Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 33

By Charles Dickens

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Chapter 33


  • Meanwhile, while all of this craziness has been going on with the Peggottys, David has been loving Dora from afar.
  • So, as soon as he comes back to London, he walks over to her house so that he can walk around it, thinking of her.
  • David tells Peggotty about his love for Dora.
  • Peggotty has no idea why David should feel that he has no chance with her – Dora should feel lucky to have David.
  • David takes Peggotty to his law offices and has the will approved: everything is all in order.
  • He also brings Peggotty to Mr. Spenlow to pay her bill.
  • They stand waiting for Mr. Spenlow to return to the office, which he does shortly – accompanied by Mr. Murdstone.
  • Mr. Spenlow says, "You know this gentleman, I believe?" (33.11).
  • David nods, and Peggotty barely acknowledges Mr. Murdstone.
  • Mr. Murdstone doesn't look too pleased to see them, but he asks how David is doing.
  • David answers passive aggressively: not that you really care, but yes, I'm doing fine.
  • Mr. Murdstone turns to Peggotty and gives her condolences for losing her husband.
  • Peggotty replies that at least she has the comfort of knowing that she never nagged anyone to death.
  • Mr. Murdstone looks over to David and tells him that he's sure he'll be happy to know they'll probably never meet again.
  • David's stepfather claims that he was right to treat David strictly, and that David's hatred of Mr. Murdstone is what made Mrs. Copperfield's final years so unhappy.
  • They've been conducting this conversation out of earshot of Mr. Spenlow, but suddenly Mr. Murdstone raises his voice.
  • Mr. Murdstone addresses Mr. Spenlow, saying that family issues are always difficult.
  • With that, Mr. Murdstone pays his bill and walks out of the office.
  • Both David and Peggotty have trouble restraining themselves from yelling at Mr. Murdstone.
  • David is relieved to find that Mr. Spenlow doesn't seem to know the precise connection between Mr. Murdstone and David.
  • Mr. Spenlow seems to think that Miss Betsey is the leader of David's family and that Mr. Murdstone is some kind of "rebel" (33.29) from her authority. He congratulates David for being on the side with the most money, i.e., Miss Betsey's side.
  • Mr. Spenlow comments that he has heard that this marriage will be a good one.
  • David has no idea what Mr. Spenlow is talking about.
  • David asks if the lady Mr. Murdstone is planning to marry is young.
  • Apparently, she's only just come of age.
  • Peggotty exclaims, "Lord deliver her!" (33.37).
  • Just then, the clerk, Mr. Tiffey, comes in with Peggotty's bill.
  • Peggotty pays Mr. Spenlow and takes her leave; David stays on to do a bit of work.
  • The divorce case they're working on gives David some moral problems, but he's too shy to argue too much with Dora's father (Mr. Spenlow) on the matter.
  • David has some specific suggestions about how the practice of law could be improved: he thinks that the facilities for storing documents all seem really insecure and vulnerable.
  • Mr. Spenlow shrugs off this objection.
  • David notes that, eighteen years ago, this exact problem came before Parliament, but no one has done anything about it.
  • It is in the middle of this discussion that Mr. Spenlow invites David to join him and Dora for a picnic on Dora's birthday.
  • David goes nuts preparing for the picnic, buying new clothes and making all kinds of preparations.
  • He arrives at last and finds Dora sitting with a friend of hers, Miss Mills. Dora is also accompanied by her dog, Jip.
  • David gives Dora a bouquet of flowers, which Jip starts eating.
  • Dora tells David to be glad because Miss Murdstone isn't there: she's gone to her brother's wedding.
  • Mr. Spenlow comes out of the house, and the four friends – Mr. Spenlow, David, Dora, and Miss Mills – all get into a carriage.
  • David is beside himself with joy throughout the whole trip.
  • Finally, they arrive at their destination.
  • David is disappointed to find other people waiting for them, including a man just a few years older than David with a big red mustache, who David calls Red Whisker.
  • David is absolutely jealous of Red Whisker, and is sure that they are rivals for Dora's affection.
  • He spends some time sitting around feeling tragic.
  • Finally, Miss Mills and Dora find David.
  • Miss Mills observes that these two seem kind of glum, and advises them to get over themselves.
  • David, overcome, kisses Dora's hand. He then kisses Miss Mill's hand.
  • David and Dora walk through the trees arm in arm, and David feels as though he has gone to heaven.
  • Soon, they have to rejoin the crowd, but David still feels too happy to believe it all.
  • Eventually, the party ends and everyone goes their separate ways, including Red Whisker – but David gets to go home with the Spenlows and Miss Mills.
  • As David is preparing to climb into the carriage, Miss Mills pulls him aside.
  • She tells David that Dora is coming to visit Miss Mills in two days, and that she is sure that her father would be happy to host David.
  • David is absolutely thrilled, and thanks Miss Mills from the bottom of his heart.
  • They return to London, and David rides home.
  • Eventually, David finds Miss Mill's house. Mr. Mills is out, but luckily, the people he actually wants to see – Miss Mills and, of course, Dora – are in.
  • Miss Mills chats with David for a bit and then leaves the room.
  • Dora and David have a bit of small talk about how tired his horse is.
  • Then, Dora reproaches David for seeming awfully chummy with Miss Kitt (a girl he mentions dressed in pink) at the picnic the other day.
  • Suddenly, David is inspired: he embraces Dora and tells her how much he loves her.
  • Jip barks throughout the whole proposal.
  • David and Dora wind up engaged.
  • Miss Mills comes back in and gives them her blessing.
  • David commissions a wedding ring in blue stones shaped like forget-me-nots.
  • Dora and David have little quarrels, but Miss Mills helps them to patch it up.
  • David looks back on this time with easy joy.

David Copperfield Chapter 33 Study Group

Ask questions, get answers, and discuss with others.

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

This is a premium product

Please Wait...