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


Spenlow was quite well; to which Mr. Spenlow replied, with no more
emotion than if he had been speaking of an ordinary human being,
that he was much obliged to me, and she was very well.

We articled clerks, as germs of the patrician order of proctors,
were treated with so much consideration, that I was almost my own
master at all times. As I did not care, however, to get to
Highgate before one or two o'clock in the day, and as we had
another little excommunication case in court that morning, which
was called The office of the judge promoted by Tipkins against
Bullock for his soul's correction, I passed an hour or two in
attendance on it with Mr. Spenlow very agreeably. It arose out of
a scuffle between two churchwardens, one of whom was alleged to
have pushed the other against a pump; the handle of which pump
projecting into a school-house, which school-house was under a
gable of the church-roof, made the push an ecclesiastical offence.

It was an amusing case; and sent me up to Highgate, on the box of
the stage-coach, thinking about the Commons, and what Mr. Spenlow
had said about touching the Commons and bringing down the country.

Mrs. Steerforth was pleased to see me, and so was Rosa Dartle. I
was agreeably surprised to find that Littimer was not there, and
that we were attended by a modest little parlour-maid, with blue
ribbons in her cap, whose eye it was much more pleasant, and much
less disconcerting, to catch by accident, than the eye of that
respectable man. But what I particularly observed, before I had
been half-an-hour in the house, was the close and attentive watch
Miss Dartle kept upon me; and the lurking manner in which she
seemed to compare my face with Steerforth's, and Steerforth's with
mine, and to lie in wait for something to come out between the two.
So surely as I looked towards her, did I see that eager visage,
with its gaunt black eyes and searching brow, intent on mine; or
passing suddenly from mine to Steerforth's; or comprehending both
of us at once. In this lynx-like scrutiny she was so far from
faltering when she saw I observed it, that at such a time she only
fixed her piercing look upon me with a more intent expression
still. Blameless as I was, and knew that I was, in reference to
any wrong she could possibly suspect me of, I shrunk before her
strange eyes, quite unable to endure their hungry lustre.

All day, she seemed to pervade the whole house. If I talked to
Steerforth in his room, I heard her dress rustle in the little
gallery outside. When he and I engaged in some of our old
exercises on the lawn behind the house, I saw her face pass from
window to window, like a wandering light, until it fixed itself in
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens



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