sad to see him struggling between his desire to represent it
to me as a matter of choice on his part, and his inability to
conceal that it was forced upon him. I felt very sorry."
" Forced upon him, Agnes ! Who forces it upon him ?'*
"Uriah," she replied, after a moment's hesitation, "ha§
366 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
made hiimself indispensable to papa. He is subtle and watch-
ful. He has mastered papa's weaknesses, fostered them, and
taken advantage of them, until — to say all that I mean in a
word, Trotwood, until papa is afraid of him."
There was more that she might have said; more that she
knew or that she suspected; I clearly saw. I could not give
her pain by asking her what it was, for I knew that she with-
held it from me to spare her father. It had long been going
on to this, I was sensible: yes, I could not but feel, on the
least reflection, that it had been going on to this for a long
time. I remained silent.
" His ascendency over papa," said Agnes, " is very great.
He professes humility and gratitude — with truth, perhaps: I
hope so — but his position is really one of power, and I fear
he makes a hard use of his power." "
I said he was a hound, which, at the moment, was a great
satisfaction to me.
" At the time I speak of, as the time when papa spoke to
me," pursued Agnes, " he had told papa that he was going
away; that he was very sorry, and unwilling to leave, but
that he had better prospects. Papa was very much depressed
then, and more bowed down by care than ever you or I have
seen him; but he seemed relieved by this expedient of the
partnership, though at the same time he seemed hurt by it
and ashamed of it."
" And how did you receive it, Agnes .''"
"I did, Trotwood," she replied, " what I hope was right.
Feeling sure that it was necessary for papa's peace that the
sacrifice should be made, I entreated him to make it. I said
it would lighten the load of his life — I hope it will ! and
that it would give me increased opportunities of being his
companion. Oh, Trotwood !" cried Agnes, putting her
hands before her face, as her tears started on it, " I almost
feel as if I had been papa's enemy, instead of his loving
child. For I know how he has altered, in his devotion to
me. I know how he has narrowed the circle of his sympa-
thies and duties, in the concentration of his whole mind
upon me. I know what a multitude of things he has shut
out for my sake, and how his anxious thoughts of me have
shadowed his life, and weakened his strength and energy, by
turning them always upon one idea. If I could ever set this
right. If I could ever work out his restoration, as I have
^0 innocently been the cause of his decline !"
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 367
I had never before seen Agnes cry. I had seen tears in
her eyes when I had brought new honors home from school,
and I had seen them there when we last spoke about her
father, and I had seen her turn her gentle head aside when
we took leave of one another; but I had never seen her
grieve like this. It made me so sorry that I could only say,
in a foolish, helpless manner, " Pray, Agnes, don't ! Don't,
my dear sister !"
But Agnes was too superior to me in character and pur-
pose, as I know well now, whatever I might know or not
know then, to be long in need of my entreaties. The beau-
tiful, calm manner, which makes her so different in my re-
membrance from everybody else, came back again, as if a
cloud had passed from a serene sky.
" We are not likely to remain alone much longer," said
Agnes, " and while I have an opportunity, let me earnestly
entreat you, Trotwood, to be friendly to Uriah, Don't re-
pel him. Don't resent (as I think you have a general dis-
position to do) what may be uncongenial to you in him.
He may not deserve it, for we know no certain ill of him.
In any case, think first of papa and me !"
Agnes had no time to say more, for the room-door opened,
and Mrs. Waterbrook who was a large lady — or who wore a
large dress: I don't exactly know which, for I don't know
which was dress and which was lady — came sailing in. I
had a dim recollection of having seen her at the theatre, as
if I had seen her in a pale magic lantern; but she appeared
to remember me perfectly, and still to suspect me of being
in a state of intoxication.
, Finding by degrees, however, that I was sober, and'(I
hope) that I was a modest young gentleman, Mrs. Water-
brook softened towards me considerably, and inquired,
firstly, if I went much into the parks, and secondly, if I went
much into society. On my replying to both these questions
in the negative, it occurred to me that I fell again in her
good opinion; but she concealed the fact gracefully, and in-
vited me to dinner next day. I accepted the invitation, and
took my leave; making a call on Uriah in the office as I
went out, and leaving a card for him in his absence.
When I went to dinner next day, and, on the street-door
being opened, plunged into a vapor-bath of haunch of mut-
*-on, I divined that I was not the only guest: for I im-
mediately identified the ticket-porter in disguise, assisting the
368 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
family servant, and waiting at the foot of the stairs to carry
up my name. He looked, to the best of his ability, when he
asked me for it confidentially, as if he had never seen me
before; but well did I know him, and well did he know me.
