have told anyone, not even David.But now she knows Uriah Heep's fault, & she demands it back. Mrs. Heep, is begging everyone to let her son go.
Uriah Heep sits his mother down & asks David what he wants done. Traddles demands that Uriah Heep hand over the deed relinquishing Mr. Wickfield's stake in the business. He also insists that Uriah Heep must repay everything he stole. Uriah Heep must stay locked in his room & not speak to anyone. Mr. Dick accompanies Mrs. Heep to find the deed of relinquishment.Uriah Heep turns on David again, telling him that he's an upstart who has always been against Uriah.
David repeats that Uriah Heep has always been against the world. Mr. Micawber invites them all to come witness his reunion with Mrs. Micawber & his children. Agnes needs to go see to her father & someone has to guard Uriah Heep. Mr. Dick, Miss Betsey, & David go home with Mr. Micawber. He runs straight into the arms of his wife. She faints first because she is so happy to be back in the confidence of her husband. Miss Betsey surveys the Micawber children.The oldest kid has become a lounge singer. Miss Betsey asks if Mr. Micawber has ever considered emigrating elsewhere? She suggests that it might be a good thing if Mr. Micawber decided to leave England
Miss Betsey offers the Micawbers a gift of the money to travel with as thanks for Mr. Micawber's help with Uriah Heep. Miss Betsey suggests that the Micawbers travel on the same ship with Mr. Peggotty, Mrs. Gummidge, & Emily.
Miss Betsey claims that Australia has the finest climate in the world, & there are plenty of opportunities for a man who is willing to work.Mr. Micawber agrees that this sounds like a great idea.
Ch. 53 SummaryAnother Retrospect
David has to pause to recount the death of Dora. She was sick so long that he really doesn't remember her well. Jip seems very old. Dora never complains & is grateful for David & Miss Betsey's care. David sits with Dora & remembers times past, when they first fell in love with one another. He no longer carries Dora downstairs; she lies in bed all day.Dora asks to see Agnes, & David promises to write to her.
David's wife asks if she misses him when he goes downstairs & he does. Dora embraces David.She admits that she thinks she will never be well again. David doesn't want Dora to think like that. Agnes arrives & spends the whole day with Dora, David, & Miss Betsey. When they are alone-David sits holding Dora's hand. She thinks she was too young when they were married - she thinks she was not fit to be a wife, because she was so inexperienced.
Dora tells David that she has been very happy, but she is sure that David would have gotten tired of her as the years go by. She wants to speak to Agnes completely by herself, even without Miss Betsey. David goes downstairs & sends Agnes up. David weeps as he sits by the fire & remembers the arguments he & Dora had. The dog lies down at David's feet & passes away. David looks up at Agnes. Dora has passed away as well, & David can't remember anything for a time.
Chapter 54 summaryMr. Micawber's Transactions
David's grief becomes so intense that he begins to think that he will never be happy again. David associates this terrible time with Agnes, who is the first person he sees when he wakes up from his faint. He & his friends decide that it would be best for David to go abroad. The only thing David is waiting for is the final fate of Uriah Heep. Traddles invites David, Miss Betsey, & Agnes back to Canterbury. They all meet at Mr. Micawber's house.
Miss Betsey asks the Micawbers if they've given any thought to her suggestion that they move to Australia. Mr. Micawber agrees that they would like to move. Because Mr. Micawber is about to embark on a new career as an Australian, Mrs. Micawber would like to repair the relations between him & her family but he doesn't want to - he describes them as ruffians & snobs.
Traddles apologizes to David for getting him involved in business, but he thinks it will be a good distraction for David. David tells Traddles he's a bit worried about Miss Betsey, who has been going into London for long periods of unexplained time. Miss Betsey tells David not to worry about it; it will all be explained in time.Traddles compliments Mr. Micawber, who has never done much for himself but works endlessly for other people.
Traddles explains that Mr. Dick has also been working wonders, with his untiring dedication to watching Mr. Wickfield. His health has improved since Uriah Heep has been removed from his life. Traddles has found that Mr. Wickfield's affairs can be settled without any loss of honor or damage to his investors. Once all of the accounts have been settled, he doesn't have very much money left to live on.
Traddles suggests that Mr. Wickfield stays in business, with the advice of his friends but Agnes decides that this would be a very bad idea. She wants Mr. Wickfield to be free & retired. She has decided that the best thing for her to do would be to rent out Mr. Wickfield's house, to start a school, & to support Mr. Wickfield.Traddles moves on to Miss Betsey's property next. Originally, she had 8,000 pounds invested with Mr. Wickfield. He has only been able to find 5,000 pounds in her name.
