Charles Dickens: David
THE PLOT of David Copperfield
David Copperfield concerns the growing-up of a boy, who, orphaned at an early age, experiences considerable hardship. He is ill-treated by his stepfather, Mr. Murdstone, then forced to work under appalling conditions in a London warehouse. This is a marked contrast to his idyllic early childhood, before the re-marriage and death of his gentle mother.
David's life improves greatly when he runs away from his job to seek out his Aunt, Betsey Trotwood. She sends him to school and arranges for him to board with kindly lawyer, Mr. Wickfield, whose daughter, Agnes, proves to be a good friend to David. Once his education is completed, David is articled in law and meets Dora, whom he loves passionately and marries.
The main action of the plot concerns Mr. Wickfield's clerk, Uriah Heep, who is both ambitious and malicious. Heep secretly plots him employer's riun. Once his wicked schemes are exposed, it only remains for David, now an accomplished writer, to find truE fulfilment. When Dora dies, David turns to Agnes for comfort. She has quietly loved him all along and, by the end of the book, David has matured enough to return her love.
By Poppy Edmunds
CHAPTER 1 – I AM BORN
David Copperfield is born (delivered by Mr Chillip. It tells of how his father died when Clara, his mother, was 6 months pregnant with him. David's father's aunt (Betsey Trotwood) arrives when he is being born. She leaves when it is announced that the baby is a boy. Peggotty, the housemaid is happy.
CHAPTER 2 – I OBSERVE
Clara Copperfield is out with Mr Murdstone, and David speaks to Peggotty about marriage. She says she is quite happy single. Clara Copperfield returns with Murdstone and Copperfield takes an instant dislike to him.
CHAPTER 3 – I HAVE A CHANGE
Copperfield goes to Peggotty’s brother’s house to stay in Yarmouth. He falls in love with Emily. (Mr Peggotty’s niece). They return home after 2 weeks, to find Clara Copperfield married to Murdstone and his sister living there too.
CHAPTER 4 – I FALL INTO DISGRACE
After failing to successfully complete some lessons, Copperfield is whipped and he bites a hole in Murdstone’s arm. He then is locked in his room for 5 days. Murdstone complains that Clara Copperfield is too weak.
CHAPTER 5 – I AM SENT AWAY FROM HOME
Copperfield is extremely upset when he is sent away to school. (He learns that he has been sent early as a punishment). Mr Mell looks after him until the other pupils arrive. However, he is made to wear a plaque on his back, which reads Take Care of Him, He Bites. Mr Creakle, the headmaster, is extremely nasty and violent.
CHAPTER 6 – I ENLARGE MY CIRCLE OF ACQAINTANCE
The other pupils arrive at the school and he meets an extremely sympathetic boy, 6 years older than him, named Steerforth.
CHAPTER 7 – MY ‘FIRST HALF’ AT SALEM HOUSE
The term begins and he gets flogged once, but enjoys himself.
CHAPTER 8 – MY HOLIDAYS. ESPECIALLY ONE HAPPY AFTERNOON
Copperfield arrives home for the holidays when Mr and Miss Murdstone are away for the day. Clara Copperfield is holding a baby boy, Edward Murdstone. She is very pleased to see him, so is Peggotty. They ate ‘like the old days’. Copperfield goes to bed and in the morning he apologises to Murdstone, who accepts his apology.
Copperfield welcomes his baby brother.
CHAPTER 9 – I HAVE A MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY
On his birthday, Mr Sharp goes to Copperfield to tell him that someone wants to see him. He is very excited and expects it to be Peggotty, but it is Mr and Mrs Creakle. Mrs Creakle tells Copperfield that his has died, as well as the baby.
Copperfield is taken to a shop, Mr Omer’s, where he is fitted with mourning clothes and sent to live at home. They have the funeral.
Peggotty tells Copperfield of how his mother knew she was dying.
CHAPTER 10 – I BECOME NEGLECTED, AND AM PROVIDED FOR
Peggotty is given a month’s notice, and so she decides to stay with Mr Peggotty, Emily and Ham once this time is up. Peggotty says that whatever happens to Copperfield, she will be there for him.
