loudest of the party, but I am sure we were all sincere about
it. I was quite heart-broken myself, and am afraid that in
the first transports of wounded tenderness I called Peggotty
a "beast." That honest creature was in deep affliction I-
remember, and must have become quite buttonless on the
occasion; for a little volley of those explosives went off,
when, after having made it up with my mother, she kneeled
down by the elbow chair, and made it up with me.
We went to bed greatly dejected. My sobs kept waking
me for a long time, and when one very strong sob quite
hoisted me up in bed, I found my mother sitting on the
coverlet, and leaning over me. I fell asleep in her arms,
after that, and slept soundly.
Whether it was the following Sunday when I saw the gen-
tleman again, or whether there was any greater lapse of time
before he reappeared, I cannot recall. I don't profess to be -
clear about dates. But there he was, in church, and he
walked home with us afterwards. He came in, too, to look
at a famous geranium we had in the parlor window. It did
not appear to me that he took much notice of it, but before
he went he asked my mother to give him a bit of the blossom.
She begged him to choose it for himself, but he refused to
do that â€” I could not understand why â€” so she plucked it for
him and gave it into his hand. He said he should never,
never part with it any more, and I thought he must be quite
a fool not to know that it would fall to pieces in a day or two.
Peggotty began to be less with us of an evening, than she
had always been. My mother deferred to her very much â€”
more than usual, it occurred to me â€” and we were all three
excellent friends, still we were different from what we used
to be, and were not so comfortable among ourselves. Some-
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 27
times I fancied that Peggotty perhaps objected to my
mother's wearing all the pretty dresses she had in her
drawers, or to her going so often to that neighbor's of an
evening; but I couldn't to my satisfaction, make out how it
Gradually I became used to seeing the gentleman with
the black whiskers. I liked him no better than at first, and
had the same uneasy jealousy of him; but if I had any reason
for it beyond a child's instinctive dislike, and a general idea
that Peggotty and I could make much of my mother without
any help, it certainly was not the reason that I might have
found if I had been older. No such thing came into my
mind or near it. I could observe, in little pieces, as it were;
but as to making a net of a number of these pieces, and
catching any body in it, that was as yet, beyond me.
One autumn morning I was with my mother in the front
garden, when Mr. Murdstone â€” I knew him by that name
now â€” came by, on horseback. He reined up his horse to
salute my mother, and said he was going to Lowestoft to see
some friends who were there with a yacht, and merrily pro-
posed to take me on the saddle before him if I would like
The air was so clear and pleasant, and the horse seemed to
like the idea of the ride so much himself, as he stood snorting
and pawing at the garden gate, that I had a great desire to go.
So I was sent up stairs to Peggotty to be made spruce, and
in the meantime Mr. Murdstone dismounted, and, with his
horse's bridle drawn over his arm, walked slowly up and
down on the outer side of the sweetbrier fence, while my
mother walked slowly up and down on the inner to keep him
company. I recollect Peggotty and I peeping out at them
from my little window; I recollect how closely they appeared
to be examining the sweetbrier between them, as they
strolled along; and how, from being in a perfectly angelic "
temper, Peggotty turned cross in a moment, and brushed my
hair the wrong way, excessively hard.
Mr. Murdstone and I were soon off, and trotting alcJng on
the green turf by the side of the it)ad. He held me quite
easily with one arm, and I don't think I was restless usually;
but I could not make up my mind to sit in front of him with-
out turning my head sometimes, and looking up in his face.
He had that kind of shallow black eye â€” I want a better word
to express Â«ln eye that has no depth in it to be looked into â€”
28 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
which, when it is abstracted, seems, from some peculiarity of
light, to be disfigured, for a moment at a time, by a cast.
Several times when I glanced at him, I observed that ap-
pearance with a sort of awe, and wondered what he was
thinking about so closely. His hair and whiskers were
blacker and thicker, looked at so near, than even I had given
them credit for being. A squareness about the lower part
of his face, and the dotted indication of the strong black
beard he shaved close every day, reminded me of the wax-
work that had travelled into our neighborhood some half
a year before. This, his regular eyebrows, and the rich
white, and black, and brown of his complexion â€” confound
his complexion, and his memory! â€” made me think him, in
spite of my misgivings, a very handsome man. I have no
doubt that my poor dear mother thought him so too.
