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over his Latin Dictionary. But he had his reward. Steerforth said
there was nothing of the sneak in Traddles, and we all felt that to
be the highest praise. For my part, I could have gone through a
good deal (though I was much less brave than Traddles, and nothing
like so old) to have won such a recompense.
To see Steerforth walk to church before us, arm-in-arm with Miss
Creakle, was one of the great sights of my life. I didn't think
Miss Creakle equal to little Em'ly in point of beauty, and I didn't
love her (I didn't dare); but I thought her a young lady of
extraordinary attractions, and in point of gentility not to be
surpassed. When Steerforth, in white trousers, carried her parasol
for her, I felt proud to know him; and believed that she could not
choose but adore him with all her heart. Mr. Sharp and Mr. Mell
were both notable personages in my eyes; but Steerforth was to them
what the sun was to two stars.
Steerforth continued his protection of me, and proved a very useful
friend; since nobody dared to annoy one whom he honoured with his
countenance. He couldn't - or at all events he didn't - defend me
from Mr. Creakle, who was very severe with me; but whenever I had
been treated worse than usual, he always told me that I wanted a
little of his pluck, and that he wouldn't have stood it himself;
which I felt he intended for encouragement, and considered to be
very kind of him. There was one advantage, and only one that I
know of, in Mr. Creakle's severity. He found my placard in his way
when he came up or down behind the form on which I sat, and wanted
to make a cut at me in passing; for this reason it was soon taken
off, and I saw it no more.
An accidental circumstance cemented the intimacy between Steerforth
and me, in a manner that inspired me with great pride and
satisfaction, though it sometimes led to inconvenience. It
happened on one occasion, when he was doing me the honour of
talking to me in the playground, that I hazarded the observation
that something or somebody - I forget what now - was like something
or somebody in Peregrine Pickle. He said nothing at the time; but
when I was going to bed at night, asked me if I had got that book?
I told him no, and explained how it was that I had read it, and all
those other books of which I have made mention.
'And do you recollect them?' Steerforth said.
'Oh yes,' I replied; I had a good memory, and I believed I