by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 50 Summary
Mr. Peggotty's Dream Comes True
- David doesn't hear anything from Martha Endell for several months, but she's in touch with Mr. Peggotty.
- David thinks more and more that Emily must be dead.
- Mr. Peggotty's faith that she's alive never changes.
- Dora grows to like Mr. Peggotty and sees him quite often.
- One night, Mr. Peggotty tells David that Martha has been to see him, and to ask that Mr. Peggotty absolutely not leave England.
- Martha won't say why though.
- David doesn't want to get Mr. Peggotty's hopes up, so he says nothing about this.
- About two weeks later, and two days after David saw Mr. Micawber, he is walking in his garden.
- A woman beckons him over: it is Martha Endell.
- She asks David to come with her immediately.
- David and Martha drive into downtown London.
- Martha guides David down one of the dark and grungy streets to a poor lodging-house.
- David walks up to the top story of the house.
- In the shadows on the staircase, he can see a woman walking ahead of them.
- Martha exclaims that she doesn't know the woman who has gone into this room.
- David knows her, though: it's Miss Dartle.
- Martha leads David softly up the stairs, but she indicates that he must not say anything.
- Miss Dartle is inside telling someone that she has come to see her.
- A voice speaks, and David recognizes it as Emily's.
- Miss Dartle asks how Emily can show her face to Miss Dartle, after she has done so much.
- Miss Dartle won't let Emily leave; if she tries, Miss Dartle will tell the whole world Emily's history.
- Emily sounds frightened.
- Miss Dartle asks how Steerforth can have fallen for such fake modesty.
- Emily begs Miss Dartle to be merciful, because of her suffering.
- Miss Dartle tells Emily that she can't be moved by Emily's tears. She reproaches Emily with the home Emily has ruined.
- Emily weeps to think of the pain her uncle and her family has gone through on her behalf.
- Miss Dartle looks down on Emily and mocks her for thinking that Miss Dartle meant Emily's family; she meant her own.
- Emily protests: when Steerforth first came to her, she truly loved him! She believed that she would be his wife!
- Miss Dartle threatens that, if she had her way, Emily would be whipped to death.
- Then she mocks Emily for daring to claim that she knows how to love.
- Miss Dartle warns Emily to hide herself among her family or to die, because Miss Dartle will hunt her down wherever Emily goes and tell everyone what kind of a creature she is.
- David is in agony waiting for Mr. Peggotty, because he cannot bear to hear this torture.
- Miss Dartle tells Emily that she should spend the rest of her days thinking of Steerforth's treatment of her, or of her own lost virtue – and then she should die.
- Miss Dartle hears a footstep on the stairs and walks out the door, but not without warning Emily again of her plans.
- Finally (thank God!) Mr. Peggotty comes in and embraces a fainting Emily.
- Mr. Peggotty thanks God that he has finally found his darling niece.
- He carries Emily down the stairs.
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