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instance happened before dinner was done. Mrs. Steerforth speaking
to me about my intention of going down into Suffolk, I said at
hazard how glad I should be, if Steerforth would only go there with
me; and explaining to him that I was going to see my old nurse, and
Mr. Peggotty's family, I reminded him of the boatman whom he had
seen at school.

'Oh! That bluff fellow!' said Steerforth. 'He had a son with him,
hadn't he?'

'No. That was his nephew,' I replied; 'whom he adopted, though, as
a son. He has a very pretty little niece too, whom he adopted as
a daughter. In short, his house - or rather his boat, for he lives
in one, on dry land - is full of people who are objects of his
generosity and kindness. You would be delighted to see that

'Should I?' said Steerforth. 'Well, I think I should. I must see
what can be done. It would be worth a journey (not to mention the
pleasure of a journey with you, Daisy), to see that sort of people
together, and to make one of 'em.'

My heart leaped with a new hope of pleasure. But it was in
reference to the tone in which he had spoken of 'that sort of
people', that Miss Dartle, whose sparkling eyes had been watchful
of us, now broke in again.

'Oh, but, really? Do tell me. Are they, though?' she said.

'Are they what? And are who what?' said Steerforth.

'That sort of people. - Are they really animals and clods, and
beings of another order? I want to know SO much.'

'Why, there's a pretty wide separation between them and us,' said
Steerforth, with indifference. 'They are not to be expected to be
as sensitive as we are. Their delicacy is not to be shocked, or
hurt easily. They are wonderfully virtuous, I dare say - some
people contend for that, at least; and I am sure I don't want to
contradict them - but they have not very fine natures, and they may
be thankful that, like their coarse rough skins, they are not
easily wounded.'

'Really!' said Miss Dartle. 'Well, I don't know, now, when I have
been better pleased than to hear that. It's so consoling! It's
<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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