be five shillings, and what I pleased. I said, certainly, we
would have him. Next, Mrs. Crupp said it was clear she
couldn't be in two places at once (which I felt to be reason-
able), and that " a young gal " stationed in the pantry with
a bed-room candle, there never to desist from washing
plates, would be indispensable. I said, what would be the
expense of this young female, and Mrs. Crupp said she sup-
posed eighteen-pence would neither make nor break me. I
said I supposed not; and /^«/ was settled. Then Mrs. Crupp
said, Now about the dinner.
It was a remarkable instance of want of forethought on
the part of the ironmonger who had made Mrs. Crupp's
kitchen fire-place, that it was capable of cooking nothing
but chops and mashed potatoes. As to a fish-kettle, Mrs.
Crupp said, well ! would I only come and look at the range.
She couldn't say fairer than that. Would I come and look
at it ? As I should not have been much the wiser if I had
looked at it, I declined, and said, '* Never mind fish." But
Mrs. Crupp said, Don't say that; oysters was in, and why
not them? So //;^/ was settled. Mrs. Crupp then said what she
would recommend would be this. A pair of hot roast fowls
— from the pastry-cook's; a dish of stewed beef, with vege-
tables — from the pastry-cook's; two little corner things, as a
raised pie and a dish of kidneys — from the pastry-cook's; a
tart, and (if I liked) a shape of jelly — from the pastry-
cook's. This, Mrs. Crupp said, would leave her at full
liberty to concentrate her mind on the potatoes, and to serve
up the cheese and celery as she could wish to see it done.
I acted on Mrs. Crupp's opinion, and gave the order at the
pastry-cook's myself. Walking along the Strand, afterwards.
3s6 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
and observing a hard mottled substance in the window of A
ham and beef shop, which resembled marble, but was labelled
" Mock Turtle," I went in and bought a slab of it, which I
have since reason to believe would have sufficed for fifteen
people. This preparation, Mrs. Crupp, after. some difficulty,
consented to warm up; and it shrunk so much in a liquid
state, that we found it what Steerforth called *' rather a tight
fit " for four.
These preparations happily completed, I bought a little
dessert in Covent Garden Market, and gave a rather exten-
sive order at a retail wine-merchant's in that vicinity. When
I came home in the afternoon, and saw the bottles drawn up
in a square on the pantry-floor, they looked so numerous
(though there were two missing which made Mrs. Crupp very
uncomfortable) that I was absolutely frightened at them.
One of Steerforth's friends was named Grainger, and the
other Markham. They were both very gay and lively fellows;
Grainger, something older than Steerforth; Markham, youth-
ful-looking, and I should say not more than twenty. I ob-
served that the latter always spoke of himself indefinitely, as
" a man," and seldom or never in the first person singular.
" A man might get on very well here, Mr. Copperfield,"
said Markham — meaning himself.
*' It's not a bad situation," said I, " and the rooms are
" I hope you have both brought appetites with you ?" said
" Upon my honor/* returned Markham, " town seems to
sharpen a man's appetite. A man is hungry all day long. A
man is perpetually eating."
Being a little embarrassed at first, and feeling much too
young to preside, I made Steerforth take the head of the
table when dinner was announced, and seated myself oppo-
site to him. Everything was very good; we did not spare
the wine; and he exerted himself so brilliantly to make the
thing pass off well, that there was no pause in our festivity.
I was- not quite such good company during dinner, as I could
have wished to be, for my chair was opposite the door, and
my attention was distracted by observing that the handy
young man went out of the room very often, and that his
shadow always presented itself, immediately afterwards, on
the wall of the entry, with a bottle at its mouth. The "young
girl " likewise occasioned me some uneasiness: not so much
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 357
by neglecting to wash the plates, as by breaking them. For
being of an inquisitive disposition, and unable to confine
herself (as her positive instructions were) to the pantry, she
was constantly peering in at us, and constantly imagining
herself detected ; in which belief, she several times retired
upon the plates (with which she carefully paved the floor),
and did a great deal of destruction.