We went to a hotel by the sea, where two gentlemen were
smoking cigars in a room by themselves. Each of them was
lying on at least four chairs, and had a large rough jacket on.
In a corner was a heap of coats and boat cloaks, and a flag,
all bundled up together.
They both rolled on to their feet in an untidy sort of man-
ner when we came in, and said "Halloa, Murdstone! We
thought you were dead!"
" Not yet," said Mr. Murdstone.
*' And who's this shaver?" said one of the gentlemen,
taking hold of me.
" That's Davy," returned Mr. Murdstone.
" Davy who?" said the gentleman, *' Jones?"
*' Copperfield," said Mr. Murdstone.
"What! Bewitching Mrs. Copperfield's encumbrance?"
cried the gentleman. " The pretty little widow?"
" Quinion," said Mr. Murdstone, " take care if you please.
" Who is?" asked the gentleman, laughing.
I looked up, quickly; being curious to know.
" Only Brooks of Sheffield," said Mr. Murdstone.
I was quite relieved to find it was only Brooks of Sheffield,
for, at first, I really thought it was I.
There seemed to be something very comical in the reputa-
tion of Mr. Brooks of Sheffield, for both the gentlemen
laughed heartily when he was mentioned, and Mr. Murdstone
was a good deal amused also. After some laughing, the gen-
tleman whom he had called Quinion. said:
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 29
" And what is the opinion of Brooks of Sheffield, in refer-
ence to the projected business?"
" Why, I don't know that Brooks understands much about
it at present," replied Mr. Murdstone; "but he is not gen-
erally favorable, I believe."
There was more laughter at this, and Mr, Quinion said, he
would ring the bell for some sherry in which to drink to
Brooks. This he did, and when the wine came, he made me
have a little with a biscuit, and before I drank it, stand up
and say " Confusion to Brooks of Sheffield!" The toast was
received with great applause, and such hearty laughter that
it made me laugh too; at which they laughed the more, in
short, we quite enjoyed ourselves.
We walked about on the cliff after that, and sat on the
grass, and looked at things through a telescope â€” I could
make out nothing myself when it was put to my eye, but I
pretended I could â€” and then we came back to the hotel to
an early dinner. All the time we were out the two gentle-
men smoked incessantly â€” which, I thought, if I might judge
from the smell of their rough coats, they must have been do-
ing ever since the coats had first come home from the tailors.
I must not forget, that we went on board the yacht, where
they all three descended into the cabin, and were busy with
some papers â€” I saw them quite hard at work, when I looked
down through the open skylight. They left me, during this
time, with a very nice man with a very large head of red hair
and a very small shiny hat upon it, who had got a cross-
barred shirt or waistcoat on, with " Skylark" in capital let-
ters, across the chest. I thought it was his name, and that,
as he lived on board ship and hadn't a street door to put his
name on, he put it there instead; but when I called him Mr.
Skylark, he said it meant the vessel.
I observed all day that Mr. Murdstone was graver and
steadier than the two gentlemen. They were very gay and
careless. They joked freely with one another, but seldom
with him. It appeared to me that he was more clever and
cold than they were, and that they regarded him with some-
thing of my own feeling. I remarked that once or twice
when Mr. Quinion was talking, he looked at Mr. Murdstone
sideways, as if to make sure of his not being displeased; and
that once when Mr. Jegg (the other gentleman) was in high
spirits, he trod upon his foot, and gave him a secret caution
with his eyes tg observe Mr. Murdstone, who was sitting
30 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
stern and silent. Nor do I recollect that Mr. Murdstone
laughed at all that day, except at the Sheffield joke â€” and
that, by the by, was his own.
We went home, early in the evening. It was a very fine
evening, and my mother and he had another stroll by the
sweet-brier while I was sent in to get my tea. When he was
gone, my mother asked me all about the day I had had, and
what they had said and done. I mentioned what they had
said about her, and she laughed, and told me they were im-
pudent fellows who talked nonsense â€” but I knew it pleased
her. I knew it quite as well as I know it now. I took the
opportunity of asking if she was at all acquainted with Mr.
Brooks of Sheffield, but she answered no, only she supposed
he must be a manufacturer in the knife and fork way.
