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


always shut up here.'

The Doctor nodded his benevolent head. 'When she comes to her
mother's age,' said Mrs. Markleham, with a flourish of her fan,
'then it'll be another thing. You might put ME into a Jail, with
genteel society and a rubber, and I should never care to come out.
But I am not Annie, you know; and Annie is not her mother.'

'Surely, surely,' said the Doctor.

'You are the best of creatures - no, I beg your pardon!' for the
Doctor made a gesture of deprecation, 'I must say before your face,
as I always say behind your back, you are the best of creatures;
but of course you don't - now do you? - enter into the same
pursuits and fancies as Annie?'

'No,' said the Doctor, in a sorrowful tone.

'No, of course not,' retorted the Old Soldier. 'Take your
Dictionary, for example. What a useful work a Dictionary is! What
a necessary work! The meanings of words! Without Doctor Johnson,
or somebody of that sort, we might have been at this present moment
calling an Italian-iron, a bedstead. But we can't expect a
Dictionary - especially when it's making - to interest Annie, can
we?'

The Doctor shook his head.

'And that's why I so much approve,' said Mrs. Markleham, tapping
him on the shoulder with her shut-up fan, 'of your thoughtfulness.
It shows that you don't expect, as many elderly people do expect,
old heads on young shoulders. You have studied Annie's character,
and you understand it. That's what I find so charming!'

Even the calm and patient face of Doctor Strong expressed some
little sense of pain, I thought, under the infliction of these
compliments.

'Therefore, my dear Doctor,' said the Old Soldier, giving him
several affectionate taps, 'you may command me, at all times and
seasons. Now, do understand that I am entirely at your service.
I am ready to go with Annie to operas, concerts, exhibitions, all
kinds of places; and you shall never find that I am tired. Duty,
my dear Doctor, before every consideration in the universe!'
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