" So she makes," said Mr. Barkis after a long interval of
reflection, " all the apple parsties, and does all the cooking,
do she ?"
I replied that such was the fact.
"Well. I'll tell you what," said Mr. Barkis. "P'raps
you might be writin' to her ?"
" I shall certainly write to her," I rejoined.
" Ah!" he said, slowly turning his eyes towards me. " Well!
If you was writin* to her, p'raps you'd recollect to say that
Barkis was willin' ; would you."
" That Barkis is willing," I repeated, innocently. " Is
that all the message ? "
"Ye-es,"he said, considering. "Ye-s. Barkis is willin'."
" But you will be at Blunderstone again to-morrow, Mr.
Barkis," I said, faltering a little at the idea of my being far
away from it then, " and could give your own message so
As he repudiated this suggestion, however, with a jerk of
his head, and once more confirmed his previous request by
saying, with profound gravity, " Barkis is willin'. That's the
message," I readily undertook its transmission. While I
was waiting for the coach in the hotel at Yarmouth that
very afternoon, I procured a sheet of paper and an ink-
stand, and wrote a note to Peggotty which ran thus: " My
dear Peggotty. I have come here safe. Barkis is willing.
My love to mamma. Yours affectionately. P. S. He says
he particularly Avants you to know â€” Barkis is willifig.''
When I had taken this commission on myself, prospec-
tively, Mr. Barkis relapsed into perfect silence; and I, feel-
ing quite worn out by all that had happened lately, lay down
on a sack in the cart and fell asleep. I slept soundly until
we got to Yarmouth; which was so entirely new and strange
to me in the inn yard to which we drove, that I at once
abandoned a latent hope I had had of meeting with some of
Mr. Peggotty's family there, perhaps even with little Em'ly
The coach was in the yard, shining very much all over,
but without any horses tr ^^ a^ vet; and it looked in that
70 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
state as if nothing was more unlikely than its ever going to
London. I was thinking this, and wondering what would
ultimately become of my box, which Mr. Barkis had put
down on the yard-pavement bv the pole (he having driven
up the yard to turn his cart), and also what would ulti-
mately become of me, when a lady looked out of a bow-
window where some fowls and joints of meat were hanging
up, and said:
" Is that the little gentleman from Blunderstone.?"
"Yes, ma'am," I said!
" What name?" enquired the lady.
" Copperfield, ma'am," I said.
" That won't do," returned the lady. " Nobody's dinner is
paid for here, in that name."
" Is it Murdstone, ma'am?" I said.
" If you're Master Murdstone," said the lady, " why do
you go and give another name first?"
I explained to the lady how it was, who then rang a bell,
and called out, " William! show the coffee-room!" Upon
which a waiter came running out of a kitchen on the oppo-
site side of the yard, to show it, and seemed a great deal
surprised when he found he was only to show it to me.
It was a large long room with some large maps in it. I
doubt if I could have felt much stranger if the maps had
been real foreign countries, and I cast away in the middle
of them. I felt it was taking a liberty to sit down, with my
cap in my hand, on the corner of the chair nearest the door;
and when the waiter laid a cloth on purpose for me, and put
a set of casters on it, I think I must have turned red all over
He brought me some chops, and vegetables, and took the
covers off in such a bouncing manner that I was afraid I
must have given him some offence. But he greatly relieved
my mind by putting a chair for me at the table, and saying
very affably, "Now six-foot, come on!"
I thanked him, and took my seat at the board; but found
it extremely difficult to handle my knife and fork with any-
thing like dexterity, or to avoid splashing myself with the
gravy, while he was standing opposite, staring so hard, and
making me blush in the most dreadful manner every time I
caught his eye. After watching me into the second chop,
" There's half a pint of ale for you. Will you have it
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 71
I thanked him and said yes. Upon which he poured it
out of a jug into a large tumbler, and held it up against the
light, and made it look beautiful.
" My eye!" he said. " It seems a good deal, don't it?"
" It does seem a good deal," I answered with a smile.
For it was quite delightful to me, to find him so pleasant.
He was a twinkle-eyed, pimple-faced man, with his hair
standing upright all over his head; and as he stood with
one arm a-kimbo, holding up the glass to the light with the
other hand, he looked quite friendly.