Can I say of her face â€” altered as I have reason to remem-
ber it, perished as I know it is â€” that it is gone, when here it
comes before me at this instant as distinct as any face that I
may choose to look on in a crowded street ? Can I say of
her innocent and girlish beauty, that it faded, and was no
more, when its breath falls on my cheek now, as it fell that
night ? Can I say she ever changed, when my remembrance
brings her back to life, thus only, and truer to its loving
youth than I have been, or man ever is, still holds fast what
it cherished then ?
I write of her just as she was when I had gone to bed af-
ter this talk, and she came to bid me good night. She
kneeled down playfully by the side of the bed, and laying
her chin upon her hands, and laughing, said:
" What was it they said, Davy ? Tell me again. I can't
" ' Bewitching ' " I began.
My mother put her hands upon my lips to stop me.
" It was never bewitching," she said, laughing. " It never
could have been bewitching, Davy. Now I know it wasn't !"
" Yes it was. * Bewitching Mrs. Copperfield,' " I repeatec^
stoutly. " And ' pretty.' "
" No, no, it was never pretty. Not pretty," interposed mj
mother, laying her fingers on my lips again.
" Yes it was. ' Pretty little widow.* "
" What foolish, impudent creatures !" cried my mother,
laughing and covering her face. " What ridiculous men !
An't they ? Davy dear "
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 31
** Don't tell Peggotty; she might be angry with them. I
am dreadfully angry with them myself; but 1 would rather
Peggotty didn't know."
I promised, of course, and we kissed one another over and
over again, and I soon fell fast asleep.
^ It seems to me, at this distance of time, as it were the next
day when Peggotty broached the striking and adventurous
proposition I am about to mention; but it was probably
about two months afterwards.
We were sitting as before, one evening (when my mother
was out as before), in company with the stocking and the
yard measure, and a bit of wax, and the box with Saint
Paul's on the lid, and the crocodile book, when Peggotty
after looking at me several times, and opening her mouth as
if she were going to speak, without doing it â€” which I thought
was merely gaping, or I should have been rather alarmed â€”
** Master Davy, how should you like to go along with me
and spend a fortnight at my brother's at Yarmouth.? Wouldn't
that be a treat ?"
" Is your brother an agreeable man, Peggotty ?" I inquired,
" Oh what an agreeable man he is !" cried Peggotty, hold-
ing up her hands. "Then there's the sea; and the boats
and ships; and the fishermen; and the beach; and Am to
play with â€” "
Peggotty meant her nephew Ham, mentioned in my first
chapter; but she spoke of him as a morsel of English Gram-
mar â€” first person singular, present tense Indicative, verb
neuter To be.
I was flushed by her summary of delights, and replied that
it would indeed be a treat, but what would my mother say.?"
" Why then I'll as good as bet a guinea," said Peggotty,
intent upon my face, " that she'll let us go. I'll ask her, if
you like, as soon as ever she comes home. There now !"
" But what's she to do while we're away ?" said I putting
my small elbows on the table to argue the point. " She can't
live by herself."
If Peggotty were looking for a hole, all of a sudden, in the
heel of that stocking, it must have been a very little one
indeed, and not worth darning.
*' I say ! Peggotty: She can't live by herself, you know."
" Oh bless you !" said Peggotty, looking at me again at
32 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
last. ** Don't you know? She's going to stay for a fortnight
with Mrs. Grayper. Mrs. Grayper's going to have a lot of
Oh! If that was it, I was quite ready to go. I waited, in
the utmost impatience until my mother came home from Mrs.
Grayper's (for it was that identical neighbor) to ascertain if
we could get leave to carry out this great idea. Without
being nearly so much surprised as I had expected, my
mother entered into it readily, and it was arranged that night,
and my board and lodging during the visit were to be paid
The day soon came for our going. It was such an early
day that it came soon, even to me, who was in a fever of ex-
pectation, and half afraid that an earthquake or a fiery moun-
tain, or some other great convulsion of nature might inter-
pose to stop the expedition. We were to go in a carrier's
cart, which departed in the morning after breakfast. I would
have given any money to have been allowed to wrap myself
up over night, and sleep in my hat and boots.
It touches me nearly now, although I tell it lightly, to
recollect how eager I was to leave my happy home; to think
how little I suspected what I did leave for ever.