Miss Betsey admits that that's all there should be by now - Miss Betsey used a thousand to pay for David's apprenticeship, and she has kept aside 2000 for a rainy day. Miss Betsey didn't tell David of this extra 2000 to see how he would rise to the challenge of supporting his family. Traddles is relieved to hear that they have recovered all of Miss Betsey's money.
Having been deceived by Uriah Heep into thinking that he had stolen Miss Betsey's money to cover other debts, Mr. Wickfield wrote a letter to Miss Betsey accusing himself of robbery.To protect Mr. Wickfield, Miss Betsey burned the letter & never mentioned his involvement to anyone. Now, with all of Mr. Micawber's evidence against him, Uriah Heep has had no choice but to produce the money again. Uriah Heep also confesses that he didn't really need Miss Betsey's money. He just wanted to steal it to hurt David.
Traddles informs the group that Uriah Heep has left London with his mother. Traddles is sure that Uriah Heep will fall into crime once more, even though he must have a fair amount of money at hand. Mr. Micawber's patience is what has brought all of the evidence to light against Uriah Heep. One of Traddles's worries about Mr. Micawber is that he is due to be arrested any day for writing I.O.U.s he's never paid.
Mr. Micawber still owes about 103 pounds. They all agree to give Mr. Micawber the money to pay his debts & to pay for his family's trip to Australia. David also decides to ask Mr. Peggotty for help. David will give Mr. Peggotty a 100 pounds & if Mr. Peggotty agrees, Mr. Peggotty can give the money to Mr. Micawber.Mr. Micawber will be inclined to befriend Mr. Peggotty, if he tells Mr. Micawber a little bit about Mr. Peggotty's personal history. The issue of Miss Betsey's husband is the final point that Traddles brings up.
Traddles has been unable to find any information about Miss Betsey's husband & his relationship with Uriah Heep.Miss Betsey's eyes overflow with tears, but she absolutely does not want to talk about it- she asks Traddles & David not to mention him again. David's aunt calls Mr. & Mrs. Micawber back into the room & explains the financial terms of their travel.
Miss Betsey advises Mr. Micawber never to write out I.O.U.s ever again.Mr. Micawber agrees that it would be better to put your hand in the fire than to go into debt.Miss Betsey asks David to come with her on a journey the next morning at 9 AM. David agrees.David drives with his aunt to a hospital. There is a hearse sitting next to the hospital.The driver recognizes Miss Betsey.David realizes that Miss Betsey's husband has died.
Uriah Heep's threat was in vain: Miss Betsey's husband died the night before the confrontation with Heep in Canterbury.This day is the 36 anniversary of Miss Betsey's wedding. Miss Betsey bursts into tears & exclaims that her husband was a good man when they got married, but he changed.
They return to Miss Betsey's home in Highgate.They find a note from Mr. Micawber. He has been arrested because of some unpaid debts.But there is a postscript. Traddles has paid all of Mr. Micawber's debts in Miss Betsey's name, & Mr. Micawber is happy again.
Chapter 55 SummaryTempest
The time is coming quickly for Mr. Peggotty, Emily, & the Micawbers to sail to Australia. David often sees Peggotty & Mr. Peggotty together, but he never sets eyes on Emily. He changes his mind about sending a letter to Emily as she departs Britain with her uncle. David wants to give Emily a chance to reply if she wants to. David writes to Emily with the message Ham gave to him He passes on this letter to Mr. Peggotty.
Feeling unwell, David doesn't wake up the next day until Miss Betsey comes to tell him Mr. Peggotty wants to see him.Mr. Peggotty is carrying a letter from Emily to Ham. If David thinks it's okay, he should pass the letter on to Ham himself.David asks if Mr. Peggotty has read the letter. He has. The letter thanks Ham for his comforting words.Emily hopes that they will meet again in another world where she can be forgiven.
David tells Mr. Peggotty that he will bring the letter with him to Yarmouth. Worried about Ham, David sits there all alone; he thinks it will be a kindness to Ham to hand-deliver the letter. Mr. Peggotty tries to persuade David not to, but he insists.As David takes the coach to Yarmouth, he notices that the sky is growing dark: there's a storm on the way. After spending the night in Yarmouth, David wakes to a stronger wind than he has ever seen there.David walks out to the sea, where he sees sailors & women mourning for missing fishermen.