These, however, were small drawbacks, and easily forgotten
when the cloth was cleared, and the dessert put on the table;
at which period of the entertainment the handy young man
was discovered to be speechless. Giving him private direc-
tions to seek the society of Mrs. Crupp, and to remove the
*' young gal " to the basement also, I ab§,ndoned myself to
I began, by being singularly cheerful and light-hearted; all
sorts of half-forgotten things to talk about, came rushing
into my mind, and made me hold forth in a most unwonted
manner. I laughed heartily at my own jokes, and everybody
else's; called Steerforth to ord^r for not passing the wine;
made several engagements to go to Oxford; announced that
I meant to have a dinner party exactly like that, once a week
until further notice; and madly took so much snuff out of
Grainger's box, that I was obHged to go into the pantry^ and
have a private fit of sn/^^ezing ten minutes long.
I went on, by passing the wine faster and faster yet, and
continually starting up with a corkscrew to open more wine,
long before any was needed. I proposed Steerforth's health.
I said he was my dearest friend, the protector of my boy-
hood, and the companion of my prime. I said I was de-
lighted to propose his health. I said I owed him more ob-
ligation than I could ever repay, and held him in a higher
admiration than I could ever express. I finished by saying
" I'll give you Steerforth ! God bless him ! Hurrah !" We
gave him three times three, and another, and a good one to
finish with. I broke my glass in going round the table to
shake hands with him, and I said (in two words) " Steer-
I went on, by finding suddenly that somebody was in the
middle of a song. Markham was the singer, and he sang
" When the heart of a man is depressed with care." He
said, when he had sung it, he would give us " Woman." I
took objection to that, and I couldn't allow it. I said it
was not a respectful way of proposing the toast, and I
358 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
would never permit that toast to be drunk in my house
otherwise than as " The Ladies." I was very high with
him, mainly I think because I saw Steerforth and Grain-
ger laughing at me — or at him — or at both of us. He
said a man was not to be dictated to. I said a man was.
He said a man was not to be insulted, then. I said he
was right there — never under my roof, where the Lares
were sacred, and the laws of hospitality paramount. He
said it was no derogation from a man's dignity to con-
fess that I was a devilish good fellow. I instantly proposed
Somebody was smoking. We were all smoking. / was
smoking, and trying to suppress a rising tendency to shudder.
Steerforth had made a speech about me, in the course of which
I had been affected almost to tears. I returned thanks, and
hoped the present company would dine with me to-morrow,and
the day after — each day at five o'clock, that we might enjoy the
pleasures of conversation and society through a long even-
ing. I felt called upon to jTropose an individual. I would
give them my aunt. Miss Betsey Trotwood, the best of
Somebody was leaning out of my bedroom window, re-
freshing his forehead against the cold stone of the parapet,
and feeling the air upon his face. It was myself. I was
addressing myself as " Copperfield," and saying, " Why did
you try to smoke ? You might have known you couldn't
do it." Now, somebody was unsteadily contemplating his
features in the looking-glass. That was I, too. I was
very pale in the looking-glass; my eyes had a vacant ap-
pearance; and my hair — only my hair, and nothing else —
Somebody said to me, *' Let us go the theater. Copper-
field!" There was no bed-room before me, but again the
jingling table covered with glasses; the lamp; Grainger on
my right hand, Markham on my left, and Steerforth oppo-
site, — all sitting in a mist, and a long way off. The theater.?
To be sure. The very thing! Come along! But they must
excuse me if I saw everybody out first, and turned the lamp
off — in case of fire.
Owing to some confusion in the dark, the door was gone.
I was feeling for it in the window-curtains, when Steerforth,
laughing, took me by the arm, and led me out. We went
down-stairs, one behind another. Near the bottom, some-
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 359
body fell, and rolled down. Somebody else said it was Cop*
perfield. I was angry at that false report, until finding my-
self on my back in the passage, I began to think there might
be some foundation for it.
A very foggy night, with great rings round the lamps in
the streets! There was an indistinct talk of its being wet.
/ considered it frosty. Steerforth dusted me under a lamp-
post, and put my hat into shape, which somebody produced
from somewhere in a most extraordinary manner, for I
hadn't had it on before. Steerforth then said, " You are
all rights Copperfield, are you not ?" and I told him, " Nev-
A man, sitting in a pigeon-hole-place, looked out of the
fog, and took money from somebody, inquiring if I was one of
the gentlemen paid for, and appearing rather doubtful (as I
remember in the glimpse I had of him) whether to take the
money from me or not. Shortly afterwards we were very
high up in a very hot theater, looking down into a very
large pit, that seemed to me to smoke; the people with whom
it was crammed were so indistinct. There was a great
stage, too, looking very clean and smooth after the streets;
and there were people upon it, talking about something or
other, but not at all intelligibly. There was an abundance
of bright lights, and there was music, and there were ladies
down in the boxes, and I don't know what more. The
whole building looked to me, as if it were learning to swim;
it conducted itself in such an unaccountable manner, when
I tried to steady it.