I am glad to recollect that when the carrier's cart was at
the gate, and my mother stood there kissing me, a grateful
fondness for her and for the old place I had never turned
my back upon before, made me cry. I am glad to know
that my mother cried too, and that I felt her heart beat
I am glad to recollect that when the carrier began to
move, my mother ran out at the gate, and called to him to
stop, that she might kiss me once more. I am glad to dwell
upon the earnestness and love with which she lifted up
her face to mine and did so.
As we left her standing in the road, Mr. Murdstone came
up to where she was, and seemed to expostulate with her for
being so moved. I was looking back, round the awning of
the cart, and wondered what business it was of his. Peg-
gotty, who was also looking back on the other side, seemed
any thing but satisfied as the face she brought back into the
I sat looking at Peggotty for some time, in a reverie on
this supposititious case. Whether, if she were employed to
lose me, like the boy in the fairy tale, I should be able to
track my way home again by the buttons she would shed.
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 33
I HAVE A CHANGE.
The carrier's horse was the laziest horse in the world, I
should hope, and shuffled along with his head down, as if he
liked to keep the people waiting to whom the packages were
directed. I fancied, indeed, that he sometimes chuckled
audibly over this reflection, but the carrier said he was only
troubled with a cough.
The carrier had a way of keeping his head down, like his
horse, and of drooping sleepily forward as he drove, with one
of his arms on each of his knees. I say " drove," but it
struck me that the cart would have gone to Yarmouth quite
as well without him, for the horse did all that â€” and as to
conversation, he had no idea of it but whistling.
Peggotty had got a basket of refreshments on her knee,
which would have lasted us out handsomely, if we had been
going to London by the same conveyance. We ate a good
deal, and slept a good deal Peggotty always went to sleep
with her chin upon the handle of the basket, her hold of
which never relaxed; and I could not have believed unless I
had heard her do it, that one defenceless woman could have
snored so much.
We made so many deviations up and down lanes, and were
such a long time delivering a bedstead at a public house, and
calling at other places, that I was quite tired, and very glad,
when we saw Yarmouth. It looked rather spongy and soppy,
I thought, as I carried my eye over the great dull waste that
lay across the river; and I could not help wondering, if the
world were really as round as my geography-book said, how
any part of it came to be so flat. But I reflected that Yar-
mouth might be situated at one of the poles; which would
account for it.
As we drew a little nearer, and saw the whole adjacent
prospect lying a straight low line under the sky, I hinted to
Peggotty that a mounJ or so might have improved it, and
also that if the land had been a little more separated from
the sea, and the town and the tide had not been quite so
much mixed up, like toast and water, it would have been
nicer. But Peggotty said, with greater emphasis than usual,
that we must take things as we found them, and that, for her
part, she was proud to call herself a Yarmouth Bloater.
34 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
When we got into the street (which was strange enough tÂ©
â– me) and smelt the fish, and pitch, and oakum, and tar, and
saw the sailors walking about, and the carts jingling up and
down over the stones, I felt that I had done so busy a place
an injustice, and said as much to Peggotty, who heard my
expressions of delight with great complacency, and told me
it was well known (I suppose to those who had the good
fortune to be born Bloaters) that Yarmouth was, upon the
whole, the finest place in the universe.
"Here's my Am!" screamed Peggotty, "growed out of
He was waiting for us, in fact, at the public-house, and
asked me how I found myself, like an old acquaintance. I
did not feel, at first, that I knew him as well as he knew me,
because he had never come to our house since the night I
was born, and naturally he had the advantage of me. But
Â©ur intimacy was much advanced by his taking me on his
back to carry me home. He was now a huge, strong fellow
of six feet high, broad in proportion, and round-shouldered;
but with a simpering boy's face, and curly light hair, that
gave him quite a sheepish look. He was dressed in a can-
vas jacket, and a pair of such very stiff trousers that they
would have stood quite as well alone, without any legs in
them. And you couldn't so properly have said he wore a
hat, as that he was covered in a top, like an old building,
with something pitchy.
Ham carrying me on his back and a small box of ours un-
der his arm, and Peggotty carrying another small box of
â€¢ours, we turned down lanes bestrewn with bits of chips and
little hillocks of sand, and went past gas-works, rope-walks,
boat -builders' yards, shipwrights' yards, ship-breakers' yards,
calkers' yards, riggers' lofts, smiths' forges, and a great litter
of such places, until we came out upon the dull waste I had
already seen at a distance; when Ham said,
" Yon's our house, Master Davy !"
