Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
recollected them very well.
'Then I tell you what, young Copperfield,' said Steerforth, 'you
shall tell 'em to me. I can't get to sleep very early at night,
and I generally wake rather early in the morning. We'll go over
'em one after another. We'll make some regular Arabian Nights of
I felt extremely flattered by this arrangement, and we commenced
carrying it into execution that very evening. What ravages I
committed on my favourite authors in the course of my
interpretation of them, I am not in a condition to say, and should
be very unwilling to know; but I had a profound faith in them, and
I had, to the best of my belief, a simple, earnest manner of
narrating what I did narrate; and these qualities went a long way.
The drawback was, that I was often sleepy at night, or out of
spirits and indisposed to resume the story; and then it was rather
hard work, and it must be done; for to disappoint or to displease
Steerforth was of course out of the question. In the morning, too,
when I felt weary, and should have enjoyed another hour's repose
very much, it was a tiresome thing to be roused, like the Sultana
Scheherazade, and forced into a long story before the getting-up
bell rang; but Steerforth was resolute; and as he explained to me,
in return, my sums and exercises, and anything in my tasks that was
too hard for me, I was no loser by the transaction. Let me do
myself justice, however. I was moved by no interested or selfish
motive, nor was I moved by fear of him. I admired and loved him,
and his approval was return enough. It was so precious to me that
I look back on these trifles, now, with an aching heart.
Steerforth was considerate, too; and showed his consideration, in
one particular instance, in an unflinching manner that was a little
tantalizing, I suspect, to poor Traddles and the rest. Peggotty's
promised letter - what a comfortable letter it was! - arrived
before 'the half' was many weeks old; and with it a cake in a
perfect nest of oranges, and two bottles of cowslip wine. This
treasure, as in duty bound, I laid at the feet of Steerforth, and
begged him to dispense.
'Now, I'll tell you what, young Copperfield,' said he: 'the wine
shall be kept to wet your whistle when you are story-telling.'
I blushed at the idea, and begged him, in my modesty, not to think
of it. But he said he had observed I was sometimes hoarse - a