Charles Dickens, David Copperfield: Ch. 41

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'Oh, DON'T!' pleaded Dora. 'Please!'

'Are you not my own for ever, Dora?'

'Oh yes, of course I am!' cried Dora, 'but I am so frightened!'

'Frightened, my own?'

'Oh yes! I don't like him,' said Dora. 'Why don't he go?'

'Who, my life?'

'Your friend,' said Dora. 'It isn't any business of his. What a stupid he must be!'

'My love!' (There never was anything so coaxing as her childish ways.) 'He is the best creature!'d

'Oh, but we don't want any best creatures!' pouted Dora.

'My dear,' I argued, 'you will soon know him well, and like him of all things. And here is my aunt coming soon; and you'll like her of all things too, when you know her.'

'No, please don't bring her!' said Dora, giving me a horrified little kiss, and folding her hands. 'Don't. I know she's a naughty, mischief-making old thing! Don't let her come here, Doady!'d which was a corruption of David.

Remonstrance was of no use, then; so I laughed, and admired, and was very much in love and very happy; and she showed me Jip's new trick of standing on his hind legs in a corner—which he did for about the space of a flash of lightning, and then fell down—and I don't know how long I should have stayed there, oblivious of Traddles, if Miss Lavinia had not come in to take me away. Miss Lavinia was very fond of Dora (she told me Dora was exactly like what she had been herself at her age—she must have altered a good deal), and she treated Dora just as if she had been a toy. I wanted to persuade Dora to come and see Traddles, but on my proposing it she ran off to her own room and locked herself in; so I went to Traddles without her, and walked away with him on air.

'Nothing could be more satisfactory,' said Traddles; 'and they are very agreeable old ladies, I am sure. I shouldn't be at all surprised if you were to be married years before me, Copperfield.'

'Does your Sophy play on any instrument, Traddles?' I inquired, in the pride of my heart.

'She knows enough of the piano to teach it to her little sisters,' said Traddles.

'Does she sing at all?' I asked.

'Why, she sings ballads, sometimes, to freshen up the others a little when they're out of spirits,' said Traddles. 'Nothing scientific.'w

'She doesn't sing to the guitar?' said I.

'Oh dear no!' said Traddles.

'Paint at all?'

'Not at all,' said Traddles.

I promised Traddles that he should hear Dora sing, and see some of her flower-painting. He said he should like it very much, and we went home arm in arm in great good humour and delight. I encouraged him to talk about Sophy, on the way; which he did with a loving reliance on her that I very much admired. I compared her in my mind with Dora, with considerable inward satisfaction; but I candidly admitted to myself that she seemed to be an excellent kind of girl for Traddles, too.

X [d] 'My love!' (There never was anything so coaxi…


Dora's ways are "coaxing" but finally cloying, and David's indulgence painful to behold. Dickens's portrait of Dora and David's relationship exaggerates for the purpose of comedy what is in reality unhealthy. Dickens's best comedy gains its energy from the psychological insight from which it emerges. David's enthrallment with Dora's childlikeness and her quivering timidity spring f…

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X [d] Doady!'

Writing & Reading

Charming, yet a step nearer the doll's house and infantilization. Betsey, succumbing, will call Dora "Little Blossom."

"Doady" is the last of David's many names. Copperfield, "Master," "Mas'r,"or "Mister," depending on who's speaking; Daisy; Trotwood, which is Agnes's name for him; Trot, Aunt Betsey's affectionate one. The names define choices of what sort of person he is to become. 

X [w] scientific.'

Her guitar-playing is not based on any regular method or expertise.