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


he was to drive me down in his phaeton, and to bring me back.

When the day arrived, my very carpet-bag was an object of
veneration to the stipendiary clerks, to whom the house at Norwood
was a sacred mystery. One of them informed me that he had heard
that Mr. Spenlow ate entirely off plate and china; and another
hinted at champagne being constantly on draught, after the usual
custom of table-beer. The old clerk with the wig, whose name was
Mr. Tiffey, had been down on business several times in the course
of his career, and had on each occasion penetrated to the
breakfast-parlour. He described it as an apartment of the most
sumptuous nature, and said that he had drunk brown East India
sherry there, of a quality so precious as to make a man wink. We
had an adjourned cause in the Consistory that day - about
excommunicating a baker who had been objecting in a vestry to a
paving-rate - and as the evidence was just twice the length of
Robinson Crusoe, according to a calculation I made, it was rather
late in the day before we finished. However, we got him
excommunicated for six weeks, and sentenced in no end of costs; and
then the baker's proctor, and the judge, and the advocates on both
sides (who were all nearly related), went out of town together, and
Mr. Spenlow and I drove away in the phaeton.

The phaeton was a very handsome affair; the horses arched their
necks and lifted up their legs as if they knew they belonged to
Doctors' Commons. There was a good deal of competition in the
Commons on all points of display, and it turned out some very
choice equipages then; though I always have considered, and always
shall consider, that in my time the great article of competition
there was starch: which I think was worn among the proctors to as
great an extent as it is in the nature of man to bear.

We were very pleasant, going down, and Mr. Spenlow gave me some
hints in reference to my profession. He said it was the genteelest
profession in the world, and must on no account be confounded with
the profession of a solicitor: being quite another sort of thing,
infinitely more exclusive, less mechanical, and more profitable.

We took things much more easily in the Commons than they could be
taken anywhere else, he observed, and that set us, as a privileged
class, apart. He said it was impossible to conceal the
disagreeable fact, that we were chiefly employed by solicitors; but
he gave me to understand that they were an inferior race of men,
universally looked down upon by all proctors of any pretensions.

I asked Mr. Spenlow what he considered the best sort of
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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