He can't find Ham among the people on the beach. David spends the day searching & worrying. When he returns to the dock, David finds a man who laughs & tells him no one born on the coast would have sailed on a day like that. David keeps worrying about Ham's safety & he starts feeling some nameless fear he can't figure out.
David goes to bed. He dozes a bit but then springs awake. Feeling restless, he eventually gets dressed & goes downstairs. He finds several people waiting for news clustered in the inn kitchen. David sits & waits for several hours before going back to his room.A knock on his door calls him out of his room. There's a wreck near the shore that could go down at any minute, a boat from Spain or Portugal that is filled with wine & fruit.
David runs towards the beach where he sees it, a broken-masted ship with its sailors struggling to keep it afloat.He sees Ham running across to the ship. David tries to prevent Ham from getting to the boat for fear that he'll kill himself. Ham tells David: if it's time for him to go, he'll go, but he's not trying to die. Ham does his best to haul the boat to land.
He is injured: there's blood on his face. Ham keeps trying to rescue the boat, but he's finally overcome by the strength of the waves. David sits by Ham's bed watching his body.A fisherman who knew David & Emily when they were children asks David to come back to the beach. A body has washed ashore. The body is James Steerforth's.
Chapter 56 SummaryThe New Wound and the Old
Having seen Steerforth's drowned body, David remembers the last thing Steerforth said to him: "Think of me at my best!".The fishermen bring Steerforth's body to the same room in which Ham's body has been laid, but they decide that's kind of wrong.They move Steerforth's body to the inn where David is staying. David has Joram help him transport the body to London to go to Steerforth's mother.David arrives at Mrs. Steerforth's house & knocks on the door.
He asks if Mrs. Steerforth is at home.Next to Mrs. Steerforth sits Miss Rosa Dartle. Mrs. Steerforth notices that David is dressed all in black. David replies that he is in mourning for his wife. Mrs. Steerforth offers her condolences.From the look on David's face, Steerforth's mother guesses that something is wrong with her son.Miss Dartle clearly knows that Steerforth is dead.But David has to clarify for Mrs. Steerforth.
Mrs. Steerforth asks Miss Dartle for help, but Miss Dartle immediately starts to quarrel with her. Miss Dartle points to the scar on her lip & asks Mrs. Steerforth if she remembers how Miss Dartle got it. She blames Steerforth's bad temper on the way Mrs. Steerforth spoiled him. David tries to stop Miss Dartle, but she refuses to be quiet. Miss Dartle screams that she has always loved Steerforth better than his mother has.After he disfigured her face, neither Mrs. Steerforth nor her son ever really believed that Miss Dartle had true feelings.
Miss Dartle blames all of Steerforth's faults on his mother. David replies that, if Miss Dartle can't forget his faults even at this moment, at least she should help his mother. Miss Dartle kneels next to Mrs. Steerforth & curses David.
David leaves the house & brings Mrs. Steerforth the body of her son.Mrs. Steerforth is comatose; she doesn't respond to her doctors at all.David finds the house completely silent & death-like except for the occasional cry from Mrs. Steerforth.
Chapter 57 SummaryThe Emigrants
David decides not to tell Mr. Peggotty or Emily about what has happened to Steerforth or Ham. He asks Mr. Micawber to help him keep the secret-Mr. Micawber promises. Traddles & David come to the Micawbers' house to see them off.David tells Traddles about Steerforth's death. Traddles is shocked. Miss Betsey, Peggotty, & Agnes all come to help the Micawbers pack. David tells Peggotty that Ham is well, & he promises Mr. Peggotty that he delivered Emily's letter to Ham.
The Micawbers are setting sail at 7 A.M. Until then, Mr. Micawber plans to sit with Mr. Peggotty to watch their luggage. Mr. Micawber asks Mrs. Micawber to produce her famous punch so they can all drink a toast to future success.All of this merrymaking is interrupted when a boy comes in to tell Mr. Micawber that he has a visitor. It's someone who has come to arrest Mr. Micawber for yet another debt.
David goes down to pay the money Mr. Micawber owes. Mr. Micawber hugs David & thanks him. Mr. Micawber then remembers to hand Traddles a complete account of all of his debts. Mrs. Micawber still predicts that her family will come to make amends. Miss Betsey asks Mrs. Micawber to write to them regularly.The Micawbers go off into fantasies of what the voyage to Australia will be like. Mrs. Micawber hopes that someday, the Micawbers might be able to return again to England.