" There was a gentleman here yesterday," he said, " a
stout gentleman, by the name of Topsawyer â€” perhaps you
" No," I said, " I don't thinkâ€”"
" In breeches and gaiters, broad-brimmed hat, grey coat,
speckled choaker," said the waiter.
" No," I said bashfully, '' 1 haven't the pleasureâ€”"
" He came in here," said the waiter, looking at the light
through the tumbler, " ordered a glass of this ale â€” would
order it â€” I told him not â€” drank it, and fell dead. It was
too old for him. It oughtn't to be drawn; that's the fact."
I was very much shocked to hear of this melancholy ac-
cident, and said I thought I had better have some water.
" Why you see," said the waiter, still looking at the light
through the tumbler, with one of his eyes shut up, " our
people don't like things being ordered and left. It offends
'em. But /'// drink it, if you like. I'm used to it, and use
is everything. I don't think it'll hurt me if I throw my
head back, and take it off quick. Shall I?"
I replied that he would much oblige me by drinking it, if
he thought he could do it safely, but by no means other-
wise. When he did throw his head back and take it off
quick, I had a horrible fear, I confess, of seeing him meet
the fate of the lamented Mr. Topsawyer, and fall lifeless on
the carpet. But it didn't hurt him. On the contrary, I
thought he seemed the fresher for it.
" What have we got here?" he said, putting a fork into my
dish. " Not chops!"
" Chops," I said.
" Lord bless my soul!" he exclaimed, " I didn't know they
were chops. Why, a chop's the very thing to take off the
bad effects of that beer! Ain't it lucky?"
So he took a chop by the bone in one hand, and apotatoe
72 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
in the other and ate away with a very good appetite, to my
extreme satisfaction. He afterwards took another chop and
another potatoe; and after that, another chop and another
potatoe. When we had done, he brought me a pudding,
and having set it before me, seemed to ruminate, and to be-
come absent in his mind for some moments.
" How's the pie?" he said, rousing himself.
" It's a pudding," I made answer.
"Pudding?" he exclaimed. "Why, bless me, so it is!
What!" looking at it nearer. "You don't mean to say it's
a batter pudding!"
"Yes, it is indeed."
" Why, a batter pudding," he said, taking up a table-spoon,
"is my favorite pudding! Ain't that lucky? Come on,
little 'un, and see who'll get most."
The waiter certainly got most. He entreated me more
than once to come in and win, but what with his table-spoon
to my tea-spoon, his dispatch to my dispatch, and his appe-
tite to my appetite, I was left far behind at the first mouth-
ful, and had no chance with him. I never saw any one en-
joy a pudding so much, I think; and he laughed, when it
was all gone, as if his enjoyment of it lasted still.
Finding him so very friendly and companionable, it was
then that I asked for the pen and ink and paper, to write to
Peggotty. He not only brought it immediately, but was
good enough to look over me while I wrote the letter.
When I had finished it, he asked me where I was going to
I said, " near London," which was all I knew,
" Oh, my eye !" he said, looking very low-spirited, " I am
sorry for that."
" Why ?" I asked him.
"Oh Lord !" he said, shaking his head, "that's the school
where they broke the boy's ribs â€” two ribs â€” a little boy he was.
I should say he was â€” let me see â€” how old are you, about ?"
I told him between eight and nine â€” almost nine.
" That's just his age," he said. " He was eight years and six
months old when they broke his first rib; eight years and eight
months old when they broke his second, and did for him."
I could not disguise from myself, or from the waiter, that
this was an uncomfortable coincidence, and inquired how it
was done. His answer was not cheering to my spirits, for
it consisted gf two dismal words, " With whopping."
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 73
The blowing of the coach-horn in the yard was a season-
able diversion, which made me get up and hesitatingly en-
quire, in the mingled pride and diffidence of having a purse
(which I took out of my pocket), if there was anything to
"There's a sheet of letter-paper," he returned. "Did
you ever buy a sheet of letter-paper ?"
I could not remember that I ever had.
" It's dear," he said, " on account of the duty. Three-
pence. That's the way we're taxed in this country. There's
nothing else, except the waiter. Never mind the ink. /
lose by that."
" What should you â€” what should I â€” how much ought I
to â€” what would it be right to pay the waiter, if you please }"
I stammered, bluslwng.
