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'Oh, very imprudent indeed, Master Copperfield,' returned Uriah,
sighing modestly. 'Oh, very much so! But I wish you'd call me
Uriah, if you please. It's like old times.'

'Well! Uriah,' said I, bolting it out with some difficulty.

'Thank you,' he returned, with fervour. 'Thank you, Master
Copperfield! It's like the blowing of old breezes or the ringing
of old bellses to hear YOU say Uriah. I beg your pardon. Was I
making any observation?'

'About Mr. Wickfield,' I suggested.

'Oh! Yes, truly,' said Uriah. 'Ah! Great imprudence, Master
Copperfield. It's a topic that I wouldn't touch upon, to any soul
but you. Even to you I can only touch upon it, and no more. If
anyone else had been in my place during the last few years, by this
time he would have had Mr. Wickfield (oh, what a worthy man he is,
Master Copperfield, too!) under his thumb. Un--der--his thumb,'
said Uriah, very slowly, as he stretched out his cruel-looking hand
above my table, and pressed his own thumb upon it, until it shook,
and shook the room.

If I had been obliged to look at him with him splay foot on Mr.
Wickfield's head, I think I could scarcely have hated him more.

'Oh, dear, yes, Master Copperfield,' he proceeded, in a soft voice,
most remarkably contrasting with the action of his thumb, which did
not diminish its hard pressure in the least degree, 'there's no
doubt of it. There would have been loss, disgrace, I don't know
what at all. Mr. Wickfield knows it. I am the umble instrument of
umbly serving him, and he puts me on an eminence I hardly could
have hoped to reach. How thankful should I be!' With his face
turned towards me, as he finished, but without looking at me, he
took his crooked thumb off the spot where he had planted it, and
slowly and thoughtfully scraped his lank jaw with it, as if he were
shaving himself.

I recollect well how indignantly my heart beat, as I saw his crafty
face, with the appropriately red light of the fire upon it,
preparing for something else.

'Master Copperfield,' he began - 'but am I keeping you up?'

'You are not keeping me up. I generally go to bed late.'
<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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