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would burst out; that the assembled crowd would stand appalled;
that I, dashing through them with a ladder, might rear it against
her window, save her in my arms, go back for something she had left
behind, and perish in the flames. For I am generally disinterested
in my love, and think I could be content to make a figure before
Miss Larkins, and expire.

Generally, but not always. Sometimes brighter visions rise before
me. When I dress (the occupation of two hours), for a great ball
given at the Larkins's (the anticipation of three weeks), I indulge
my fancy with pleasing images. I picture myself taking courage to
make a declaration to Miss Larkins. I picture Miss Larkins sinking
her head upon my shoulder, and saying, 'Oh, Mr. Copperfield, can I
believe my ears!' I picture Mr. Larkins waiting on me next morning,
and saying, 'My dear Copperfield, my daughter has told me all.
Youth is no objection. Here are twenty thousand pounds. Be
happy!' I picture my aunt relenting, and blessing us; and Mr. Dick
and Doctor Strong being present at the marriage ceremony. I am a
sensible fellow, I believe - I believe, on looking back, I mean -
and modest I am sure; but all this goes on notwithstanding.

I repair to the enchanted house, where there are lights,
chattering, music, flowers, officers (I am sorry to see), and the
eldest Miss Larkins, a blaze of beauty. She is dressed in blue,
with blue flowers in her hair - forget-me-nots - as if SHE had any
need to wear forget-me-nots. It is the first really grown-up party
that I have ever been invited to, and I am a little uncomfortable;
for I appear not to belong to anybody, and nobody appears to have
anything to say to me, except Mr. Larkins, who asks me how my
schoolfellows are, which he needn't do, as I have not come there to
be insulted.

But after I have stood in the doorway for some time, and feasted my
eyes upon the goddess of my heart, she approaches me - she, the
eldest Miss Larkins! - and asks me pleasantly, if I dance?

I stammer, with a bow, 'With you, Miss Larkins.'

'With no one else?' inquires Miss Larkins.

'I should have no pleasure in dancing with anyone else.'

Miss Larkins laughs and blushes (or I think she blushes), and says,
'Next time but one, I shall be very glad.'

The time arrives. 'It is a waltz, I think,' Miss Larkins
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