Conscience made cowards of us both.
I found Mr. Waterbrook to be a middle-aged gentleman,
with a short throat, and a good deal of shirt-collar, who only
wanted a black nose to be the portrait of a pug-dog. He
told me he was happy to have the honor of making my ac-
quaintance; and when I had paid my homage to Mrs.
Waterbrook, presented me, with much ceremony, to a very
awful lady in a black velvet dress, and a great black velvet
hat, whom I remember as looking like a near relation of
Hamlet's — say his aunt.
Mrs. Henry Spiker was this lady's name; and her husband
was there too: so cold a man, that his head, instead of be-
ing gray, seemed to be sprinkled with hoar-frost. Immense
deference was shown to the Henry Spikers, male and female;
which Agnes told me was on account of Mr. Henry Spiker
being solicitor to something or to somebody, I forget what
or which, remotely connected with the Treasury.
I found Uriah Heep among the company, in a suit of
black, and in deep humility. He told me, when I shook
hands with him, that he was proud to be noticed by me, and
that he really felt obliged to me for my condescension. I
could have wished he had been less obliged to me, for he
hovered about me in his gratitude all the rest of the even-
ing: and whenever I said a word to Agnes, was sure, with
his shadowless eyes and cadaverous face, to be looking
gauntly down upon us from behind.
There were other guests — all iced for the occasion, as it
struck me, like the wine. But, there was one who attracted
my attention before he came in, on account of my hearing
him announced as Mr. Traddles ! My mind flew back to
Salem House; and could it be Tommy, I thought, who used
to draw the skeletons !
I looked for Mr. Traddles with unusual interest. He was
a sober, steady-looking young man of retiring manners, with
a comic head of hair, and eyes that were rather wide open;
and he got into an obscure corner so soon, that I had some
difficulty in making him out. At length I had a good view
of him, and either my vision deceived me, or it was the old
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 369
I made my way to Mr. Waterbrook, and said, that I believed
1 had the pleasure of seeing an old schoolfellow there.
" Indeed ?" said Mr. Waterbrook, surprised. " You are
too young to have been to school with Mr. Henry Spiker ?"
"Oh, I don't mean him !" I returned. ".I mean the
gentleman named Traddles."
" Oh ! Aye, aye ! Indeed !" said my host, with much
diminished interest. " Possibly."
" If it's really the same person," said I, glancing towards
him, " it was at a place called Salem House where we were
together, and he was an excellent fellow."
" Oh yes. Traddles is a good fellow," returned my host,
nodding his head with an air of toleration. " Traddles is
quite a good fellow."
" It's a curious coincidence," said I.
" It is really," returned my host, " quite a coincidence,
that Traddles should be here at all: as Traddles was only
invited this morning, when the place at table, intended to
be occupied by Mrs. Henry Spiker's brother, became vacant,
in consequence of his indisposition. A very gentlemanly
man, Mrs. Henry Spiker's brother, Mr. Copper field."
I murmured an assent, which was full of feeling, consider-
ing that I knew nothing at all about him; and I inquired
what Mr. Traddles was by profession.
" Traddles," returned Mr. Waterbrook, " is a young man
reading for the bar. Yes. He is quite a good fellow —
nobody's enemy but his own."
" Is he his own enemy ?" said I, sorry to hear this.
"Well," returned Mr. Waterbrook, pursing up his mouth,
and playing with his watch-chain, in a comfortable, pros-
perous sort of way. " I should say he was one of those men
who stand in their own hght. Yes, I should say he would
never, for example, be worth five hundred pound. Trad-
dles was recommended to me, by a professional friend. Oh
yes. Yes. He has a kind of talent for drawing briefs and
stating a case in writing plainly. I am able to throw some-
thing in Traddles's way in the course of the year; something
— for him — considerable. Oh yes. Yes."
I was much impressed by the extremely comfortable and
satisfied manner in which Mr. Waterbrook delivered himself
of this little word " Yes," every now and then. There was
wonderful expression in it. It completely conveyed the idea
of a man who had been born, not to say with a silver spoon,
but with a scaling-ladder, and ha(J ^one on mouiitin^ all the
370 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
heights of life one after another, until now he looked from
the top of the fortifications with the eye of a philosopher
and a patron on the people down in the trenches.
