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by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 60 Summary
Agnes David and Miss Betsey spend much of the evening catching up. Miss Betsey asks when David will be going to visit Canterbury. David plans to go the next day. Miss Betsey warns him that Mr. Wickfield has grown suddenly old, though he is a much better man. David's aunt tells him that Agnes continues to be as serious and beautiful as ever. David asks if Agnes has any suitors for her hand. Apparently, she might have married twenty times in the past three years. David asks if Agnes has anyone serious in mind. Miss Betsey says only that she thinks Agnes is in love with someone. But she won't say who. David assumes that Agnes will be happy to confide in him as though he is a brother. He rides away the next morning to Canterbury. David remembers his old school days when he lived with the Wickfields. Agnes almost faints away, when David surprises her. David is so pleased to see her again, but Agnes calms him down. He asks Agnes about the school that she started for young ladies. Agnes enjoys the work so much that it barely seems like work at all. She invites David to stay the night and see Mr. Wickfield. David can't; he promised to see Miss Betsey that evening. But he's happy to spend the day with the Wickfields. David decides that the best thing he can do is to guard this sisterly feeling she has towards him, because he couldn't bear to lose her entirely by getting too serious with his feelings. Walking through Canterbury, David thinks of old times. David returns to Agnes's house to find Mr. Wickfield at home. Mr. Wickfield does not drink at all anymore. Agnes's father looks back on the old days with much regret, but he is proud of his daughter's hard work and faithfulness to those she loves. Mr. Wickfield tells David of Agnes's mother. Agnes's mother married Mr. Wickfield against her father's wishes, and he disowned her. This broke her heart, and she was never happy. Her death left Mr. Wickfield miserable and twisted. After a time, Agnes asks David if he plans to travel again. Agnes asks him not to, since his success is growing and he has more of a chance of doing good. David thanks Agnes: she is always directing him to do better, to be better. He tells Agnes that, until the day he dies, he will always see her as an inspiration to be a good man. David rides home feeling a bit better about life: maybe someday he'll be able to tell Agnes all of his feelings.
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