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


her companion. All is over. The devotion of a life - it seems a
life, it is all the same - is at an end; Miss Shepherd comes out of
the morning service, and the Royal Family know her no more.

I am higher in the school, and no one breaks my peace. I am not at
all polite, now, to the Misses Nettingalls' young ladies, and
shouldn't dote on any of them, if they were twice as many and
twenty times as beautiful. I think the dancing-school a tiresome
affair, and wonder why the girls can't dance by themselves and
leave us alone. I am growing great in Latin verses, and neglect
the laces of my boots. Doctor Strong refers to me in public as a
promising young scholar. Mr. Dick is wild with joy, and my aunt
remits me a guinea by the next post.

The shade of a young butcher rises, like the apparition of an armed
head in Macbeth. Who is this young butcher? He is the terror of
the youth of Canterbury. There is a vague belief abroad, that the
beef suet with which he anoints his hair gives him unnatural
strength, and that he is a match for a man. He is a broad-faced,
bull-necked, young butcher, with rough red cheeks, an
ill-conditioned mind, and an injurious tongue. His main use of
this tongue, is, to disparage Doctor Strong's young gentlemen. He
says, publicly, that if they want anything he'll give it 'em. He
names individuals among them (myself included), whom he could
undertake to settle with one hand, and the other tied behind him.
He waylays the smaller boys to punch their unprotected heads, and
calls challenges after me in the open streets. For these
sufficient reasons I resolve to fight the butcher.

It is a summer evening, down in a green hollow, at the corner of a
wall. I meet the butcher by appointment. I am attended by a
select body of our boys; the butcher, by two other butchers, a
young publican, and a sweep. The preliminaries are adjusted, and
the butcher and myself stand face to face. In a moment the butcher
lights ten thousand candles out of my left eyebrow. In another
moment, I don't know where the wall is, or where I am, or where
anybody is. I hardly know which is myself and which the butcher,
we are always in such a tangle and tussle, knocking about upon the
trodden grass. Sometimes I see the butcher, bloody but confident;
sometimes I see nothing, and sit gasping on my second's knee;
sometimes I go in at the butcher madly, and cut my knuckles open
against his face, without appearing to discompose him at all. At
last I awake, very queer about the head, as from a giddy sleep, and
see the butcher walking off, congratulated by the two other
butchers and the sweep and publican, and putting on his coat as he
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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