by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 9 Summary
I Have a Memorable Birthday
- Two months pass between the end of winter holidays and David's birthday in March.
- He remembers this birthday particularly because of what happened on it.
- Mr. Sharp, the teacher at Salem House, comes in to the classroom and tells David to go to the parlor.
- David thinks he's going to get another care package from Peggotty.
- He finds Mr. Creakle eating breakfast with Mrs. Creakle.
- Mrs. Creakle holds an open letter in front of her.
- She tells David that the world changes all around us all the time, and that people pass from it throughout our lives.
- And then Mrs. Creakle informs David that his mother has died, and that his little brother is ill and will probably pass away soon.
- Mrs. Creakle keeps David in the parlor all day while he weeps and dozes off in turn.
- David realizes that he is an orphan now.
- He is really sad that his mother has died, but at the same time, he is aware of a new dignity he feels in relation to his classmates.
- David heads home for the funeral.
- The man who escorts him through London this time is not Mr. Barkis: it is another man, Mr. Omer, who brings David to a workshop with three seamstresses who are stitching up a black set of clothes for David.
- It turns out (rather morbidly) that Mr. Omer also stitched the clothes David's father was buried in.
- Mr. Omer breaks the news that the baby has died.
- David starts to cry once more, and Minnie Omer comforts him.
- A man carrying some nails appears – he seems to be Minnie's sweetheart.
- He has built a coffin for David's mother and brother.
- Having made these funeral preparations, the Omers and Joram, the carpenter, all get into a coach with David.
- David feels odd: he is miserable, but he is surrounded by people enjoying their ride.
- When David arrives, he is immediately greeted by Peggotty, who bursts into tears and hugs him when she sees him.
- Mr. Murdstone is sitting in the parlor weeping silently next to the fire.
- Miss Murdstone asks David in a whisper if he has been measured for his mourning clothes. That's all she offers him in terms of comfort.
- Mr. Murdstone moves restlessly through the house, rarely speaking to Miss Murdstone and never to David.
- David also sees very little of Peggotty until the funeral.
- At the funeral, Mr. Chillip (the doctor who delivered David in the first chapter) greets David kindly.
- Mr. Chillip tries to draw Miss Murdstone into a conversation about how much David has grown, but she refuses to acknowledge David.
- David recalls the pallbearers carrying his mother's coffin from the garden down the path to the cemetery.
- Peggotty comes in to David's room when all is finished.
- She explains that Mrs. Copperfield had been ill and unhappy for a long time, that she improved a bit when her baby was born, but she never really recovered her health.
- Mrs. Copperfield felt that she was going to die. She told Peggotty first and then Mr. Murdstone about a week before it happened.
- On her deathbed, Mrs. Copperfield tells Peggotty to bury her baby with her if he should die, too.
- She also praises Mr. Copperfield's loving heart.
- Finally, at dawn, Mrs. Copperfield asks Peggotty to hold her. She dies softly, like a child going to sleep.
- (We are in tears now, in case you may have wondered.)
- After his mother's death, David only remembers her as she used to be when he was a young child.
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