by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 37 Summary
A Little Cold Water
- David is so excited to be sacrificing for Dora's sake that he almost becomes a vegetarian (even he can't explain the logic of this idea).
- But meanwhile, Dora has no idea that David is busy working hard in her name.
- Miss Betsey, David, and Mr. Dick are all relatively comfortable in their new homes.
- David's aunt has won out with Mrs. Crupp, who basically never leaves her kitchen now.
- Miss Betsey is also so neat and clever that she has remade David's rooms to seem better than before.
- Peggotty also seems very pleased to help out with these arrangements.
- Eventually, though, she has to go home and look after Ham.
- Peggotty cries when she parts from David, and offers him money if he needs it.
- At the end of his work day, David plans to go to Miss Mills's house, where he believes that Dora is visiting.
- David finds Dora and immediately asks her if she could love a beggar?
- Dora tells him not to be so silly, or she'll have Jip bite him.
- David is charmed by Dora's childishness.
- But Dora is frightened by David's words, and he has to spend a lot of time soothing all of her fears.
- She can't bear to hear David talk of being poor and working hard.
- Dora forbids David from being practical because it scares her.
- David doesn't want it to scare her; he wants her to be inspired.
- Dora says she's not strong enough to be inspired.
- She begs David not to frighten her.
- David says he won't, but he does ask her to learn some things: housekeeping, simple accounting, and how to cook.
- Dora freaks out again and begs to see Miss Mills.
- Dora goes into hysterics, and David thinks he's been a brute to her.
- Miss Mills comes in, figures out what David has told Dora, and starts to calm Dora down.
- David asks if he was right to ask Dora to think about keeping household accounts and learning how to cook?
- Miss Mills answers frankly: no. Dora is not suited to that kind of life, though it would be useful if she could learn that kind of thing.
- David asks Miss Mills – if Dora ever shows any interest in such serious things – to encourage her to learn.
- Dora has calmed down and returns to teasing Jip and playing and singing like a child.
- She is disturbed to hear that David has to get up at 5:00 AM to work.
- Dora tells him to stop working: why should he? Dora clearly has no idea that we need to work to live.
- Even though David still really loves Dora, he's starting to think pretty hard about how much he frightened Dora by asking her to be serious.
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