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'No, no,' interposed the Doctor. 'Pardon me!'

'If you will take such time as I have, and that is my mornings and
evenings, and can think it worth seventy pounds a year, you will do
me such a service as I cannot express.'

'Dear me!' said the Doctor, innocently. 'To think that so little
should go for so much! Dear, dear! And when you can do better,
you will? On your word, now?' said the Doctor, - which he had
always made a very grave appeal to the honour of us boys.

'On my word, sir!' I returned, answering in our old school manner.

'Then be it so,' said the Doctor, clapping me on the shoulder, and
still keeping his hand there, as we still walked up and down.

'And I shall be twenty times happier, sir,' said I, with a little
- I hope innocent - flattery, 'if my employment is to be on the

The Doctor stopped, smilingly clapped me on the shoulder again, and
exclaimed, with a triumph most delightful to behold, as if I had
penetrated to the profoundest depths of mortal sagacity, 'My dear
young friend, you have hit it. It IS the Dictionary!'

How could it be anything else! His pockets were as full of it as
his head. It was sticking out of him in all directions. He told
me that since his retirement from scholastic life, he had been
advancing with it wonderfully; and that nothing could suit him
better than the proposed arrangements for morning and evening work,
as it was his custom to walk about in the daytime with his
considering cap on. His papers were in a little confusion, in
consequence of Mr. Jack Maldon having lately proffered his
occasional services as an amanuensis, and not being accustomed to
that occupation; but we should soon put right what was amiss, and
go on swimmingly. Afterwards, when we were fairly at our work, I
found Mr. Jack Maldon's efforts more troublesome to me than I had
expected, as he had not confined himself to making numerous
mistakes, but had sketched so many soldiers, and ladies' heads,
over the Doctor's manuscript, that I often became involved in
labyrinths of obscurity.

The Doctor was quite happy in the prospect of our going to work
together on that wonderful performance, and we settled to begin
next morning at seven o'clock. We were to work two hours every
<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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