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'But advocates and proctors are not one and the same?' said I, a
little puzzled. 'Are they?'

'No,' returned Steerforth, 'the advocates are civilians - men who
have taken a doctor's degree at college - which is the first reason
of my knowing anything about it. The proctors employ the
advocates. Both get very comfortable fees, and altogether they
make a mighty snug little party. On the whole, I would recommend
you to take to Doctors' Commons kindly, David. They plume them-
selves on their gentility there, I can tell you, if that's any

I made allowance for Steerforth's light way of treating the
subject, and, considering it with reference to the staid air of
gravity and antiquity which I associated with that 'lazy old nook
near St. Paul's Churchyard', did not feel indisposed towards my
aunt's suggestion; which she left to my free decision, making no
scruple of telling me that it had occurred to her, on her lately
visiting her own proctor in Doctors' Commons for the purpose of
settling her will in my favour.

'That's a laudable proceeding on the part of our aunt, at all
events,' said Steerforth, when I mentioned it; 'and one deserving
of all encouragement. Daisy, my advice is that you take kindly to
Doctors' Commons.'

I quite made up my mind to do so. I then told Steerforth that my
aunt was in town awaiting me (as I found from her letter), and that
she had taken lodgings for a week at a kind of private hotel at
Lincoln's Inn Fields, where there was a stone staircase, and a
convenient door in the roof; my aunt being firmly persuaded that
every house in London was going to be burnt down every night.

We achieved the rest of our journey pleasantly, sometimes recurring
to Doctors' Commons, and anticipating the distant days when I
should be a proctor there, which Steerforth pictured in a variety
of humorous and whimsical lights, that made us both merry. When we
came to our journey's end, he went home, engaging to call upon me
next day but one; and I drove to Lincoln's Inn Fields, where I
found my aunt up, and waiting supper.

If I had been round the world since we parted, we could hardly have
been better pleased to meet again. My aunt cried outright as she
embraced me; and said, pretending to laugh, that if my poor mother
<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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