" If I hadn't a family, and that family hadn't the cow-
pox," said the waiter, " I wouldn't take a sixpence. If I
didn't support a aged pairint, and a lovely sister," â€” here
the waiter was greatly agitated â€” " I wouldn't take a far-
thing. If I had a good place, and was treated well here, I
should beg acceptance of a trifle, instead of taking of it.
But I live on broken wittles â€” and I sleep on the coals " â€”
here the waiter burst into tears.
I was very much concerned for his misfortunes, and felt
that any recognition short of ninepence would be mere
brutality and hardness of heart. Therefore I gave him one
of my three bright shillings, which he received with much
humility and veneration, and spun up with his thumb, di-
rectly afterwards, to try the goodness of.
It was a little disconcerting to me, to find, when I was
being helped up behind the coach, that I was supposed to
have eaten all the dinner without any assistance. I discov-
ered this, from over-hearing the lady in the bow-window
say to the guard: " Take care of that child, George, or
he'll burst !" and observing that the women-servants who
were about the place came out to look and giggle at me as a
young phenomenon. My unfortunate friend the waiter,
who had quite recovered his spirits, did not appear to be
disturbed by this, but joined in the general admiration with-
out being at all confused. If I had any doubt of him, I
suppose this half- awakened it; but I am inclined to believe
that with the simple confidence of a child, and the natural
reliance of a child upon superior years (qualities I am very
74 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
sorry any children should prematurely change for A^orldly
wisdom), I had no serious mistrust of him on the whole,
I felt it rather hard, I must own, to be made, without de-
serving it, the subject of jokes between the coachman and
guard as to the coach drawing heavy behind, on account of
my sitting there, and as to the greater expediency of my
travelling by wagon. The story of my supposed appetite
getting wind among the outside passengers, they were merry
upon it likewise; and asked me whether I was going to be
paid for, at school, as two brothers or three, and whether
I was contracted for, or went upon the regular terms; with
other pleasant questions. But the worst of it was, that 1
knew I should be ashamed to eat anything when an op-
portunity offered, and that, after a rather light dinner, I
should remain hungry all night â€” for I had left my cakes be-
hind, at the hotel, in my hurry. My apprehensions were
realized. When we stopped for supper I couldn't muster
courage to take any, though I should have liked very much,
but sat by the fire and said I didn't want anything. This
did not save me from more jokes, either; for a husky-voiced
gentleman with a rough face, who had been eating out of a
sandwich-box nearly all the way, except when he had been
drinking out of a bottle, said I was like a boa constrictor, who
took enough at one meal to last him a long time; after which,
he actually brought a rash out upon himself with boiled beef.
We had started from Yarmouth at three o'clock in the
afternoon, and we were due in London about eight next
morning. It was Midsummer weather, and the evening was
very pleasant. When we passed through a village, I
pictured to myself what the insides of the houses were like,
and what the inhabitants were about; and when boys came
running after us, and got up behind, and swung there for a
little-way, I wondered whether their fathers were alive, and
whether they were happy at home. I had plenty to think
of, therefore, besides my mind running continually on the
kind of place I was going to â€” which was an awful specu-
lation. Sometimes, I remember, I resigned myself to
thoughts of home and Peggotty; and to endeavoring, in a
confused blind way, to recall how I had felt, and what sort
of boy I used to be, before I bit Mr. Murdstone: which I
couldn't satisfy myself about by any means, I seemed to
have bitten him in such a remote antiquity.
DAVID COPPERFIELD. ^ 75
The night was not so pleasant as the evening, for it got
chilly; and being put between two gentlemen (the rough-
faced one and another) to prevent my tumbling off the
coach, I was nearly smothered by their falling asleep, and
completely blocking me up. They squeezed me so hard
sometimes, that I could not help crying out *' Oh! if you
please !" â€” which they didn't like at all, because it woke
them. Opposite me was an elderly lady in a great fur cloak,
who looked in the dark more like a haystack than a lady,
she was wrapped up to such a degree. This lady had a
basket with her, and she hadn't known what to do with it,
for a long time, until she found that on account of my legs
being short, it could go underneath me. It cramped and
hurt me so, that it made me perfectly miserable; but if I
moved in the least, and made a glass that was in the basket
rattle against something else (as it was sure to do), she gave
me the crudest poke with her foot, and said, " Come, don't
you fidget. Your bones are young enough, /'m sure !"