That afternoon, David goes to the docks. He finds Mr. Peggotty, who tells David that Mr. Micawber has been arrested for his debts. Mr. Peggotty has used some of David's money to bail him out. Mr. Micawber comes up & takes Mr. Peggotty's arm in a gesture of friendship. David is quite surprised by the people collected around the boat to Australia, people of all ages, shapes, & sizes.
Mr. Peggotty asks David if there's anything they have forgotten.David asks about Martha Endell, the younger woman who is helping Mrs. Gummidge arrange their luggage.Mr. Peggotty has decided to take Martha with Emily to Australia.Mr. Peggotty's generosity impresses David. David gives Mr. Peggotty the message Ham had asked him to tell Mr. Peggotty, & Mr. Peggotty gives messages to Ham in return. After hugging Mr. Peggotty, David leaves the dock with Peggotty. David sees Emily standing on the deck next to her uncle. She sees David & waves goodbye.
Chapter 58 SummaryAbsence
David travels away from England for the first time. Slowly, he comes to realize how far he is from everything he loves. He feels this immense & deepening grief over the loss of Dora.Feeling worse, David roams from place to place. When he feels at his darkest, he thinks he should die.David travels like this for months.He winds up in Switzerland, where he is impressed by the scenery.
As David walks down a mountain pass one evening , he feels a sense of calm that pushes aside his sorrow for a time. David finally weeps for Dora's death while surrounded by the beautiful scenery. Once David arrives at his destination, he finds a bunch of letters.The letters are from Agnes.Agnes is happy, & praises David for his strength in the face of his own misfortunes.
David feels a sudden flowering of love for Agnes. He writes to her, saying that, without Agnes, David can never be the kind of man he wants to be. David spends 3 months in Switzerland trying to recover his spirits, to be a better man. He works hard on his writing during this time.David sends a completed story to Traddles, who has it published.His fame as a fiction-writer is growing. David is exercising all the time, so his health is much improved.
David becomes sure that he must already have thrown away the possibility of Agnes's love.Even if she once had those kinds of feelings for David, he is sure that they can't have survived his marriage to another woman. As David tries to become a better man, he hopes that, some day, he might still marry Agnes. As time goes on, he slowly gives up on this hope. He feels that he is not worthy of her.
David realizes that the years of trials Dora had foreseen (and died before experiencing) are happening to David now, & he has no partner to help him.It's been 3 years since Mr. Peggotty traveled with Emily to Australia.David sails home.
Chapter 59 SummaryReturn
David arrives in London in winter. He's been away for 3 years, so he thinks everything will be changed,Miss Betsey has returned to Dover & Traddles is doing great as a lawyer.David surprises Traddles with his return. He's a little disappointed because no one in Traddles's neighborhood seems aware of who he is. David is sure that Traddles has not found much of a reputation as a lawyer. He knocks on the door of Traddles's office.
Traddles welcomes David with open arms & exclaims that he is glad to see David. He's sorry that David came so close to the blessed day but still missed the ceremony. David has no idea what he's talking about - he didn't receive Traddles's last letter. Traddles has finally married Sophy! Sophy emerges into the next room, taking David by surprise. Several of Sophy's sisters have live with Traddles as well.
Traddles enjoys their company. The Beauty & Sarah are both there, along with the 2 youngest Crewlers and Louisa. Traddles explains to David that he put the whole matter once more to Reverend Horace Crewler, who finally agreed to let Traddles marry Sophy. To make money to improve their living situation, Traddles is working hard. He's the happiest man in the world. The 5 Crewler sisters all help. Sophy tells David that she has seen Agnes.
David observes how proud Sophy & Traddles are of Sophy's sisters, & how much care they take of them. Sophy is an incredible caretaker, & David predicts that she will be a perfect mother. David starts to think he can face the future even though he will have no home of the kind Traddles has found. It's is his own fault that Agnes will someday marry someone else, David thinks.
He sees Mr. Chillip reading a newspaper at a coffee house.He is surprised, even though he knows that Mr. Chillip had left Blunderstone some years before.David greets Mr. Chillip, who does not recognize him. He tells Mr. Chillip his name, & finally Mr. Chillip comments on David's resemblance to his father. Mr. Chillip sympathizes with David: he thinks that being a writer must be terribly hard on the old brain. News of Dora's death has reached Mr. Chillip through Miss Murdstone.
