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


CHAPTER 21
LITTLE EM'LY

There was a servant in that house, a man who, I understood, was
usually with Steerforth, and had come into his service at the
University, who was in appearance a pattern of respectability. I
believe there never existed in his station a more
respectable-looking man. He was taciturn, soft-footed, very quiet
in his manner, deferential, observant, always at hand when wanted,
and never near when not wanted; but his great claim to
consideration was his respectability. He had not a pliant face, he
had rather a stiff neck, rather a tight smooth head with short hair
clinging to it at the sides, a soft way of speaking, with a
peculiar habit of whispering the letter S so distinctly, that he
seemed to use it oftener than any other man; but every peculiarity
that he had he made respectable. If his nose had been upside-down,
he would have made that respectable. He surrounded himself with an
atmosphere of respectability, and walked secure in it. It would
have been next to impossible to suspect him of anything wrong, he
was so thoroughly respectable. Nobody could have thought of
putting him in a livery, he was so highly respectable. To have
imposed any derogatory work upon him, would have been to inflict a
wanton insult on the feelings of a most respectable man. And of
this, I noticed-the women-servants in the household were so
intuitively conscious, that they always did such work themselves,
and generally while he read the paper by the pantry fire.

Such a self-contained man I never saw. But in that quality, as in
every other he possessed, he only seemed to be the more
respectable. Even the fact that no one knew his Christian name,
seemed to form a part of his respectability. Nothing could be
objected against his surname, Littimer, by which he was known.
Peter might have been hanged, or Tom transported; but Littimer was
perfectly respectable.

It was occasioned, I suppose, by the reverend nature of
respectability in the abstract, but I felt particularly young in
this man's presence. How old he was himself, I could not guess -
and that again went to his credit on the same score; for in the
calmness of respectability he might have numbered fifty years as
well as thirty.
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