Peggotty and Mr Barkis (coach driver) get married. Copperfield is told that he is to go to work in London.
CHAPTER 11 – I BEGIN LIFE ON MY OWN ACCOUNT, AND I DON’T LIKE IT
Copperfield has to work at Murdstone and Grinby’s warehouse by the waterside. The warehouse is ‘literally overrun by rats’.
The business is the supply of wines and spirits to certain packet ships. Copperfield has to wash bottles and then glue the labels on, for 6 shillings a week.
Mr Micawber tells Copperfield that he is to stay with them as a lodger (because they owe a lot of money).
Copperfield writes to Peggotty many times but doesn’t want her to know the truth about his job.
Micawber is arrested and sent to King’s Bench (debtors) Prison. Copperfield visits him. Captain Hopkins complains about debtor’s prisons and this allows Micawber and some others to be freed.
CHAPTER 12 – LIKING LIFE ON MY OWN ACCOUNT NO BETTER, I FORM A GREAT RESOLUTION
After Micawber is set free, they decide to start a new life in Plymouth.
Copperfield goes to live with Tipp (work mate), but later decides that he wants to find and live with Betsey Trotwood in Dover.
Copperfield asks someone to move his trunk to a coach, but he steals it, and his money, threatening to go to the police and report a runaway.
CHAPTER 13 – THE SEQUEL OF MY RESOLUTION
On the way to Dover, Copperfield sells his waistcoat and jacket for money to buy food. He walks all the way to Dover to see his aunt. Once Copperfield explains the situation, she seemed nice and welcoming.
CHAPTER 14 – MY AUNT MAKES HER MIND UP ABOUT ME
Betsey Trotwood writes a letter to Murdstone telling him where Copperfield is. Mr and Miss Murdstone come to collect him, but Betsey Trotwood says that she wants to take care of him.
Betsey Trotwood tells Copperfield that he is her adoptive son and change his name to David Trotwood Copperfield.
CHAPTER 15 – I MAKE ANOTHER BEGINNING
Mr Dick (Betsey Trotwood’s lodger) and Copperfield become good friends.
Copperfield’s aunt decides that Copperfield is to go to school in Canterbury. He stays with Mr Wickfield, a lawyer, and his daughter and housemaid, Agnes. Uriah Heep is Wickfield’s clerk.
CHAPTER 16 – I AM A NEW BOY IN MORE SENSES THAN ONE
Copperfield meets his new headmaster, Dr Strong.
Mr Jack Maldon, Annie’s cousin, (Annie is Dr Strong’s young wife) has a going away party. He is going to India.
CHAPTER 17 – SOMEBODY TURNS UP
A person is hanging around Betsey Trotwood’s house and frightening her.
Copperfield has tea with Heep and his mother, who claim that they are ‘much too umble’. While they are having tea, Micawber walks past and tells him that the reason they couldn’t get to Plymouth is because of the Custom Office. Micawber is introduced to the Heeps.
Later on, Copperfield has a party with them, which is fun.
The next day, Copperfield receives a letter from Micawber saying that he has no money and that the house in London is too be demolished.
CHAPTER 18 – A RETROSPECT
Copperfield is made head boy.
CHAPTER 19 – I LOOK ABOUT ME, AND MAKE A DISCOVERY
Copperfield leaves school, but can’t decide what he wants to do, so his aunt suggests he goes to see Peggotty. Before he leaves, the people that he knows in Canterbury have a leaving party for him. Agnes asks Copperfield whether he has noticed anything odd about her father’s behaviour. Copperfield says yes.
On the way to stay with Peggotty, Copperfield stays in a hotel overnight and meets up with Steerforth. They are both overjoyed.
CHAPTER 20 – STEERFORTH’S HOME
At breakfast the next day, Steerforth offered him to stay for one or two days at his house. Then he shows him the sights.
Living with Steerforth is his mother, and her friend, Miss Rosa Dartle. She has a scar on her chin, which Steerforth later confesses that he did to her when he was younger by throwing a hammer at her.
CHAPTER 21 – LITTLE EM’LY
Steerforth says that he wishes to come with Copperfield to Yarmouth.
In Yarmouth, Steerforth and Copperfield stop to visit Peggotty and Barkis. Barkis is very rheumatic now.
They also see Mrs Gummidge, Mr Peggotty, Emily, and Ham.
On the night they arrive, they are having an engagement party for Emily and Ham.
CHAPTER 22 – SOME OLD SCENES, AND SOME NEW PEOPLE
Copperfield visits Blunderstone Rookery (his old home) quite a few times to think about his past.
Steerforth buys a boat for Mr Peggotty to look after. Littimer, Steerforth manservant, arrives and tells them that Miss Mowcher was in the area. She is a fat beautician.
A woman named Martha finds Emily to ask her for some money and saying that she is very poor. (She used to work with Emily at Mr Omer’s shop).
Emily apologises for being an awful wife.
CHAPTER 23 – I CORROBORATE MR DICK, AND CHOOSE A PROFESSION
Steerforth and Copperfield leave Yarmouth. Steerforth goes home, after Copperfield receives a letter from his aunt saying that he should be a Proctor.
Copperfield and his aunt go to Spenlow and Jorkins to find out about the job. It will cost Ł1000 for the training. They go to a flat to rent, which Copperfield accepts. Mrs Crupp owns this flat.
CHAPTER 24 – MY FIRST OBSESSION
Copperfield has a housewarming party with Steerforth and his Oxford friends, Granger and Markham. Copperfield gets really drunk and decides to go to the theatre, but he sees Agnes there and is very embarrassed.
CHAPTER 25 – GOOD AND BAD ANGELS
Copperfield gets an invitation from Agnes to meet him. She tells him that she forgives him for last night. Copperfield says that she is his good Angel.
Agnes warns Copperfield that Steerforth is his bad Angel, but he won’t listen. She goes on to say that Heep is planning to go into business with her father, but subtly, trying to overpower him.
Mr and Mrs Waterbrook own the place in which this conversation is taking place. They invite them both to dinner with plenty of other guests, such as Heep. Traddles is there (from Salem House).
Copperfield walks home with Heep.
It is quite clear that Copperfield hates Heep because of what he is doing to Mr Wickfield. Heep then confesses that he loves Agnes. He stays the night because it is too late to go back to his boarding house.
During the night, Copperfield keeps having the urge to put the poker through him.
CHAPTER 26 – I FALL INTO CAPTIVITY
After Agnes and Heep leave for Canterbury, Copperfield gets asked to go to Norwood with Mr Spenlow.
Copperfield meets his daughter and it is love at first sight. But with Miss Dora Spenlow was Miss Murdstone, her chaperone. Miss Murdstone says that she wants to get on better with Copperfield, he agrees.
He walks round, in hope to see her, and on the occasions that he does, it is harder to leave her.
Mrs Crupp tries to comfort Copperfield.
CHAPTER 27 – TOMMY TRADDLES
Copperfield decides to visit Traddles. He has a good time. He reveals that Mr and Mrs Micawber are living in the flat below him. They both owe money, but Micawber tells Copperfield that he is going to get some money soon in a new business venture.
Traddles is working with the Encyclopaedia and wants to enter into journalism.
CHAPTER 28 – MICAWBER’S GAUNLET
Traddles and Mr and Mrs Micawber come over to dinner. They have a good time until Littimer appears looking for Steerforth.
Micawber confesses that he is going into the brewing business.
After the party, Steerforth arrives and when Copperfield tells him that Traddles had been there, he says that he doesn’t want to see him. He leaves and when Copperfield gets undressed, he finds a letter that he remembered Micawber gave to him.
The letter says that Traddles owes a lot of money and it effects Micawber.
CHAPTER 29 – I VISIT STEERFORTH AT HIS HOME, AGAIN
Dartle asks Copperfield at Steerforth’s house why he is away so much and why he acts oddly recently.
Steerforth and Copperfield ask Rosa to play the harp. At the end, Steerforth says that for the future they should love each other very much. She runs off.
Copperfield leaves early next morning.
CHAPTER 30 – A LOSS
Copperfield goes to Yarmouth and stays at the inn. He goes to see Mr Omer and they talk of Emily and how she seems unsettled. Copperfield then goes to see Barkis who is very ill, and later dies.
CHAPTER 31 – A GREATER LOSS
Copperfield takes care of the will: things are left to Copperfield, Emily and Peggotty. The funeral is held. Ham returns to the boathouse to say that Emily had left a note to say that she didn’t love Ham enough. They work out that she’s eloped with Steerforth. Mr Peggotty decides to look for her.
CHAPTER 32 – THE BEGINNING OF A LONG JOURNEY
Ham, Mr Peggotty and Copperfield look for Emily in Yarmouth, but have no luck. Copperfield goes to Peggotty’s house and sends her to bed.
Miss Mowcher arrives to say that she felt Emily was abroad. Mr Peggotty goes abroad to look for her.
CHAPTER 33 – BLISSFUL
Copperfield sees Murdstone with Mr Spenlow. Dora is having a picnic for her birthday and Copperfield is invited.
Dora tells Copperfield that Murdstone is to get married the same day. Copperfield proposes to her, and she accepts. Her best friend, Julia Mills is happy.
They decide that it should be a secret engagement.
CHAPTER 34 – MY AUNT ASTONISHES ME
Copperfield is speaking with Traddles when he tells Copperfield that Micawber has changed his name to Mortimer, so the debt collectors can’t find him. He also only comes out after dark wearing glasses.
Traddles has the broker round to take away a table and flower pot because he owes money, but he gets Peggotty to buy them back for him.
When Peggotty and Copperfield go to his house, Mr Dick and Betsey Trotwood are sitting there with their belongings. She admits that she is ruined.
CHAPTER 35 – DEPRESSION
Copperfield goes to see Mr Spenlow then Mr Jorkins to cancel his articles so he could get his money back for his aunt – he was refused.
Agnes tells of Heep and his mother living in their house and making their lives a misery. She sees Betsey Trotwood. She tells of how she tried to sell her investments, but failed and that her only income is by letting her house for Ł70 per year.
Agnes says that Dr Strong is looking to retire and wants a lawyer, to sort out his money. Copperfield writes to him asking if he could have the job.
Mr Wickfield and Heep arrive to see Betsey Trotwood. Mr Wickfield looks very ill.
CHAPTER 36 – ENTHUSIASM
Copperfield goes to see Dr Strong. He tells Copperfield that he will work his hardest and he is not to give up.
Then he suggests that Copperfield might like to work on his dictionary with him, two hours in the morning and two to three hours in the evening, weekends off.
Traddles and Copperfield try to help Mr Dick – they pay him to copy out his memorial - but removing all references to King Charles the first from it. Copperfield gets a letter from Micawber through Traddles saying that he has found a promising job. They meet him at the Gray’s Inn Road. Micawber says that he is going to help Heep in Canterbury.
CHAPTER 37 – A LITTLE COLD WATER
Copperfield tries to explain to Dora that she will have to realise that she is marrying a poor man - and she may have to look at a cookbook. She gets worried and frightened.
CHAPTER 38 – A DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP
Mr Spenlow and Miss Murdstone tell Copperfield that he’s not to marry Dora. The next day, Mr Spenlow is found dead after falling off his horse and carriage – they think. They look for his will everywhere, but realise he never made one because he is broke.
CHAPTER 39 – WICKFIELD AND HEEP
Betsey Trotwood sends Copperfield to Canterbury to take his mind off Dora. He stays with the Wickfields. After supper, when Agnes and Mrs Heep leave, Heep says that he wants to marry Agnes, but Mr Wickfield gets angry and refuses, but the next morning he apologises to Uriah.
CHAPTER 40 – THE WANDERER
When Copperfield walks back from Dr Strong’s house, he sees Mr Peggotty. He says that he’s been to France, Italy and Switzerland to look for Emily. He also shows Copperfield some money he was sent.
CHAPTER 41 – DORA’S AUNTS
Copperfield goes to see Dora’s aunts to see if he can still get married. They say yes on the condition that they must agree to anything that will be done first. Copperfield agrees.