Mr. Murdstone lives very near Mr. Chillip's new home. Mr. Murdstone has married another very young woman. Mr. Chillip confides in David that Mr. Murdstone's new wife has been bullied into a broken spirit.Mr. & Miss Murdstone have reduced the new Mrs. Murdstone to a complete child, Mr. Chillip tells David. They guide her about town as though they were her keepers instead of her family.
Mr. Murdstone still pretends that he is doing all of this bullying out of some kind of religious feeling but he's a bad-tempered old cuss.Mr. Chillip is glad to be able to tell David all of this because he needs to vent: Mr. Murdstone has been getting worse lately. The Murdstones are not popular in the neighborhood. David spends some time telling Mr. Chillip about his own fortunes & his aunt - whom Mr. Chillip still remembers from the night David was born.David travels on to Dover, where he is welcomed by Mr. Dick, Peggotty, & Miss Betsey.
David & Miss Betsey spend much of the evening catching up. Miss Betsey asks when David will be going to visit Canterbury. David plans to go the next day. Miss Betsey warns him that Mr. Wickfield has grown suddenly old, though he is a much better man.David's aunt tells him that Agnes continues to be as serious & beautiful as ever. David asks if Agnes has any suitors for her hand. She might have married 20 times in the past 3 yearsDavid asks if Agnes has anyone serious in mind.
Miss Betsey says only that she thinks Agnes is in love with someone. But she won't say who. David assumes that Agnes will be happy to confide in him as though he is a brother. He rides away the next morning to Canterbury. David remembers his old school days when he lived with the Wickfields. Agnes almost faints away, when David surprises her. David is so pleased to see her again, but Agnes calms him down.
He asks Agnes about the school that she started for young ladies. Agnes enjoys the work so much that it barely seems like work at all. She invites David to stay the night & see Mr. Wickfield. David can't; he promised to see Miss Betsey that evening. He's happy to spend the day with the Wickfields. David decides that the best thing he can do is to guard this sisterly feeling she has towards him, because he couldn't bear to lose her entirely by getting too serious with his feelings.
David returns to Agnes's house to find Mr. Wickfield at home.Mr. Wickfield does not drink at all. Agnes's father looks back on the old days with much regret, but he is proud of his daughter's hard work & her faithfulness to those she loves.Mr. Wickfield tells David of Agnes's mother. Agnes's mother married Mr. Wickfield against her father's wishes, & he disowned her. This broke her heart, & she was never happy.
Her death left Mr. Wickfield miserable. Agnes asks David if he plans to travel again & she asks him not to, since his success is growing & he has more of a chance of doing good. David thanks Agnes: she is always directing him to do better, to be better.He tells Agnes that, until the day he dies, he will always see her as an inspiration to be a good man. David rides home feeling a bit better about life: maybe someday he'll be able to tell Agnes all of his feelings.
Chapter 61 SummaryI Am Shown Two Interesting Penitents
David spends some time finishing up his book at his aunt's house. David travels in to London to see Traddles, who is managing his business affairs.It turns out that Sophy has been training as a copy clerk to keep up with Traddles's work. David compliments Traddles & Sophy as being 2 of the happiest people in the world. Traddles agrees. Traddles admits, the other day while he was in court he went back to his boyhood habit of drawing skeletons. This reminds David that he has received a letter from old Mr. Creakle, his headmaster.
Mr. Creakle is now a magistrate & has invited David to come & see prison discipline in action.David suggests that Traddles accompany David to see Mr. Creakle. Mr. Creakle is very kind to his prisoners. The ex-schoolmaster welcomes David to his prison as though they were great friends, & he does the same to Traddles.
The secret Mr. Creakle relies on in his prison is total isolation, which leads the prisoners to repent their evil deeds. Despite Mr. Creakle's claims, when they actually walk through the prison as part of a tour group, David is pretty sure from the design of their cells that the prisoners get to speak to each other. One model prisoner is Number 27; a second is Number 28.Number 27 is very pious & holy, & frequently writes to his mother.
Mr. Creakle leads David to Number 27, who is reading hymns. Number 27 is Uriah Heep. He asks how David & Traddles are. Uriah Heep tells them that he is very humble today. Heep claims that he is much more comfortable in prison than he ever was outside. Uriah tells the tour group that he deserves to be in prison as a consequence of his behavior, & that he must bear his punishment without grumbling.The tour group is very approving.
They're next led to Number 28, & it is Littimer! Littimer claims to be troubled by memories of his past deeds & sins. He says that he is perfectly happy. Littimer tells the group that he sees a gentleman among their number who he used to know. That gentleman should repent of his bad behavior before it's too late. David notices a number of men in the group hiding their faces guiltily. Littimer then clarifies that the "gentleman" should tell the "young woman who fell into dissolute courses" He forgives her for leading him astray, before wishing them all a good day.
They return to Uriah Heep.Mr. Creakle asks if he needs anything. Uriah Heep wants to write to his mother; he is afraid that she is not safe. Heep wishes his mother had come to prison; He thinks everyone would be better off in prison.Uriah Heep promises Mr. Creakle that he is a changed man. Uriah then reminds David of his own violent impulses - why, he struck Uriah on the face once! (The whole tour group looks angrily at David.)
Uriah Heep claims that he forgives David, & he hopes that David and the Wickfields all repent. Uriah Heep has been sent to prison due to bank fraud. Littimer robbed a man he was working for, but he was turned in by a little person - Miss Mowcher!He injured Miss Mowcher quite badly, but she wouldn't let him go. David & Traddles both realize that there is no point in telling Mr. Creakle that Littimer and Uriah are lying hypocrites.They leave the pair of them to the prison system.
Chapter 62 SummaryA Light Shines On My Way
It's Christmas, & David has been home for 2 months. He rides over to Agnes's house at least once a week.David still respects her more than any other woman he knows. He has accepted that he loves Agnes, but he still feels too ashamed of his own blindness in marrying Dora to tell her his feeling. Miss Betsey is aware of David's feelings for Agnes, but they never talk about it together. David's aunt seems to understand why David hesitates to say anything to Agnes about his love.
David is planning to ride over to Canterbury to see Agnes.David needs to get out of the house; he's been working hard at his writing, & he needs a break. As David leaves, he asks Miss Betsey if she has heard anything more of Agnes being engaged to someone. Miss Betsey stares closely at David's face & predicts that Agnes will be married soon. David's aunt blesses Agnes and "her husband".
He rides out into the winter weather.Agnes is home alone; all of her girl students have gone home for the holidays. She notices that David seems thoughtful. David tells Agnes that he wants to tell her something.He asks Agnes if she remembers, when David came home, all the gratitude he offered her for her kindness. Agnes remembers how grateful David has been.David asks Agnes to share her feelings with him.He asks her to trust him, & to tell him who she has fallen in love with.
Agnes looks at David, jumps up, puts her hands over her face, & bursts into tears. David asks Agnes what is the matter.Agnes begs David to leave & come back later.David promises Agnes that he will not be jealous or difficult; he just wants to know what Agnes is truly feeling. Agnes tells David that her secret is not a new one, but she can't tell David what it is. She tries to leave the room, & David grabs her arm.
David feels filled with hope that he knows what this old secret of Agnes's might be. He confesses that what he feels for Agnes is *not* brotherly affection: he loves her, but he feels guilty saying it because she is so much better than he is as a person.Agnes still weeps, but it seems to be from joy. David tries to tell Agnes of all of his feeling for her: the way he leaned on her sympathy when he was married to Dora, the way he relied on Agnes when he lost Dora, the way he pined for Agnes when he went away.
Agnes is so happy to hear David's feelings, & confesses to David that she has loved him her whole life. The 2 of them cry together from happiness.They go for a long walk that evening. David & Agnes go to Miss Betsey's house, where she seems completely surprised to see Agnes. David tells Miss Betsey that he has been talking about the "attachment" Miss Betsey says Agnes is supposed to have.
Miss Betsey looks annoyed & embarrassed that David shared Miss Betsey's gossip with Agnes. David & Agnes clasp hands to show Miss Betsey what David is saying. Miss Betsey gets hysterical. Peggotty comes running at all the commotion, so does Mr. Dick. Miss Betsey is so excited that she hugs both Peggotty & Mr. Dick. David & Agnes are married 2 weeks later, in front of Traddles, Sophy, & Doctor & Mrs. Strong. On their first night as husband & wife, Agnes tells David what Dora asked Agnes the night that Dora died. Dora wanted no one but Agnes to become David's 2nd wife.David & Agnes weep together thinking of Dora's final sacrifice.
