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


mother called her Rosa. I found that she lived there, and had been
for a long time Mrs. Steerforth's companion. It appeared to me
that she never said anything she wanted to say, outright; but
hinted it, and made a great deal more of it by this practice. For
example, when Mrs. Steerforth observed, more in jest than earnest,
that she feared her son led but a wild life at college, Miss Dartle
put in thus:

'Oh, really? You know how ignorant I am, and that I only ask for
information, but isn't it always so? I thought that kind of life
was on all hands understood to be - eh?'

'It is education for a very grave profession, if you mean that,
Rosa,' Mrs. Steerforth answered with some coldness.

'Oh! Yes! That's very true,' returned Miss Dartle. 'But isn't
it, though? - I want to be put right, if I am wrong - isn't it,
really?'

'Really what?' said Mrs. Steerforth.

'Oh! You mean it's not!' returned Miss Dartle. 'Well, I'm very
glad to hear it! Now, I know what to do! That's the advantage of
asking. I shall never allow people to talk before me about
wastefulness and profligacy, and so forth, in connexion with that
life, any more.'

'And you will be right,' said Mrs. Steerforth. 'My son's tutor is
a conscientious gentleman; and if I had not implicit reliance on my
son, I should have reliance on him.'

'Should you?' said Miss Dartle. 'Dear me! Conscientious, is he?
Really conscientious, now?'

'Yes, I am convinced of it,' said Mrs. Steerforth.

'How very nice!' exclaimed Miss Dartle. 'What a comfort! Really
conscientious? Then he's not - but of course he can't be, if he's
really conscientious. Well, I shall be quite happy in my opinion
of him, from this time. You can't think how it elevates him in my
opinion, to know for certain that he's really conscientious!'

Her own views of every question, and her correction of everything
that was said to which she was opposed, Miss Dartle insinuated in
the same way: sometimes, I could not conceal from myself, with
great power, though in contradiction even of Steerforth. An
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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