by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 24 Summary
My First Dissipation
- Now that David's off living like a real adult on his own, he's feeling very grand.
- At the same time, it's kind of lonely – he doesn't have a particularly tight relationship with Mrs. Crupp, and he misses Agnes.
- David goes over to Highgate, to Mrs. Steerforth's house, to see if Steerforth is around. But he's not – he's hanging out with his Oxford friends.
- Mrs. Steerforth asks David to dinner, and he is so pleased to have company again that he starts to fall for Miss Dartle a little bit.
- The next day, Steerforth surprises David with a visit at Mrs. Crupp's.
- David is overjoyed, and invites Steerforth to dinner.
- Steerforth can't: he's got plans with these two Oxford friends of his.
- David suggests that Steerforth bring the two Oxfordians along.
- Steerforth agrees, and David makes arrangements with Mrs. Crupp for dinner for four.
- Once Steerforth and his two friends, Grainger and Markham, arrive, David's excited to have them but also a bit nervous – he feels very young and unprepared for a dinner party.
- Luckily, Steerforth steps up and plays host (at David's table).
- David gets very, very drunk very, very quickly.
- There's a lot of singing and laughter and smoking and confusion.
- Eventually, someone suggests that they should all go to the theater.
- Steerforth asks if David is all right, to which David replies, "Neverberrer" (24.36). David is very drunk indeed.
- At the theater, David is stumbling all around the audience and making noise. The other playgoers shush him, but he keeps making a scene.
- Suddenly, David spots Agnes sitting in a private box. She looks embarrassed and ashamed of David, and tells him to be quiet and watch the play.
- Agnes tells David that she is absolutely serious: David has to go away and tell his friends to take him home.
- Even though David is annoyed that Agnes is being mean to him, he respects her enough that he does, in fact, go away.
- Steerforth follows David and helps him into his house and into bed.
- The next morning, David wakes up completely embarrassed about what he did the night before.
- David is haunted by the awful sense that he has done many shameful things without being able to remember them.
- Also, he feels incredibly sick.
- When he sees Mrs. Crupp, he wants to confess to her that he feels very miserable, but Mrs. Crupp doesn't seem like the cozy sort of woman one confides in.
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