CHAPTER 42 – MISCHIEF
Dora meets Agnes in Putney – they like each other. Copperfield goes to Canterbury to the Doctor’s house to find Heep, Mr Wickfield and the Doctor being told she is having an affair with Maldon.
Copperfield gets a letter from Mrs Micawber saying that Micawber is changed and is cold towards his children.
CHAPTER 43 – ANOTHER RETROSPECT
Dora and Copperfield move to a cottage in Highgate and his aunt moves close by. Copperfield is starting to get regular stories published in a magazine and making a regular income. Traddles presents his fiancé – Sophy. Copperfield and Dora marry.
CHAPTER 44 – OUR HOUSEKEEPING
The housekeeper – Mary Anne Paragon is useless, so Copperfield suggests that Dora sack her, and she says that she couldn’t and starts crying.
Betsey Trotwood tells him not to argue and concentrate on Dora’s good points and not the bad ones. Copperfield apologises. They sack the housekeeper.
Traddles is invited to supper, but the food is a disaster.
CHAPTER 45 – MR DICK FULFILS MY AUNT’S PREDICTIONS
Mr Dick admits that he’s simple. Dr Strong makes his will and Annie apologises for the affair with Maldon.
CHAPTER 46 – INTELLIGENCE
As Copperfield walks past Steerforth’s home, Dartle says that she wants to talk to him. Littimer tells of how they went to France, Italy, and Switzerland. Steerforth ‘became restless’ Littimer says, and Emily is told that she should marry ‘a very respectable person’.
Littimer goes on to say that Emily ran away from Italy and hasn’t been seen since. Steerforth sacked Littimer and sent him home.
Copperfield tells Mr Peggotty this information and he is convinced that Emily is still alive. They decide to look for Martha, to see if she knows where she is.
CHAPTER 47 – MARTHA
Mr Peggotty and Copperfield are in Westminster. Martha tells them that Emily is pleasant, kind and gentle.
When Copperfield gets back to London, he sees his aunt’s light on and the door open, with a man standing outside – the same man that was a nuisance in Dover. She reveals that he is her husband.
CHAPTER 48 – DOMESTIC
Copperfield tries to tell Dora that she is too soft on people. She is ill, because she gives birth to a stillborn baby.
CHAPTER 49 – I AM INVOLVED IN A MYSTERY
Both Traddles and Copperfield get a letter – Traddles from Mrs Micawber and Copperfield from Micawber.
In Micawber letter, he asks to meet him and Traddles. They have supper at his aunt’s house – and Micawber reveals that Heep is a liar and a cheat.
CHAPTER 50 – MR PEGGOTTY’S DREAM COMES TRUE
Martha sees Copperfield and tells him that she had left a note for Mr Peggotty. Then she takes him to Golden Square by coach. They climb the stairs of an old and unsafe house, where Emily is working as a prostitute. They are following Dartle up the stairs – she tells her that she should be whipped and punished for what she did. Emily says she had loved Steerforth and Dartle says that she loved him.
Mr Peggotty comes in as Dartle is leaving and tells Emily that she is coming home.
CHAPTER 51 – THE BEGINNING OF A LONGER JOURNEY
Mr Peggotty comes to Copperfield’s house and tells him and his aunt of Emily’s journey.
Betsey Trotwood says that she wanted to be Godmother to his dead baby.
Mr Peggotty tells them that he is going to emigrate to Australia and to start a new life, and that the boat leaves in six weeks to two months.
Copperfield and Mr Peggotty go to Yarmouth. Copperfield goes to see Mr Omer, who is now wheelchair bound, and loving it.
Ham has found a new house, Peggotty’s moved out of her house. Mr Peggotty and Mrs Gummidge are going to London to later go to Australia, after moving out of the boathouse.
CHAPTER 52 – I ASSIST AT AN EXPLOSION
Traddles, Betsey Trotwood, Mr Dick and Copperfield go to Canterbury, on Micawber’s instruction.
Micawber tells them to go to the lawyer’s office five minutes after their meeting.
They do this, and all sit in a room including Agnes, Heep and his mother. Micawber tells of how Heep has been cheating and forging Mr Wickfield’s signature for more money.