On somebody's motion, we resolved to go down-stairs to
the dress-boxes, where the ladies were. A gentleman loung-
ing, full-dressed, on a sofa, with an opera-glass in his hand,
passed before my view, and also my own figure at full length
in a glass. Then I was being ushered into one of these
boxes, and found myself saying something as I sat down,
and people about me crying " Silence!" to somebody, and
ladies casting indignant glances at me, and — what! — yes! —
Agnes, sitting on the seat before me, in the same box, with
a lady and gentleman beside her, whom I didn't know. I
see her face now, better than I did then, I dare say, with its
indelible look of regret and wonder turned upon me.
"Agnes!" I said, thickly. " Lorblessmer! Agnes!"
"Hush! Pray!" she answered, I could not conceive why,
" You disturb the company. Look at the stage!"
SCO DAVID COPPERFIELD.
I tried, on her injunction, to fix it, and to hear something
of what was going on there, but quite in vain. I looked at
her again by-and-by, and saw her shrink into her corner, and
put her gloved hand to her forehead.
"Agnes," I said, " I'mafraidyou'renorwell."
" Yes, yes. Do not mind me, Trotwood," she returned.
*' Listen! Are you going away soon?"
" Amigoarawaysoo?" I repeated.
I had a stupid intention of replying that I was going to
wait, to hand her down stairs. I suppose I expressed it
somehow; for, after she had looked at me attentively for a
little while, she appeared to understand, and replied in a
" I know you will do as I ask you, if I tell you I am very
earnest in it. Go away now, Trotwood, for my sake, and
ask your friends to take you home."
She had so far improved me, for the time, that though I
was angry with her, I felt ashamed, and with a short
"Goori!" (which I intended for "Good night!") got up and
went away. They followed, and I stepped at once out of
the box-door into my bedroom, where only Steerforth was
with me, helping me to undress, and where I was by turns
telling him that Agnes was my sister, and adjuring him
to bring the corkscrew, that I might open another bottle
How somebody, lying in my bed, lay saying and doing all
this over again, at cross-purposes, in a feverish dream all
night — the bed a rocking sea that was never still. How,
as that . somebody slowly settled down into himself, did I
begin to parch, and feel as if my outer covering of skin
were a hard board; my tongue the bottom of an empty ket-
tle, furred with long service, and burning up over a slow
fire; the palms of my hands, hot plates of metal, which no
ice could cool.
But the agony of mind, the remorse, and shame I felt, when
I became conscious next day! My horror of having com-
mitted a thousand offenses I had forgotten, and which noth-
ing could ever expiate — my recollection of that indelible
look which Agnes had given me — the torturing impossibility
of communicating with her, not knowing, beast that I was,
how she came to be in London,* or where she stayed — my
disgust of the very sight of the room where the revel had
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 361
been held — my racking head — the smell of smoke, the sight
of glasses, the impossibility of going out, or even getting up!
Oh, what a day it was!
Oh, what an evening, when I sat down by the fire to a
basin of mutton broth, dimpled all over with fat, and thought
I was going the way of my predecessor, and should succeed
to his dismal story as well as his chambers, and had half a
mind to rush express to Dover and reveal all ! What an
evening, when Mrs. Crupp, coming in to take away the broth
basin, produced one kidney on a cheese-plate as the entire
remains of yesterday's feast, and I was really inclined to fall
upon her nankeen breast, and say in heartfelt penitence,
"Oh, Mrs. Crupp, Mrs. Crupp! never mind the broken
meats! I am very miserable!" — only that I doubted, even
at that pass, if Mrs. Crupp were quite the sort of woman to
GOOD AND BAD ANGELS.