My reflections on this theme were still in progress when
dinner was announced. Mr. Waterbrook went down with
Hamlet's aunt. Mr. Henry Spiker took Mrs. Waterbrook.
Agnes, whom I should have liked to take myself, was given
to a simpering fellow with weak legs. Uriah, Traddles, and
I, as the junior part of the company, went down last how we
could. I was not so vexed at losing Agnes as I might have
been, since it gave me an opportunity of making myjielf
known to Traddles on the stairs, who greeted me with great
fervor: while Uriah writhed with such obtrusive satisfaction
and self-abasement, that I could gladly have pitched him
over the banisters.
Traddles and I were separated at the table, being billeted
in two remote corners: he in the glare of a red velvet lady;
I, in the gloom of Hamlet's aunt. The dinner was very
long, and the conversation was about the Aristocracy — and
Blood. Mrs. Waterbrook repeatedly told us, that if she had
a weakness, it was Blood.
It occurred to me several times that we should have got
on better if we had not been quite so genteel. We were so
exceedingly genteel, that our scope was very limited. A
Mr. and Mrs. Gulpidge were of the party, who had some-
thing to do at second-hand (at least Mr. Gulpidge had) with
the law business of the Bank; and what with the Bank, and
what with the Treasury, we were as exclusive as the Court
Circular. To mend the matter, Hamlet's aunt had the
family failing of indulging in soliloquy, and held forth in a
desultory manner, by herself, on every topic that was intro-
duced. These were few enough to be sure; but as we always
fell back upon Blood she had as wide a field for abstract spec-
ulation as her nephew himself.
We might have been a party of Ogres, the conversation
assumed such a sanguine complexion.
" I confess I am of Mrs, Waterbrook's opinion," said Mr.
Waterbrook, with his wine-glass at his eye. " Other things
are all very well in their way, but give me Blood !"
" Oh ! There is nothing," observed. Hamlet's aunt, " so
satisfactory to one ! There is nothing that is so much one's
beau-ideal of — of all that sort of thing, speaking generally,
''^here are some low^ piinds (not many, I am happy to be-
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 371
lieve, but there are somi) that would prefer to do what /
should call bow down before idols. Positively Idols ! Be-
fore services, intellect, and so on. But these are intangible
points. Blood is not so. We see Blood in a nose, and we
know it. We meet with it in a chin, and we say, * There it
is ! That's Blood !' It is an actual matter of fact. We
point it out. It admits of no doubt."
The simpering fellow with the weak legs, who had taken
Agnes down, stated the question more decisively yet, I
" Oh, you know, deuce take it," said this gentleman, look-
ing round the board with an imbecile smile, " we can't fore-
go Blood, you know. We must have Blood, you know.
Some young fellows, you know, may be a little behind their
station, perhaps, in point of education and behavior, and
may go a little wrong, you know, and get themselves and
other people into a variety of fixes — and all that — but deuce
take it, it's delightful to reflect that they've got Blood in
'em ! Myself, I'd rather at any time be knocked down by
a man who had got Blood in him, than I'd be picked up by
a man who hadn't !"
This sentiment, as compressing the general question into
a nut-shell, gave the .utmost satisfaction, and brought the
gentleman into great notice until the ladies retired. After
that, I observed that Mr. Gulpidge and Mr. Henry Spiker,
who had hitherto been very distant, entered into a defensive
alliance against us, the common enemy, and exchanged a
mysterious dialogue across the table for our defeat and
" That affair of the first bond for four thousand five hun-
dred pounds has not taken the course that was expected,
Gulpidge," said Mr. Henry Spiker.
" Do you mean the D. of A.'s ?" said Mr. Spiker.
" The C. of B.'s," said Mr. Gulpidge.
Mr. Spiker raised his eye-brows, and looked much con-
" When the question was referred to Lord — I needn't
name him," said Mr Gulpidge, checking himself.
" I understand," said Mr. Spiker, *' N."
Mr. Gulpidge darkly nodded — " was referred to him, his
answer was, * Money, or no release.' "
" Lord bless my soul !" cried Mr. Spiker.
" * Money, or no release,' " repeated Mr. Gulpidge firmly,
" The next in reversion — ^you understand me ?"
372 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
" K." said Mr. Spiker, with ominous look.
" — K. then positively refused to sign. He was attended
at Newmarked for that purpose, and he point-blank refused
to do it."
