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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


on there, to say what I wanted, and to get a candle.

The Doctor was sitting in his easy-chair by the fireside, and his
young wife was on a stool at his feet. The Doctor, with a
complacent smile, was reading aloud some manuscript explanation or
statement of a theory out of that interminable Dictionary, and she
was looking up at him. But with such a face as I never saw. It
was so beautiful in its form, it was so ashy pale, it was so fixed
in its abstraction, it was so full of a wild, sleep-walking, dreamy
horror of I don't know what. The eyes were wide open, and her
brown hair fell in two rich clusters on her shoulders, and on her
white dress, disordered by the want of the lost ribbon. Distinctly
as I recollect her look, I cannot say of what it was expressive, I
cannot even say of what it is expressive to me now, rising again
before my older judgement. Penitence, humiliation, shame, pride,
love, and trustfulness - I see them all; and in them all, I see
that horror of I don't know what.

My entrance, and my saying what I wanted, roused her. It disturbed
the Doctor too, for when I went back to replace the candle I had
taken from the table, he was patting her head, in his fatherly way,
and saying he was a merciless drone to let her tempt him into
reading on; and he would have her go to bed.

But she asked him, in a rapid, urgent manner, to let her stay - to
let her feel assured (I heard her murmur some broken words to this
effect) that she was in his confidence that night. And, as she
turned again towards him, after glancing at me as I left the room
and went out at the door, I saw her cross her hands upon his knee,
and look up at him with the same face, something quieted, as he
resumed his reading.

It made a great impression on me, and I remembered it a long time
afterwards; as I shall have occasion to narrate when the time
comes.

CHAPTER 17
SOMEBODY TURNS UP

It has not occurred to me to mention Peggotty since I ran away;
but, of course, I wrote her a letter almost as soon as I was housed
at Dover, and another, and a longer letter, containing all
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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