I WAS going out at my door on the morning after that de-
plorable day of headache, sickness, and repentance, with an
odd confusion in my mind, relative to the date of my din-
ner-party, as if a body of Titans had taken an enormous
lever and pushed the day before yesterday some months
back, when I saw a ticket-porter coming up-stairs, with a
letter in his hand. He was taking his time about his errand,
then; but when he saW me at the top of the staircase, look-
ing at him over the bannisters, he swung into a trot, and
came up panting as if he had run himself into a state of ex-
" T. Copperfield, Esquire," said the ticket-porter, touching
his hat with his little cane.
I could scarcely lay claim to the name: I was so dis-
turbed by the conviction that the letter came from Agnes.
However, I told him I was T. Copperfield, Esquire, and he
believed it, and gave me the letter, which he said required
an answer. I shut him out on the landing to wait for the
answer, and went into my chambers again, in such a nervous
state that I was fain to lay the letter down on my breakfast-
table, and familiarize myself with the outside of it a little,
before I could resolve to break the seal.
362 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
I found, when I did open It, that it was a very kind note,
containing no reference to my condition at the theatre. All
it said, was, "My dear Trotwood. I am staying at the
house of papa's agent, Mr. Waterbrook, in Ely-place,
Holborn. Will you come and see me to-day, and at any
time you like to appoint? Ever yours affectionately,
It took me such a long time to write an answer at all to
my satisfaction, that I don't know what the ticket-porter can
have thought, unless he thought I was learning to write. I
must have written half a dozen answers at least. I began
one, " How can I ever hope, my dear Agnes, to efface from
your remembrance the disgusting impression " — there I
didn't like it, and then I tore it up. I began another,
I* Shakespeare has observed, my dear Agnes, how strange it
is that a man should put an enemy into his mouth " — that
reminded me of Markham, and it got no farther. I even
tried poetry. I began one note, in a six-syllable line, " Oh
do not remember " — but that associated itself with the 5th
of November, and became an absurdity. After many at-
tempts, I wrote, *' My dear Agnes. Your letter is like you,
and what could I say of it that would be higher praise than
that? I will come at four o'clock. Affectionately and sor-
rowfully, T. C." With this missive (which I was in twenty
minds at once about recalling, as soon as it was out of my
hands) the ticket-porter at last departed.
If the day were half as tremendous to any other profes-
sional gentleman in Doctors* Commons as it was to me, I
sincerely believe he made some expiation for his share in
that rotten old ecclesiastical cheese. Although I left the
office at half-past three, and was prowling about the place
of appointment within a few minutes afterwards, the ap-
pointed time was exceeded by a full quarter of an hour, ac-
cording to the clock of St. Andrew's, Holborn, before I
could muster up sufficient desperation to pull the private
bell-handle let into the left-hand door-post of Mr. Water-
The professional business of Mr Waterbrook's establish-
ment was done on the ground- floor, and the genteel business
(of which there was a good deal) in the upper part of the
building. I was shown into a pretty but rather close draw-
ing-room, and there sat Agnes, netting a purse.
She looked so quiet and good, and reminded me so strongly
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 363
of my airy fresh school days at Canterbury, and the sodden,
smoky, stupid wretch I had been the other night, that, no-
body being by, I yielded to my self-reproach and shame, and
^n short, made a fool of myself. I cannot deny that I
shed tears. To this hour I am undecided whether it was
upon the whole the wisest thing I could have done, or the
" If i-t had been any one but you, Agnes," said I, turning
away my head, " I should not have minded it half so much.
But that it should have been you who saw me! I almost
wish I had been dead first."
She put her hand — its touch was like no other hand — up-
on my arm for a moment; and I felt so befriended and com-
forted, that I could not help moving it to my lips, and grate-
fully kissing it.
" Sit down," said Agnes, cheerfully. " Don't be unhappy,
Trotwood. If you cannot confidently trust me, whom
will you trust?"
"Ah, Agnes!" I returned. "You are my good angel!"
She smiled rather sadly, I thought, and shook her head.
"Yes, Agnes, my good angel! Always my good angel!"
" If I were, indeed, Trotwood," she returned, " there is
one thing that I should set my heart on very much."
I looked at her inquiringly; but already with a foreknowl-
edge of her meaning.
"On warning you," said Agnes, with a steady glance,
"against your bad angel."
" My dear Agnes," I began, " if you mean St^erforth — "
" I do, Trotwood," she returned.
" Then Agnes, you wrong him very much. He my bad
angel, or any one's! He anything but a guide, a support,
and a friend to me! My dear Agnes! Now, is it not un-
just, and unlike you, to judge him from what you saw
of me the other night?"
" I do not judge him from what I saw of you the other
night," she quietly replied.
" From what, then?"
" From many things, — trifles in themselves, but they do
not seem to me to be so when they are put together. I
judge him, partly from your account of him, Trotwood, and
your character, and the influence he has over you."
There was always something in her modest voice that
seemed to touch a chord within me, answering to that sound
364 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
alone. It was always earnest; but when it was very earnest,
as it was now, there was a thrill in it that quite subdued me.
I sat looking at her as she cast her eyes down on her work;
X sat seeming still to listen to her; and Steerforth, in spite
of all my attachment to him, darkened in that tone.
" It is very bold in me," said Agnes, looking up again,
" who have lived in such seclusion, and can know so little
of the world, to give you my advice so confidently, or even
to have this strong opinion. But I know in what it is en-
gendered, Trotwood, — in how true a remembrance of our
having grown up together, and in how true an interest in all
relating to you. It is that which makes me bold. I am cer-
tain that what I say is right. I am quite sure it is. I feel
as if it were some one else speaking to you, and not I, when
I caution you that you have made a dangerous friend."
Again I looked at her, again I listened to her after she
was silent, and again his image, though it was still fixed in
my heart, darkened.
"' I am not so unreasonable as to expect," said Agnes,
resuming her usual tone, after a little while, " that you will,
or that you can, at once, change any sentiment that has be-
come a conviction to you; least of all a sentiment that is
rooted in your trusting disposition; You ought not hastily
to do that. I only ask you, Trotwood, if you ever think of
me — I mean," with a quiet smile, for I was going to inter-
rupt her, and she knew why, " as often as you think of me —
to think of what I have said. Do you forgive me for all
" I will forgive you, Agnes," I replied, " when you come
to do Steerforth justice, and to like him as well as I do."
" Not until then?" said Agnes.
I saw a passing shadow on her face when I made this
mention of him, but she returned my smile, and we were
again as unreserved in our mutual confidence as of old.
" And when, Agnes," said I, " will you forgive me the
** When I recall it," said Agnes.
She would have dismissed the subject so, but I was too
full of it to allow that, and insisted on telling her how it
happened that I had disgraced myself, and what chain of
accidental circumstances had had the theatre for its final
link. It was a great relief to me to do this, and to enlarge
on the obligation that I owed to Steerforth for his care of
me when I was unable to take care of myself.
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 365
"You must not forget," said Agnes, calmly changing the
conversation as soon as I had concluded, "that you are
always to tell me, not only when you fall into trouble, but
when you fall in love. Who has succeeded to Miss Lar-
" No one, Agnes."
" Some one, Trotwood," said Agnes, laughing, and holding
up her finger.
" No, Agnes, upon my word ! There is a lady, certainly,
at Mrs. Steerforth's house, who is very clever, and whom I
like to talk to — Miss Dartle — but I don't adore her."
Agnes laughed again at her own penetration, and told me
that if I were faithful to her in my confidence she thought
she should keep a little register of my violent attachments,
with the date, duration, and termination of each, like the
table of the reigns of the kings and queens, in the History
of England. Then she asked me if I had seen Uriah.
" Uriah Heep ?" said I. " No. Is he in London ?"
" He comes to the office down-stairs, every day," returned
Agnes. " He was in London a week before me. I am afraid
on disagreeable business, Trotwood."
" On some business that makes you uneasy, Agnes, I see,"
said I. '' What can that be ?"
Agnes laid aside her work, and replied, folding her hands
upon one another, and looking pensively at me out of those
beautiful soft eyes of hers:
" I believe he is going to enter into partnership with papa."
" What ? .Uriah ? That mean, fawning fellow, worm him-
self into such promotion ?" I cried, indignantly. " Have you
made no remonstrance about it, Agnes ! Consider what a
connection it is likely to be. You must speak out. You must
not allow your father to take such a mad step. You must pre-
vent it, Agnes, while there's time."
Still looking at me, Agnes shook her head while I was
speaking with a faint smile at my warmth: and then replied:
" You remember our last conversation about papa ? It was
not long after that — not more than two or three dayS'^-when
he gave me the first intimation of what I tell you. It was