Mr. Spiker was so interested that he became quite stony.
" So the matter rests at this hour," said Mr. Gulpidge,
throwing himself back in his chair. " Our friend Water-
brook will excuse me if I forbear to explain myself gener-
ally, on account of the magnitude of the interests
Mr. Waterbrook was only too happy, as it appeared to
me, to have such interests and such names even hinted at
across his table. He assumed an expression of gloomy
intelligence (though I am persuaded he knew no more about
the discussion than I did), and highly approved of the
discretion that had been observed. Mr. Spiker, after the
receipt of such a confidence, naturally desired to favor his
friend with a confidence of his own; therefore the foregoing
dialogue was succeeded by another, in which it was Mr.
Gulpidge's turn to be surprised, and that by another, in
which the surprise came round to Mr. Spiker's turn again,
and so on, turn and turn about. All this time we, the out-
siders, remained oppressed by the tremendous interests in-
volved in the conversation; and our host regarded us with
pride, as the victims of a salutary awe and astonishment.
I was very glad indeed to get up-stairs to Agnes, and to
walk with her in a corner, and to introduce Traddles to her,
who was shy, but agreeable, and the same good-natured
creature still. As he was obliged to leave early, on account
of going away next morning for a month, I had not nearly
so much conversation with him as I could have wished; but
we exchanged addresses, and promised ourselves the pleasure
of another meeting when he should come back to town. He
was greatly interested to hear that I knew Steerforth, and
spoke of him with such warmth that I made him tell Agnes
what he thought of him. But Agnes only looked at me the
while, and very slightly shook her head when only I ob-
As she was not among people with whom I believed she
could be very much at home, I was almost glad to hear that
she was going away within a few days, though I was sorry at
the prospect of parting from her again so soon. This caused
me to remain until all the company were gone. Conversing
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 37^
with her, and hearing her sing, was such a delightful re-
minder to me of my happy life in the grave old house she
had made so beautiful, that I could have remained there
half the night; but, having no excuse for staying any longer,
when the lights of Mr. Waterbrook's society were all snuffed
out, I took my leave very much against my inclination. I
felt then, more than ever, that she was my better Angel; and
if I thought of her sweet face and placid smile, as though
they had shone on me from some removed being, like an
Angel, I hope I thought no harm.
I have said that the company were all gone; but I ought
to have excepted Uriah, whom I don't include in that de-
nomination, and who had never ceased to hover near us. He
was close behind me when I went down-stairs. He was close
beside me, when I walked away from the house, slowly fit-
ting his long skeleton fingers into the still longer fingers of
a great Guy Fawkes pair of gloves.
It was in no disposition for Uriah's company, but in the
remembrance of the entreaty Agnes had made to me, that I
asked him if he would come home to my rooms, and have
*' Oh, really, Master Copperfield," he rejoined, — " I beg
your pardon. Mister Copperfield, but the other comes so
natural, — I don't like that you should put a constraint upon
yourself to ask a numble person like me to your ouse."
" There is no constraint in the case," said I. " Will you
" I should like to, very much," replied Uriah, with a writhe.
" Well, then, come along !" said I.
I could not help being rather short with him, but he ap-
peared not to mind it. We went the nearest way, without
conversing much upon the road; and he was so humble in
respect of those scarecrow gloves, that he was still putting
them on, and seemed to have made no advance in that labor,
when we got to my place.
I led him up the dark stairs, to prevent his knocking his
head against anything, and really his damp cold hand felt
so like a frog in mine, that I was tempted to drop it and run
away. Agnes and hospitality prevailed, however, and I
conducted him to my fireside. When I lighted my candles,
he fell into meek transports with the room that was revealed
to him; and when I heated the coffee in an unassuming
blcck-tin vessel, in which Mrs. Crupp delighted to prepare
374 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
it (chiefly, 1 believe, because it was not intended for the
purpose, being a shaving-pot, and because there was a
patent invention of great price mouldering away in the pan-
try), he professed so much emotion, that 1 could joyfully
have scalded him.
" Oh, really, Master Copperfield, — I mean Mister Copper-
field," said Uriah, "to see you waiting upon me is what I
never could have expected ! But, one way and another, so
many things happen to me which I never could have ex-
pected, I am sure, in my umble station, that it seems to rain
blessings on my ed. You have heard something, I des-say,
of a change in my expectations. Master Copperfield, / should
say, Mister Copperfield ?"
