Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 34

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 34

My Aunt Astonishes Me

  • David writes to Agnes telling her all about his love for Dora.
  • He also tells her about little Emily's flight from Yarmouth, though he doesn't explicitly mention Steerforth's name.
  • While David had been away with the Spenlows, Tommy Traddles had dropped by a couple times.
  • Each time, he found Peggotty at David's house.
  • Tommy Traddles and Peggotty have become friends.
  • While Peggotty is staying with David, Mrs. Crupp refuses to do any of the housework because she can't stand Peggotty.
  • Traddles comes by once more and greets David warmly.
  • David's old friend has heard of David's engagement, and reminds David of Traddles's own fiancée, the curate's daughter who is one of ten children.
  • David sympathizes with Traddles because he gets to see his fiancée so rarely.
  • Traddles's fiancée – Sophy – spends all of her time looking after the other nine children because her mother has become bedridden.
  • David is impressed by the great care that Sophy takes of her family.
  • He asks how Mr. Micawber is doing, but Traddles is no longer living with the man.
  • Mr. Micawber has changed his name to Mortimer (which is kind of dodgy).
  • Traddles has also found a number of his household possessions, including the furniture he bought for his new house with Sophy, at the pawn shop.
  • Traddles wants to ask Peggotty to go in and negotiate the price for these items, since he's worried that the pawnshop owner is cheating him.
  • David is sure that Peggotty will be happy to help, as long as Traddles promises never to sign a loan with Mr. Micawber again.
  • Traddles confesses that he has already done so, but he's sure that Mr. Micawber will come through this time.
  • David doesn't want to lower Traddles's spirits, so he doesn't criticize.
  • Together, David, Traddles, and Peggotty go to the pawnshop.
  • David and Traddles wait around the corner while Peggotty buys back Traddles's things.
  • Traddles is overjoyed.
  • As they get back to David's apartment, they are absolutely surprised to find his front door open: Miss Betsey and Mr. Dick are waiting inside.
  • David hugs Miss Betsey and shakes Mr. Dick's hand.
  • David's aunt greets Peggotty, who is looking very shy.
  • Miss Betsey refuses to call Peggotty by "Peggotty," since it sounds ugly: she prefers Barkis.
  • David's aunt asks David for a cup of tea, and sends Mrs. Crupp out of the room.
  • Mrs. Crupp is trying to suck up to Miss Betsey because she knows Miss Betsey has money.
  • David notices that Miss Betsey is looking rather uncertainly at him, and he's worried that she's somehow heard of his engagement and doesn't approve.
  • Miss Betsey asks if David has learned to be self-reliant and firm.
  • David replies that he thinks he has.
  • Miss Betsey answers that the luggage that she has brought with her is all that she has left in the world: Miss Betsey is ruined.
  • David is absolutely shocked.
  • Miss Betsey informs him that she still has her cottage, which she has asked Janet to rent out for her.
  • David's aunt wants to stay at David's just for tonight, and then they'll think of something in morning.
  • Miss Betsey suddenly hugs David and cries that she only worries for his sake.
  • Soon, she collects herself and calms down: Miss Betsey resolves not to be frightened.

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