I looked m all directions, as far as I could stare over the
wilderness, and away at the sea, and away at the river, but
no house could / make out. There was a black barge, or
some other kind of superannuated boat, not far off, high and
dry on the ground, with an iron funnel sticking out of it for
a chimney and smoking very cosily, but nothing else in the
way of a habitation that was visible to me.
^* That's not it ?" said I, " that ship-looking thing ?"
DAVID COPPERFIELD. $$
" That's it, Master Davy," returned Ham.
If it had been Aladdin's Palace, roc's egg and all, I sup-
pose I could not have been more charmed with the romantic
idea of living in it. There was a delightful door cut in the
side, and it was roofed in, and there were little windows in
it; but the wonderful charm of it was, that it was a real boat
which had no doubt been upon the water hundreds of times,
and which had never been intended to be lived in, on dry-
land. That was the captivation of it to me. If it had ever
been meant to be lived in, I might have thought it small, or
inconvenient, or lonely, but never having been designed for
any such use, it became a perfect abode.
It was beautifully clean inside, and as tidy as possible.
There was a table, and a Dutch clock, and a chest of draw-
ers, and on the chest of drawers there was a tea-tray with a
painting on it of a lady with a parasol, taking a walk with a
military-looking child who was trundling a hoop. The tray .
was kept from tumbling down, by a Bible, and the tray, if it
had tumbled down, would have smashed a quantity of cups
and saucers and a teapot that were grouped around the book.
On the walls there were some common colored pictures,
framed and glazed, of Scripture subjects, such as I have
never seen since in the hands of pedlers, without seeing the
whole interior of Peggotty's brother's house again, at one
view. Abraham in red going to sacrifice Isaac in blue, and
Daniel in yellow cast into a den of green lions, were the
most prominent of these. Over the little mantel-shelf, was
a picture of the Sarah Jane Lugger, built at Sunderland,
with a real little wooden stern stuck on to it; a work of art,
combining composition with carpentry, which I considered
to be one of the most enviable possessions that the world
could afford. There were some hooks in the beams of the
ceiling, the use of which I did not divine then; and some
lockers and boxes and conveniences of that sort, which
served for seats, and eked out the chairs.
All this, I saw in the first glance after I crossed the thresh-
old â€” childlike, according to my theory â€” and then Peggotty
opened a little door and showed me my bedroom. It was
the completest and most desirable bedroom ever seen; in the
stern of the vessel; with a little window where the rudder
used to go through; a little looking-glass, just the right height
for me, nailed against the wall, and framed with oyster shells;
a little bed which there was just room enough to get into;
56 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
and a nosegay of seaweed in a blue mug on the table. The
walls were whitewashed as white as milk, and the patchwork
counterpane made my eyes quite ache with its brightness.
One thing I particularly noticed in this delightful house, was
the smell of fish; which was so searching that when I took
out my pocket-handkerchief to wipe my nose, I found it
smelt exactly as if it had wrapped up a lobster. On my im-
parting this discovery in confidence to Peggotty, she informed
me that her brother dealt in lobsters, crabs, and crawfish;
and I afterwards found that a heap of these creatures, in a
- state of wonderful conglomeration with one another, and
never leaving off pinching whatever they laid hold of, were
usually to be found in a little wooden out-house where the
pots and kettles were kept.
We were welcomed by a very civil woman in a white apron,
whom I had seen courtesying at the door when I was on Ham's
back, about a quarter of a mile off. Likewise by a most
beautiful Httle girl (or I thought her so) with a necklace of
blue beads on, who wouldn't let me kiss her when I offered
to, but ran away and hid herself. By and by, when we had
- dined in a sumptuous manner off boiled dabs, melted butter,
and potatoes, with a chop for me, a hairy man with a very
good natured face, came home. As he called Peggotty
*' I.ass," and gave her a hearty smack on the cheek, I had
*** no doubt, from the general propriety of her conduct, that he
was her brother; and so he turned out: being j3resently intro-
duced to me as Mr. Peggotty, the master of the house.
" Glad to see you. Sir," said Mr. Peggotty. " You'll find
us rough. Sir, but you'll find us ready."
I thanked him, and replied that I was sure I should be