As he sat on my sofa, with his long knees drawn up under
his coffee-cup, his hat and gloves upon the ground close to
him, his spoon going softly round and round, his shadow-
less red eyes, which looked as if they had scorched their
lashes off, turned towards me without looking at me, the dis-
agreeable dints I have formerly described in his nostrils
coming and going with his breath, and a snaky undulation
pervading his frame from his chin to his boots, I decided in
my own mind that I disliked him intensely. It made me
very uncomfortable to have him for a guest, for I was young
then, and unused to disguise what I so strongly felt.
" You have heard something, I des-say, of a change in my
expectations. Master Copperfield, — I should say Mister Cop-
perfield ?" observed Uriah.
"Yes," said I, "something."
"Ah! I thought Miss Agnes would know of it!" he quietly
returned. "I'm glad to find Miss Agnes knows of it. Oh,
thank you. Master — Mister Copperfield!"
I could have thrown my bootjack at him (it lay ready on
the rug), for having entrapped me into the disclosure of
anything concerning Agnes, however immaterial. But I only
drank my coffee.
" What a prophet you have shown yourself. Mister Cop-
perfield!" pursued Uriah. "Dear me, what a prophet you
have proved yourself to be! Don't you remember saying to
me once, that perhaps I should be a partner in Mr. Wick-
field's business, and perhaps it might be Wickfield and Heep!
You may not recollect it; but when a person is umble. Mas-
ter Copperfield, a person treasures such things upj"
" I recollect talking about it," said I, "though I certainly
did not think it very likely then^"
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 375
"Oh! \j\io would have thought it likely, Mister Copper-
field!" returned Uriah, enthusiastically, "I am sure I didn't
myself. I recollect saying with my own lips that I was
much too umble. So I considered myself really and
He sat, with that carved grin on his face, looking at the
fire, as I looked at him.
" But the umblest persons. Master Copperfield," he pre-
sently resumed, " may be the instruments of good. I am
glad to think I have been the instrument of good to Mr.
Wickfield, and that I may be more so. Oh what a worthy
man he is. Mister Copperfield, but how imprudent he has
" I am sorry to hear it," said I. I could not help adding,
rather pointedly, " on all accounts."
" Decidedly so. Mister Copperfield," replied Uriah. " On
all accounts. Miss Agnes's above all! You don't remem-
ber your own eloquent expressions, Master Copperfield; but
/ remember how you said one day that everybody must ad-
mire her, and how I thanked you for it! You have forgot
that, I have no doubt, Master Copperfield?"
" No," said I, dryly.
"Oh how glad I am, you have not!" exclaimeti Uriah.
" To think that you should be the first to kindle the sparks
of ambition in my umble breast, and that you've not forgot
it! Oh! — Would you excuse me asking for a cup more
Something in the emphasis he laid upon the kindling of
those sparks, and something in the glance he directed at me
as he said it, had made me start as if I had seen him illumi-
nated by a blaze of light. Recalled by his request, preferred
in quite another tone of voice, I did the honors of the
shaving-pot; but I did them with an unsteadiness of hand,
a sudden sense of being no match for him, and a perplexed
suspicious anxiety as to what he might be going to say next,
which I felt could not escape his observation.
He said nothing at all. He stirred his coffee round and
round, he sipped it, he felt his chin softly with his grisly
hand, he looked at the fire, he looked about the room, he
gasped rather than smiled at me, he writhed and undulated
about, in his deferential servility, he stirred and sipped again,
but he left the renewal of the conversation to me.
" So, Mr. Wickfield," said I, at last, " who is worth fivt
3^5 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
hundred of you — or me;" for my life, I think I could not
have helped dividing that part of the sentence with an awk-
ward jerk; ''has been imprudent, has he, Mr. Heep?"
" Oh very imprudent indeed. Master Copperfield," returned
Uriah, sighing modestly. " Oh very much so! But I wish
you'd call me Uriah, if you please. It's like old times."
"Well! Uriah," said I, bolting it out with some difficulty.
"Thank you!" he returned, with fervor. "Thank you,
Master Copperfield! It's like the blowing of old breezes, or
the ringing of old bellses, to hea.r you say Uriah! I beg your
pardon. Was I making any observation?"
"About Mr. Wickfield,"'! suggested.
"Oh! Yes, truly," said Uriah. "Ah! Great imprudence
Master Copperfield! It's a topic that I wouldn't touch upon,