From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
David Copperfield

David Copperfield

  

by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield Chapter 2 Summary

I Observe

  • The first things David can remember from early childhood are (1) his pretty mother, and (2) Peggotty, his mother's not-so-pretty housekeeper.
  • He also remembers his house, which had a pigeon-house with no pigeons and a dog kennel with no dogs.
  • David recalls a series of early sense impressions: of a graveyard covered with mossy grass and the church where he, Peggotty, and his mother go on Sundays.
  • He remembers sitting in the parlor with his mother.
  • One night, as David waits up to see his mother when she comes home from an outing, David asks Peggotty if she has ever been married.
  • Peggotty says no.
  • David continues: but, if you marry someone and that person dies, then you're allowed to marry someone else?
  • Peggotty agrees that you can, if you want to.
  • David thinks that Peggotty is angry with him, but she doesn't seem to be. In fact, she hugs David tightly. He has no idea why Peggotty seems so upset.
  • Finally, David's mother comes home.
  • With her is a man with dark hair and a mustache, who speaks in a deep voice that David doesn't trust.
  • The man insists that David shake his hand, but David really doesn't want to: there's something about this guy that he doesn't like.
  • The man leaves, and David, Mrs. Copperfield, and Peggotty all head in to the parlor.
  • Peggotty asks Mrs. Copperfield if she's had a nice evening; Mrs. Copperfield agrees that she has.
  • David dozes off, and when he wakes up, Peggotty and Mrs. Copperfield are having a bit of an argument.
  • Peggotty says that Mr. Copperfield wouldn't like "such a one as this" (2.49) – presumably the black-haired man.
  • Mrs. Copperfield asks how Peggotty dares to say such unpleasant things to Mrs. Copperfield, when Peggotty knows that Mrs. Copperfield is entirely alone in the world.
  • Mrs. Copperfield thinks Peggotty is suggesting that she doesn't love David enough, and turns to David to ask him if she's a bad mother.
  • Mrs. Copperfield, Peggotty, and David all burst out crying.
  • After this, David remembers seeing the dark-haired man more and more, and Peggotty less and less.
  • David continues to feel resentful and jealous of the dark-haired man. He's not sure why. He's too young to put all the pieces together about what the dark-haired man is doing hanging around his mother all the time.
  • We find out that this dark-haired man is named Mr. Murdstone.
  • One day, Mr. Murdstone comes galloping up and offers to take David for a ride.
  • He takes David down the coast to a hotel, where they meet with two other men, Quinion and Passnidge.
  • Murdstone and Quinion talk right over David's head about Murdstone's plans to marry David's mother.
  • David doesn't understand that Murdstone and Quinion are talking about him whenever they refer to "Brooks of Sheffield."
  • He spends the afternoon not realizing that he's the butt of their jokes about the pretty little widow.
  • David observes that Mr. Murdstone seems much more serious than his two friends, who both seem a bit afraid of Mr. Murdstone.
  • Mr. Murdstone basically never laughs.
  • Once David gets home, he tells his mother all about the nice things that Mr. Murdstone, Quinion, and Passnidge said about Mrs. Copperfield's appearance.
  • She's terribly pleased and flattered.
  • She doesn't want David to tell Peggotty, in case it will make her angry.
  • The next day, Peggotty asks David if he wants to come to visit Peggotty's brother at Yarmouth (a seaside town in England).
  • David's pretty excited at the idea of meeting Peggotty's family and seeing the ocean and fishermen and so on, but he's worried about what his mother will do in his absence.
  • Peggotty says it's fine; Mrs. Copperfield's staying with a neighbor, Mrs. Grayper, for two weeks.
  • As they head out to the cart that will carry them away, Mrs. Copperfield kisses David again and again – she and David have never been parted before.
  • David and Peggotty climb into the cart.
  • Over his shoulder, David turns to see Mr. Murdstone standing next to Mrs. Copperfield.
  • Mr. Murdstone seems to be scolding Mrs. Copperfield for being so emotional.
  • Peggotty observes this scene as well. She looks very unhappy.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement