David makes his way to an inn in London, where he catches the mail coach heading for Suffolk.
Eventually, he finds himself back on Mr. Barkis's coach.
David assures Mr. Barkis that he has passed on the message – "Barkis is willing" – to Peggotty.
Mr. Barkis replies that, anyway, nothing came of it. Peggotty never answered him. And he's not willing to go speak to Peggotty directly about the matter.
Mr. Barkis discovers that Peggotty's first name is not Peggotty, it's Clara (just like Mrs. Copperfield!)
Mr. Barkis suggests that David tell Peggotty that he, Mr. Barkis, is waiting for an answer.
David finds it very strange to be going home, where he remembers happy times with his mother and Peggotty that will never come again.
David comes in to his old house and hears the sound of his mother singing.
David enters the parlor to find his mother breast-feeding a baby: it is her new son.
In that moment, David is as perfectly happy and good as he has ever been.
Mrs. Copperfield embraces David, Peggotty comes running in, and everyone is overjoyed.
Mr. and Miss Murdstone have gone out, so they have the house to themselves.
They all dine together, and David tells Peggotty about Mr. Barkis's message.
Peggotty laughs and throws her apron over her face.
Peggotty tells Mrs. Copperfield that Barkis wants to marry her.
Mrs. Copperfield says it would be a good match, but Peggotty says she won't do it.
David notices that Mrs. Copperfield is looking thin, anxious, and tired.
Finally, Mrs. Copperfield reaches out to Peggotty and asks her not to leave Mrs. Copperfield. She says ominously: "Don't leave me, Peggotty. Stay with me. It will not be for long, perhaps" (8.57)
Peggotty promises that she will never leave Mrs. Copperfield, even though some might be pleased if she did.
David tells them about how awful Mr. Creakle is, and how good Steerforth is.
They are so happy and peaceful together that David can imagine the Murdstones had never come in to their lives.
Suddenly, Peggotty wonders whatever became of David's great-aunt (that would be Miss Betsey Trotwood, who we met in the first chapter and never heard from again).
Mrs. Copperfield tells Peggotty to put it out of her mind; it's not like they're likely to see Miss Betsey again (plot point!).
Peggotty thinks that Miss Betsey might leave David something in her will if she were to die. Miss Betsey might be willing to forgive David for being born a boy now that he's got a brother.
Mrs. Copperfield begins (kind of inexplicably) to cry. She tells Peggotty that she is being jealous and should go off and marry Mr. Barkis after all.
Peggotty answers that it would make Miss Murdstone happy if she did.
Mrs. Copperfield scolds Peggotty for her bad nature.
Mrs. Copperfield accuses Peggotty of insinuating that neither Miss nor Mr. Murdstone have good intentions.
Peggotty doesn't answer.
Finally, Mrs. Copperfield winds down and suggests that she and Peggotty shouldn't argue anyway, because Peggotty is Mrs. Copperfield's true friend.
Peggotty is quick to agree to this, and everyone seems happy again.
At around 10 o'clock, they hear coach wheels: the Murdstones are back.
David rushes off to bed before he can meet them.
The next morning, David creeps into the parlor. He sees Mr. Murdstone and apologizes for having bitten him all that long time ago.
Mr. Murdstone thanks David for his apology and shakes his hand – with the hand that David bit.
David greets Miss Murdstone, whose only reply is that she's glad that a day of David's holiday has already passed (so they'll be rid of him soon).
One day, David comes into a room where Miss Murdstone and Mrs. Copperfield are sitting with the baby.
David picks up his brother, and Miss Murdstone gives a scream.
Miss Murdstone has a huge fit because David has touched the baby. She insists that David can never be allowed to touch the baby again.
Mrs. Copperfield weakly agrees with Miss Murdstone's order.
On a later occasion, Mrs. Copperfield notices that the baby has the exact same eyes as David. She decides that their blue eyes must come from her side of the family.
Miss Murdstone takes huge offense at this, calls Mrs. Copperfield a fool, and insists that David and his brother are completely and totally different in all ways.
David continues to feel ashamed and excluded by everyone at the Rookery: those who like him are afraid to show it, and those who don't like him tell him so over and over again to his face.
Because they don't like him and he seems to make them unhappy, David decides to keep as quiet and out of the way as he can.
But he can't stay totally out of the way: the Murdstones make David sit with the family in the parlor in the evenings so that they can monitor Mrs. Copperfield's treatment of him.
One evening, the two Murdstones comment that David has a sulky, sullen manner.
For once, Mrs. Copperfield doesn't just go along with their bullying: she asks Miss Murdstone if she is sure that she understands David.
But Miss Murdstone immediately shames Mrs. Copperfield into agreeing, again, as usual.
And then the two Murdstones humiliate her further by calling into question her judgment: Mr. Murdstone calls Mrs. Copperfield "weak and inconsiderate" (8.139).
Mr. Murdstone turns on David again.
David says he hasn't meant to be sulky, and Mr. Murdstone calls him a liar with an attachment to "low and common company" (8.147) – in other words, servants like Peggotty. He forbids David from hiding away in his room or in the kitchen any longer.
So, David has to spend all of his time in the parlor trying to avoid being yelled at.
And so his holidays pass away.
Finally, David gets to go back to school. He's sorry to leave his mother and baby brother, but still he's glad to be getting away from the Rookery.
As David drives away with Mr. Barkis, he hears his mother calling.
He looks over his shoulder and sees her looking at him care with her eyes, holding his baby brother up for him to see.