At last the sun rose, and then my companions seemed to
sleep easier. The difficulties under which they had labored
all night, and which had found utterance in the most terrific
gasps and snorts, are not to be conceived. As the sun got
higher, their sleep became lighter, and so they gradually
one by one awoke. I recollect being very much surprised
by the feint everybody made, then, of not having been to
sleep at all, and by the uncommon indignation with which
every one repelled the charge. I labor under the same kind
of astonishment to this day, having invariably observed that
of all human weaknesses, the one to which our common
nature is the least disposed to confess (I cannot imagine why)
is the weakness of having gone to sleep in a coach.
What an amazing place London was to me when I saw it
in the distance, and how I believed all the adventures of all
my favorite heroes to be constantly enacting and re-enacting
there, and how 1 vaguely made it out in my own mind to be
fuller of wonders and wickedness than all the cities of the
earth, I need not stop here to relate. We approached it by
degrees, and got, in due time, to the inn in the Whitechapel
district, for which we were bound. I forget whether it was
the Blue Bull, or the Blue Boar; but I know it was the Blue
Something, and that its likeness was painted up on the back
of the coach.
The guard's eye lighted on me as he was getting down,
and he said at the bookiuiT-office door;
76 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
" Is there anybody here for a yoongster booked in the
name of Murdstone, from Bloonderstone, Sooffolk, to be left
'till called for ?"
" Try Copperfield, if you please, sir," said I, looking
*' Is there anybody here for a yoongster, booked in the
name of Murdstone, from Bloonderstone, Sooffolk, but own-
ing to the name of Copperfield, to be left 'till called for ?"
said the guard. ^' Come ? Is there anybody .''"
No. There was nobody. I looked anxiously around;
but the inquiry made no impression on any of the bystan-
ders, if I except a man in gaiters, with one eye, who sug-
gested that they had better put a brass collar round my
neck, and tie me up in the stable.
A ladder was brought, and I got down after the lady, who
was like a haystack: not daring to stir, until her basket was
removed. The coach was clear of passengers by that time,
the luggage was very soon cleared out, the horses had been
taken out before the luggage, and now the coach itself was
wheeled and backed off by some hostlers, out of the way.
Still, nobody appeared, to claim the dusty youngster from
More solitary than Robinson Crusoe, who had nobody to
look at him and see that he was solitary, I went into the
booking-office, and, by invitation of the clerk on duty, passed
behind the counter, and sat down on the scale at which they
weighed the luggage. Here, as I sat looking at the parcels,
packages, and books, and inhaling the smell of stables (ever
since associated with that morning), a procession of most
tremendous considerations began to march through my mind.
Supposing nobody should ever fetch me, how long would
they consent to keep me there ? Would they keep me long
enough to spend seven shillings ? Should I sleep at night in
one of those wooden binns with the other luggage, and wash
myself at the pump in the yard in the morning; or should I
be turned out every night, and expected to come again to
be left 'till called for, when the office opened next day ?
Supposing there was no mistake in the case, and Mr. Murd-
stone had devised this plan to get rid of me, what should I
do ? If they allowed me to remain there until my seven shil-
lings were spent, I couldn't hope to remain there when I be-
gan to starve. That would obviously be inconvenient and
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 77
unpleasant to the customers, besides entailing on the Blue
Whatever-it-was, the risk of funeral expenses. If I started
off at once, and tried to walk back home, how could I ever
find my way, how could I ever hope to walk so far, how could
I make sure of any one but Peggotty, even if I got back ?
If I found out the nearest proper authorities, and offered
myself to go for a soldier, or a sailor, I was such a little fel-
low that it was most likely they wouldn't take me in. These
thoughts, and a hundred other such thoughts, turned me burn-
ing hot, and made me giddy with apprehension and dismay, 1
was in the hei-ght of my fever when a man entered and whis-
pered to the clerk, who presently slanted me off the scale,
and pushed me over to him, as if I were weighed, bought, de-
livered, and paid for.
As I went out of the office, hand in hand with this new
acquaintance, I stole a look at him. He was a gaunt, sallow
young man, with hollow cheeks, and a chin almost as black
as Mr. Murdstone's; but there the likeness ended, for his
whiskers were shaved off, and his hair, instead of being
glossy, was rusty and dry. He was dressed in a suit of
black clothes which were rather rusty and dry too, and
rather short in the sleeves and legs; and he had a white
neck-kerchief on that was not over-clean. I did not, and
do not, suppose that this neck-kerchief was all the linen he
wore, but it was all he showed or gave any hint of.
" You're the new boy ?" he said.
" Yes, sir," I said. I supposed I was. I didn't know.
" I'm one of the masters at Salem House," he said.
I made him a bow and felt very much overawed. I was
so ashamed to allude to a common-place thing like my box,
to a scholar and a master at Salem House, that we had gone
some little distance from the yard before I had the hardihood
to mention it. We turned back, on my humbly insinuating
that it might be useful to me hereafter; and he told the
clerk that the carrier had instructions to call for it at noon.
." If you please, sir," I said, when we had accomphshed
about the same distance as before, " is it far .''"
*' It's down by Blackheath," he said.
" Is that far, sir ?" I diffidently asked.
" It's a good step," he said. " We shall go by the stage-
coach. It's about six miles."
I was so faint and tired, that the idea of holding out for
six miles more, was too much for me. I took heart to tell
78 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
him that I had had nothing all night, and that if he would
allow me to buy something to eat, I should be very much
obliged to him. He appeared surprised at this â€” I see him
stop and look at me now â€” and after considering for a few
moments, said he wanted to call on an old person who lived
not far off, and that the best way would be for me to buy
some bread, or whatever I liked best that was wholesome,
and make my breakfast at her house, where we could get
Accordingly we looked in at a baker's window, and after
\ I had made a series of proposals to buy everything that was
"^ bilious in the shop, and he had rejected them one by one,
we decided in favor of a nice little loaf of brown bread,
which cost me threepence. Then, at a grocer's shop, we
bought an egg and a slice of streaky bacon; which still left
what I thought a good deal of change, out of the second of
the bright shillings, and made me consider London a very
cheap place. These provisions laid in, we went on through
a great noise and uproar that confused my weary head be-
yond description, and over a bridge which, no doubt, was
London Bridge (indeed I think he told me so, but I was
half asleep), until we came to the poor person's house,
which was a part of some alms-houses, as I knew by their
look, and by an inscription on a stone over the gate, which
said they were established for twenty-five poor women.
The Master at Salem House lifted the latch of one of a
number of little black doors that were all alike, and had
each a little diamond-paned window on one side, and another
little diamond-paned window above; and we went into the
little house of one of these poor old women, who was blow-
ing a fire to make a little saucepan boil. On seeing the
master enter, the old woman stopped with the bellows on
her knee, and said something that I thought sounded like
'* My Charley ! " but on seeing me come in too, she got up,
and rubbing her hands made a confused sort of half courtesy.
" Can you cook this young gentleman's breakfast for him,
if you please ?" said the Master at Salem House.
" Can I ?" said the old woman. " Yes can I, sure !"
" How's Mrs. Fibbitson to-day ?" said the Master, looking
at another old woman in a large chair by the fire, who was
such a bundle of clothes that I feel grateful to this hour for
not having sat upon her by mistake.
" Ah, she's poorly," said the first old woman. " It's one
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 79
of her bad days. If the fire was to go out, through any
accident,' I verily believe she'd go out too, and never come
to life again."
As they looked at her, I looked at her also. Although it
was a warm day, she seemed to think of nothing but the
fire. I fancied she was jealous even of the saucepan on it; /
and I have reason to know that she took its impressment into ^
the service of boiling my egg and broiling my bacon, in y
dudgeon; for I saw her, with my own discomfited eyes, v/
shake her fist at me once, when those culinary operations ^^
were going on, and no one else was looking. The sun
streamed ^'n at the little window, but she sat with her own
back and the back of the large chair towards it, screening y
the fire as if she were sedulously keeping it warm, instead
of it keeping her warm, and watching it in a most distrustful
manner. The completion of the preparations for my break-
fast, by relieving the fire, gave her such extreme joy that
she laughed aloud â€” and a very unmelodious laugh she had,
I must say.
I sat down to my brown loaf, my egg, and my rasher of
bacon with a basin of milk besides, and made a most
delicious meal. While I was yet in the full enjoyment of
it, the old wom.an of the house said to the Master:
" Have you got your flute with you ?"
" Yes," he returned.
" Have a blow at it," said the old woman, coaxingly.
" Do !"
The Master, upon this, put his hand underneath the skirts