Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 15

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 15

I Make Another Beginning

  • David becomes good friends with Mr. Dick, and they frequently go kite-flying together.
  • He also grows increasingly close to his aunt, who starts to call him by the nickname Trot (short for Trotwood).
  • One day, she asks if David would like to go to school at Canterbury, which is near her home.
  • David agrees, and Miss Betsey orders Janet to pack up David's clothes and order a coach to come pick them up at ten the next morning.
  • David is really excited to be going back to school, though he feels bad because Mr. Dick is so heartbroken to be parted from David.
  • The next morning, as they drive away from Miss Betsey's cottage, she asks David if he is happy.
  • David answers that he is, and Miss Betsey is pleased.
  • They stop on an errand: Miss Betsey needs to meet with her lawyer, Mr. Wickfield.
  • When Miss Betsey rings the doorbell at Mr. Wickfield's, it is answered by a red-headed boy of about fifteen who looks much older than his age. His name is Uriah Heep.
  • Uriah Heep says that Mr. Wickfield is at home, and they walk through the door.
  • Mr. Wickfield greets Miss Betsey.
  • Miss Betsey tells Mr. Wickfield that she is here for advice: she introduces David and informs Mr. Wickfield that she wants to enroll David in a school in Canterbury where he will be well-treated.
  • Mr. Wickfield asks what Miss Betsey's motives are.
  • Miss Betsey is annoyed that Mr. Wickfield is fishing for deep motives when her reasons are so obvious: she wants to make David happy and useful.
  • Mr. Wickfield shakes his head and says she must have another motive, but they let it go for a time.
  • Mr. Wickfield offers to take Miss Betsey to a good school, and to several houses where David might board while he's studying there.
  • David waits in Mr. Wickfield's office until they get back.
  • David can see Uriah Heep working in the room next Mr. Wickfield's office.
  • Uriah Heep makes him deeply uncomfortable: every now and again, he looks up from his writing and stares at David with his red, watery eyes.
  • After a time, Miss Betsey and Mr. Wickfield come back: Miss Betsey loves the school, but none of the boarding-houses seem okay.
  • Mr. Wickfield proposes a solution: why doesn't David live at his house, which is quiet and roomy?
  • This would be a temporary arrangement so that they can buy some time to find a better place for David to live.
  • Miss Betsey feels embarrassed accepting, but Mr. Wickfield tells her not to worry about the favor – he's happy to do it. He would also accept some money if Miss Betsey feels obliged to pay him.
  • Miss Betsey agrees that she would be glad to leave David with Mr. Wickfield.
  • Mr. Wickfield brings the two of them upstairs to meet his "little housekeeper" (15.65) – his daughter, Agnes.
  • Agnes Wickfield is sweet, calm, and quiet-seeming – and just David's age.
  • She offers to bring David and Miss Betsey upstairs to see David's room, which is lovely and has a stained-glass window.
  • Miss Betsey and David are both pleased with this arrangement.
  • Miss Betsey plans to head back to her cottage, but first she tells David (or Trot, as she calls him) to make her and Mr. Dick proud.
  • If David avoids being meanness, lying, and cruelty, he'll be fine, Miss Betsey adds.
  • David promises to be good, and Miss Betsey departs abruptly.
  • David realizes that she leaves quickly because she is sad to be leaving him.
  • David eats dinner with Mr. Wickfield, and afterwards, Agnes comes downstairs to play the piano, chat, and talk to David and Mr. Wickfield.
  • Occasionally, Mr. Wickfield looks at Agnes very seriously, but he can usually be shaking out of his brooding.
  • Mr. Wickfield does love his port wine, though, and drinks it throughout the evening.
  • That night, David sees Uriah Heep locking up the office.
  • David's feeling so good about the world that he chats with the guy and shakes his hand.
  • Uriah Heep's hand is so horribly cold and clammy that David rubs his own hands after touching him to get rid of the chill.

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