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by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 15 Summary
I Make Another Beginning David becomes good friends with Mr. Dick, and they frequently go kite-flying together. He also grows increasingly close to his aunt, who starts to call him by the nickname Trot (short for Trotwood). One day, she asks if David would like to go to school at Canterbury, which is near her home. David agrees, and Miss Betsey orders Janet to pack up David's clothes and order a coach to come pick them up at ten the next morning. David is really excited to be going back to school, though he feels bad because Mr. Dick is so heartbroken to be parted from David. The next morning, as they drive away from Miss Betsey's cottage, she asks David if he is happy. David answers that he is, and Miss Betsey is pleased. They stop on an errand: Miss Betsey needs to meet with her lawyer, Mr. Wickfield. When Miss Betsey rings the doorbell at Mr. Wickfield's, it is answered by a red-headed boy of about fifteen who looks much older than his age. His name is Uriah Heep. Uriah Heep says that Mr. Wickfield is at home, and they walk through the door. Mr. Wickfield greets Miss Betsey. Miss Betsey tells Mr. Wickfield that she is here for advice: she introduces David and informs Mr. Wickfield that she wants to enroll David in a school in Canterbury where he will be well-treated. Mr. Wickfield asks what Miss Betsey's motives are. Miss Betsey is annoyed that Mr. Wickfield is fishing for deep motives when her reasons are so obvious: she wants to make David happy and useful. Mr. Wickfield shakes his head and says she must have another motive, but they let it go for a time. Mr. Wickfield offers to take Miss Betsey to a good school, and to several houses where David might board while he's studying there. David waits in Mr. Wickfield's office until they get back. David can see Uriah Heep working in the room next Mr. Wickfield's office. Uriah Heep makes him deeply uncomfortable: every now and again, he looks up from his writing and stares at David with his red, watery eyes. After a time, Miss Betsey and Mr. Wickfield come back: Miss Betsey loves the school, but none of the boarding-houses seem okay. Mr. Wickfield proposes a solution: why doesn't David live at his house, which is quiet and roomy? This would be a temporary arrangement so that they can buy some time to find a better place for David to live. Miss Betsey feels embarrassed accepting, but Mr. Wickfield tells her not to worry about the favor – he's happy to do it. He would also accept some money if Miss Betsey feels obliged to pay him. Miss Betsey agrees that she would be glad to leave David with Mr. Wickfield. Mr. Wickfield brings the two of them upstairs to meet his "little housekeeper" (15.65) – his daughter, Agnes. Agnes Wickfield is sweet, calm, and quiet-seeming – and just David's age. She offers to bring David and Miss Betsey upstairs to see David's room, which is lovely and has a stained-glass window. Miss Betsey and David are both pleased with this arrangement. Miss Betsey plans to head back to her cottage, but first she tells David (or Trot, as she calls him) to make her and Mr. Dick proud. If David avoids being meanness, lying, and cruelty, he'll be fine, Miss Betsey adds. David promises to be good, and Miss Betsey departs abruptly. David realizes that she leaves quickly because she is sad to be leaving him. David eats dinner with Mr. Wickfield, and afterwards, Agnes comes downstairs to play the piano, chat, and talk to David and Mr. Wickfield. Occasionally, Mr. Wickfield looks at Agnes very seriously, but he can usually be shaking out of his brooding. Mr. Wickfield does love his port wine, though, and drinks it throughout the evening. That night, David sees Uriah Heep locking up the office. David's feeling so good about the world that he chats with the guy and shakes his hand. Uriah Heep's hand is so horribly cold and clammy that David rubs his own hands after touching him to get rid of the chill.
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