Micawber is happy and Betsey Trotwood says that she will pay for the Micawbers to emigrate to Australia if they wanted as a thank you gift for uncovering Heep’s dirty dealings.
CHAPTER 53 – ANOTHER RETROSPECT
Dora asks for Agnes to come and speak to her. When they are speaking, Copperfield is downstairs and Jip (Dora’s dog) dies by his feet. Agnes comes downstairs to say that Dora is dead too.
CHAPTER 54 – MICAWBER’S TRANSACTIONS
Traddles tells Betsey Trotwood that her money is safe. She and Copperfield go to her husband’s funeral.
CHAPTER 55 – TEMPEST
Copperfield and Betsey Trotwood had left the houses at Highgate, and had moved into temporary accommodation in Covent Garden. The plan was for Betsey Trotwood to go back to Dover and Copperfield was to go abroad.
Before he goes, Copperfield writes Emily a letter, saying that he had seen Ham. He writes exactly what Ham asked him to write.
Copperfield gets a letter back from Emily saying that she wants forgiveness and to say goodbye. Copperfield wants to give the letter to Ham, so he could see it.
When Copperfield arrives in Yarmouth, a great storm is raging. This continues for several days. Early next morning, a man asks him if he wants to see a boat in the water go to pieces.
Copperfield agrees. He sees Ham go in the water to try and save the drowning passengers of the boat. He is told not to, but he ignores them.
Ham’s body is recovered the next day, and he is put beside Steerforth’s body.
CHAPTER 56 – THE NEW WOUND, AND THE OLD
Copperfield tells Mrs Steerforth and Dartle the bad news.
CHAPTER 57 – THE EMIGRANTS
Micawber gets arrested twice, involving the Heep case, but he pays them off. The Micawber family, Emily, Mr Peggotty and Mrs Gummidge leave for Australia.
CHAPTER 58 – ABSENCE
Because Copperfield is so upset, he goes abroad to Switzerland, Italy and the Alps.
Copperfield works on his book while he is living in a valley in Switzerland and sends it to Traddles, who publishes it.
Three years after the emigrant ship left, Copperfield decides to return home – loving Agnes, but convinced that she doesn’t love him.
CHAPTER 59 – RETURN
Copperfield goes to see Traddles and his wife, Sophy. All of her sisters are there. Once he leaves Traddles, he returns to the inn where he is staying and sees Mr Chillip.
The next day, Copperfield goes to Dover to see his aunt. Peggotty is her housekeeper.
CHAPTER 60 – AGNES
Copperfield asks Betsey Trotwood whether Agnes has any attachments and his aunt says that she may have one.
Next day, Copperfield rides to Canterbury to see her. They talk of old times and finds out why she has no mother.
CHAPTER 61 – I AM SHOWN TWO INTERESTING PENITENTS
Copperfield shows Traddles a letter Creakle wrote to him. It says that he is now a Middlesex Magistrate.
Traddles and Copperfield go to the prison where Creakle is working, to discover that he is very powerful. In the prison, they come across Heep and Littimer.
They find out that Heep’s last offence was fraud against the Bank of England and Littimer’s was robbery of Ł250 from Miss Mowcher.
CHAPTER 62 – A LIGHT SHINES MY WAY
Copperfield tells Agnes how much he loves her. She says that she has always loved him. They marry.
CHAPTER 63 – A VISITOR
Ten years and three children later, Mr Peggotty comes to see Copperfield. He tells of the happy times he is having in Australia and how well they are. He also says how Martha got married in two years of arriving.
Mrs Gummidge was proposed to, but declined.
Mr Peggotty reads a newspaper article of how Micawber (now a magistrate) gave a speech.
Mr Peggotty stays with Copperfield and Agnes for less than a month. Before he leaves, however, he returns to Yarmouth to visit Ham’s grave.
CHAPTER 64 – A LAST RETROSPECT
Betsey Trotwood is made Godmother to a baby Betsey Trotwood.
Mrs Steerforth and Dartle are still upset.
Julia Mills returns from India with a husband.
Traddles is a lawyer, and happily married.
GABRIEL (XIb Focsani)
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