Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 35

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 35


  • David suggests that Mr. Dick could stay in the same place where Mr. Peggotty slept during his stay in London.
  • Mr. Dick tells David that he has no idea how Miss Betsey came to lose all her money.
  • David is so frustrated that he takes it out on Mr. Dick, and explains that no money means starvation for Miss Betsey and Mr. Dick.
  • This really freaks Mr. Dick out.
  • David tells Mr. Dick that the best thing they can do is to stay cheerful and not add to Miss Betsey's troubles.
  • Mr. Dick tries, but he keeps staring at Miss Betsey as though he is going to see her waste away to nothing right before his eyes.
  • Miss Betsey behaves with a calmness that really impresses David.
  • David's aunt asks for ale instead of her usual glass of wine before bed, so that they can save the wine for later.
  • Peggotty walks Mr. Dick back to the shop where he is staying.
  • David brings back some ale for Miss Betsey.
  • Miss Betsey tells David that she has really come to like Peggotty.
  • David's aunt starts to tear up, and informs David that Peggotty has offered her money, as though Peggotty has so much of it in the first place.
  • While David was out getting ale, Miss Betsey and Peggotty were gossiping.
  • Peggotty has told Miss Betsey all about little Emily, and Miss Betsey comments on her foolishness.
  • David tells Miss Betsey that he has fallen in love with Dora.
  • Miss Betsey asks all about her: is she silly? Is she light-headed?
  • David has never thought of these questions before.
  • He answers that he is sure that he and Dora could never love anybody else.
  • Miss Betsey shakes her head and comments that David reminds her of his mother.
  • David needs someone who is faithful and serious in his life.
  • He promises that Dora is earnest, but Miss Betsey just shakes her head and tells him he is blind.
  • Miss Betsey says they should hope for better fortunes so that David can get married, if he really wants to.
  • David's aunt goes to bed, and David takes the sofa.
  • He lies there worrying about what will happen when he tells Dora about his poor fortune.
  • The night feels ages long as David worries and has bad dreams, and Miss Betsey paces all around.
  • The next morning, David walks to the office early to speak to Mr. Spenlow.
  • David explains that he has had bad news from his aunt – that she is ruined – and wants to cancel his apprenticeship.
  • Mr. Spenlow says that it's neither common nor professional to cancel such a thing.
  • David's boss claims that it's just Mr. Jorkins who would object; if it were up to Mr. Spenlow, he'd let David go.
  • David asks if he can approach Mr. Jorkins directly.
  • Mr. Spenlow warns David that it will be useless.
  • Still, David heads out to meet Mr. Jorkins.
  • Mr. Jorkins hears David's story and expresses sympathy, but he says that, if Mr. Spenlow objects, well, there's nothing he can do about it.
  • David tells Mr. Jorkins that Mr. Spenlow doesn't object personally.
  • Mr. Jorkins says it's impossible, and anyway, he has an appointment at his bank.
  • The man runs out the door and hides from the office for three days.
  • David then begs Mr. Spenlow to use his influence to persuade Mr. Jorkins.
  • Mr. Spenlow promises David that nothing will change Mr. Jorkins's mind.
  • David is confused: which of the two men, Spenlow or Jorkins, are really objecting to his request?
  • Disappointed, David goes home: there's no way he's going to get his aunt's money back.
  • As he's walking home, David sees someone passing by in a carriage: it's Agnes!
  • David tells Agnes that she is the person he most wants to talk to in all the world (well, except maybe for Dora).
  • Agnes is on her way to see Miss Betsey at David's rooms.
  • Miss Betsey left the Wickfields a very short and unclear note stating that she has been ruined, but that no one needs to worry about her because she'll be fine.
  • Mr. Wickfield and Uriah Heep had business in London, and Agnes hitched a ride to check on Miss Betsey.
  • Apparently, Mr. Wickfield and Uriah Heep have become partners.
  • It gets worse: Uriah Heep and his mother have moved in to Mr. Wickfield's house.
  • Uriah Heep has David's old room.
  • Agnes fondly remembers the old days when David lived with them.
  • She hates that she can't stick as close to her father as she wants: Agnes worries that Uriah Heep is plotting some kind of betrayal of Mr. Wickfield.
  • Agnes asks if David knows what has happened to Miss Betsey's money; of course, he doesn't yet.
  • They walk in to David's rooms to find Miss Betsey alone.
  • Apparently, she has been arguing with Mrs. Crupp, who would like Miss Betsey to leave.
  • But she's calmed down a bit now.
  • Mr. Dick is out with Peggotty looking at the sights of London.
  • David explains that he tried to cancel his work with Spenlow and Jorkins, but was refused.
  • Miss Betsey says that was kind of him, but stupid.
  • She then presents her own personal history (weirdly, in third person).
  • What has happened is this: Miss Betsey has had a number of secure investments that netted her a lot of money.
  • However, her business manager (Agnes's father, Mr. Wickfield) hasn't been doing as well with her money as he used to.
  • So, Miss Betsey got fed up investing through Mr. Wickfield, and decided to try various markets herself.
  • Unfortunately, this has proved disastrous, and Miss Betsey has lost all of her money.
  • Agnes seems oddly relieved to hear this news.
  • David realizes that she had been worrying that Mr. Wickfield had ruined Miss Betsey.
  • Miss Betsey turns to Agnes and David and asks what she should do.
  • She can count on about 70 pounds a year in rent money from the cottage (which is about U.S. $7,800 in today's money; see this website).
  • How is she supposed to keep herself and David alive on that kind of money? (Mr. Dick has his own income, so he's safe.)
  • David says he's got to do something.
  • Miss Betsey is worried that David will join the army and get himself killed.
  • Agnes asks if David has signed a lease for his apartment?
  • Yes, he has.
  • Miss Betsey agrees that she has enough cash to pay the rent for the term of his lease – the next six months.
  • So, Miss Betsey decides that she will stay with David and they will rent a room for Mr. Dick nearby.
  • Agnes suggests that, if David has time, he might take on the job of secretary to Dr. Strong.
  • David is delighted at this news and thanks Agnes for being so helpful.
  • As Miss Betsey, Peggotty, and Agnes set to work rearranging and tidying David's rooms, Mr. Wickfield and Uriah Heep arrive.
  • David is absolutely horrified at the change between the two men: Mr. Wickfield now seems totally dependent, basically bowing down to Uriah Heep.
  • Miss Betsey compliments Agnes's good sense to Mr. Wickfield. She adds that Agnes is worth more than his whole firm.
  • Uriah Heep chimes in that he'd be happy to see Agnes become a partner.
  • Miss Betsey shuts him down: she tells Uriah that he's already become a partner himself, and that should be enough for him.
  • Uriah Heep tells David that he's happy to see David even under such awful circumstances.
  • David is sure that Uriah is only too happy to see David brought low like this.
  • Miss Betsey scolds Uriah Heep for jerking around and waving his arms like an eel.
  • In a dull, forced-sounding voice, Mr. Wickfield claims that anything Uriah Heep says, Mr. Wickfield agrees with.
  • David is sure that Uriah Heep has made Mr. Wickfield say this to impress David.
  • Uriah Heep heads out, and Mr. Wickfield and Agnes stay for a chat.
  • Mr. Wickfield brightens up without Uriah Heep's presence.
  • Agnes and David go out to dinner, along with Mr. Wickfield, and it really is like old times.
  • David is so moved by Agnes's goodness and kindness that his heart feels stronger for her presence.

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