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


'Why, I don't know that Brooks understands much about it at
present,' replied Mr. Murdstone; 'but he is not generally
favourable, I believe.'

There was more laughter at this, and Mr. Quinion said he would ring
the bell for some sherry in which to drink to Brooks. This he did;
and when the wine came, he made me have a little, with a biscuit,
and, before I drank it, stand up and say, 'Confusion to Brooks of
Sheffield!' The toast was received with great applause, and such
hearty laughter that it made me laugh too; at which they laughed
the more. In short, we quite enjoyed ourselves.

We walked about on the cliff after that, and sat on the grass, and
looked at things through a telescope - I could make out nothing
myself when it was put to my eye, but I pretended I could - and
then we came back to the hotel to an early dinner. All the time we
were out, the two gentlemen smoked incessantly - which, I thought,
if I might judge from the smell of their rough coats, they must
have been doing, ever since the coats had first come home from the
tailor's. I must not forget that we went on board the yacht, where
they all three descended into the cabin, and were busy with some
papers. I saw them quite hard at work, when I looked down through
the open skylight. They left me, during this time, with a very
nice man with a very large head of red hair and a very small shiny
hat upon it, who had got a cross-barred shirt or waistcoat on, with
'Skylark' in capital letters across the chest. I thought it was
his name; and that as he lived on board ship and hadn't a street
door to put his name on, he put it there instead; but when I called
him Mr. Skylark, he said it meant the vessel.

I observed all day that Mr. Murdstone was graver and steadier than
the two gentlemen. They were very gay and careless. They joked
freely with one another, but seldom with him. It appeared to me
that he was more clever and cold than they were, and that they
regarded him with something of my own feeling. I remarked that,
once or twice when Mr. Quinion was talking, he looked at Mr.
Murdstone sideways, as if to make sure of his not being displeased;
and that once when Mr. Passnidge (the other gentleman) was in high
spirits, he trod upon his foot, and gave him a secret caution with
his eyes, to observe Mr. Murdstone, who was sitting stern and
silent. Nor do I recollect that Mr. Murdstone laughed at all that
day, except at the Sheffield joke - and that, by the by, was his
own.

We went home early in the evening. It was a very fine evening, and
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