Chapter 63 SummaryA Visitor
It's been about 10 years since Agnes & David were married. David & Agnes are sitting by the fire with 3 of their children. A stranger comes in asking to see David. A couple of the children, including their youngest, little Agnes, hide at the news that a stranger is coming to see David.This stranger is a handsome old man.Little Agnes is so charmed by his appearance that she rushes over to him. Agnes identifies the old man as Mr. Peggotty.
Mr. Peggotty tells David that he is glad to see him & to see David's children. David's old friend has sailed from Australia to stay for a month in England; he's heading back to Australia.Mr. Peggotty wanted to come especially to see David & his wife. Australia has been good for Mr. Peggotty: he has taken up farming & has prospered.Emily was depressed when they first sailed away from England, but she began to feel better about herself once she dedicated herself to helping the sick.
Once Mr. Peggotty heard the news of the storm that killed Ham, he kept it from Emily for almost a year. Emily found out by accident: she happened to help a traveler originally from their area of England, who was carrying a newspaper with news of the disaster.Mr. Peggotty says that she has pulled through these dark times, but she is much changed: her manner is timid yet kind. The people in the neighborhood don't know the truth of Emily's disgrace, & she has had lots of opportunities to get married. She keeps telling Mr. Peggotty she won't be married--that's over for her.
Martha Endell has gotten married, to a man who knows her true history, but who doesn't care. Mrs. Gummidge has also gotten a proposal, but she didn't accept it -she refused by overturning a bucket on the poor man's head. Mrs. Gummidge has been a true friend to Mr. Peggotty, & has not complained of loneliness or sorrow since arriving at the colony.
Mr. Peggotty pulls out a bit of newspaper with an article on Mr. Micawber. Mr. Micawber is doing very well in Australia: he's become a magistrate.The newspaper also mentions young Master Micawber's singing & Mrs. Micawber's family (which, it claims, is well known in England). The town where the Micawbers have settled has a school called Colonial Salem House, run by, Mr. Mell, the poor teacher who got kicked out of David's first school due to Steerforth's bad treatment
David is very glad to hear that Mr. Mell (now Doctor Mell) is in happier circumstances. Mr. Peggotty has brought a letter from Mr. Micawber, which salutes David in a grand style.Mr. Micawber has been following David's writing career from Australia, & he's impressed. David also finds that Mr. Micawber has written the article David was just reading in Mr. Peggotty's local newspaper.
Mr. Peggotty spends many evenings with David & Agnes chatting over old & new events. Before he sails back to Australia, Mr. Peggotty & David go the graveyard in Yarmouth where David has put up a plaque for Ham.Mr. Peggotty takes a handful of grass from the gravesite to bring back to Little Emily.
Chapter 64 SummaryA Last Retrospect
David is starting on his last chapter, & he's going to spend it looking back one last time at all of the characters of his story. He sees Agnes sitting next to him, surrounded by family & friends. He sees Miss Betsey, 80 years old but tough as ever, with Peggotty by her side. Miss Betsey has become a godmother to Betsey Trotwood--David's daughter. Peggotty always carries the old book David used to read with her, the Crocodile Book, to show to David's children.
During the summer holidays, David's sons fly kites with Mr. Dick. Mr. Dick continues to promise that the Memorial will be finished when he has time.David sees a senile old woman who doesn't recognize him any more: Mrs. Steerforth. She is accompanied by Miss Dartle, as spiteful as ever, but still looking after Mrs. Steerforth. David sees Julia Mills, the woman who helped him meet up with Dora in secret all of those years ago.Miss Mills has gotten over her broken heart & married a rich man from Scotland.
She has become spoiled & irritable with too much money. Julia has become a member of the dry, barren society that also controls Mr. Jack Maldon - the kind of society that looks down on good men like Doctor Strong. Doctor Strong continues to work on his dictionary. He lives happily with Annie. Mrs. Markleham also continues to live with the Strongs, but she's not so powerful now. Tommy Traddles has become bald & prosperous: he's going to be a judge soon. David attends family dinner with Traddles & Sophy, where he sees all of Traddles's Crewler sisters-in-law with their husbands & children.
Traddles sits at the head of the table like a proper head of this giant family. The only unlucky Crewler has been the eldest, the Beauty, who has been left a widow with 1 child. She is living with Sophy & Traddles. All of these faces from his past fade from his memory except one, which shines before him like a light from heaven.
That face is the one beside him now: Agnes, who continues to guide David to be a better man.