‘However,’ he said, ‘it’s not that we haven’t made a beginning towards housekeeping. No, no; we have begun. We must get on by degrees, but we have begun. Here,’ drawing the cloth off with great pride and care, ‘are two pieces of furniture to commence with. This flower-pot and stand, she bought herself. You put that in a parlour window,’ said Traddles, falling a little back from it to survey it with the greater admiration, ‘with a plant in it, and – and there you are! This little round table with the marble top (it’s two feet ten in circumference), I bought. You want to lay a book down, you know, or somebody comes to see you or your wife, and wants a place to stand a cup of tea upon, and – and there you are again!’ said Traddles. ‘It’s an admirable piece of workmanship – firm as a rock!’ I praised them both, highly, and Traddles replaced the covering as carefully as he had removed it.
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‘She is such a dear girl!’ said Traddles; ‘a little older than me, but the dearest girl! I told you I was going out of town? I have been down there. I walked there, and I walked back, and I had the most delightful time! I dare say ours is likely to be a rather long engagement, but our motto is “Wait and hope!” We always say that. “Wait and hope,” we always say. And she would wait, Copperfield, till she was sixty – any age you can mention – for me!’
‘It’s not a great deal towards the furnishing,’ said Traddles, ‘but it’s something. The table-cloths, and pillow-cases, and articles of that kind, are what discourage me most, Copperfield. So does the ironmongery – candle-boxes, and gridirons, and that sort of necessaries – because those things tell, and mount up. However, “wait and hope!” And I assure you she’s the dearest girl!’
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The phaeton was a very handsome affair; the horses arched their necks and lifted up their legs as if they knew they belonged to Doctors’ Commons. There was a good deal of competition in the Commons on all points of display, and it turned out some very choice equipages then; though I always have considered, and always shall consider, that in my time the great article of competition there was starch: which I think was worn among the proctors to as great an extent as it is in the nature of man to bear.
We were very pleasant, going down, and Mr. Spenlow gave me some hints in reference to my profession. He said it was the genteelest profession in the world, and must on no account be confounded with the profession of a solicitor: being quite another sort of thing, infinitely more exclusive, less mechanical, and more profitable. We took things much more easily in the Commons than they could be taken anywhere else, he observed, and that set us, as a privileged class, apart. He said it was impossible to conceal the disagreeable fact, that we were chiefly employed by solicitors; but he gave me to understand that they were an inferior race of men, universally looked down upon by all proctors of any pretensions.
I listened to all this with attention; and though, I must say, I had my doubts whether the country was quite as much obliged to the Commons as Mr. Spenlow made out, I respectfully deferred to his opinion. That about the price of wheat per bushel, I modestly felt was too much for my strength, and quite settled the question. I have never, to this hour, got the better of that bushel of wheat. It has reappeared to annihilate me, all through my life, in connexion with all kinds of subjects. I don’t know now, exactly, what it has to do with me, or what right it has to crush me, on an infinite variety of occasions; but whenever I see my old friend the bushel brought in by the head and shoulders (as he always is, I observe), I give up a subject for lost.
I believe I had a delirious idea of seizing the red-hot poker out of the fire, and running him through with it. It went from me with a shock, like a ball fired from a rifle: but the image of Agnes, outraged by so much as a thought of this red-headed animal’s, remained in my mind when I looked at him, sitting all awry as if his mean soul griped his body, and made me giddy. He seemed to swell and grow before my eyes; the room seemed full of the echoes of his voice; and the strange feeling (to which, perhaps, no one is quite a stranger) that all this had occurred before, at the drug soma some indefinite time, and that I knew what he was going to say next, took possession of me.
A timely observation of the sense of power that there was in his face, did more to bring back to my remembrance the entreaty of Agnes, in its full force, than any effort I could have made. I asked him, with a better appearance of composure than I could have thought possible a minute before, whether he had made his feelings known to Agnes.
‘Oh no, Master Copperfield!’ he returned; ‘oh dear, no! Not to anyone but you. You see I am only just emerging from my lowly station. I rest a good deal of hope on her observing how useful I am to her father (for I trust to be very useful to him indeed, Master Copperfield), and how I smooth the way for him, and keep him straight. She’s so much attached to her father, Master Copperfield (oh, what a lovely thing it is in a daughter!), that I think she may come, on his account, to be kind to me.’
Savez-vous ce que c’est, reprit-elle plus bas encore, savez-vous ce que c’est qu’avoir vingt ans et apprendre l’amour dans les bras d’un vieillard ? Que rever d’espaces, de courses a travers l’ocean, de chevauchees au bout de l’horizon dans le vent du matin, de nuits passees sous un ciel immense et libre a ecouter chanter les Noirs, a respirer l’air parfume des iles… et se retrouver en cage, livree aux conseils equivoques des eunuques, a la haine et a la stupidite d’une armee de femmes aux ames d’esclaves ? Savez-vous ce que c’est que delirer interminablement les caresses d’un homme jeune, les bras et l’amour d’un homme jeune, sain, ardent, sur les coussins de soie d’une chambre solitaire dont on vous tire parfois pour vous livrer a un etre trop vieux pour que la parodie ne soit pas douloureuse… Et cela durant des annees, de mortelles, d’affreuses annees ?… Celles qui auraient pu etre les plus riches et les plus chaudes ?
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Voulez-vous dire… que vous n’avez jamais connu l’amour ? murmura Marianne a la fois incredule et desolee. La tete blonde eut un mouvement doux qui arracha cependant un eclair a l’enorme diamant rose qui l’ornait. J’ai connu l’amour de Selim. Il etait le fils de mon epoux, le vieil Abdul Hamid. Il etait jeune, en effet… et il m’aimait passionnement, au point d’avoir choisi de mourir pour nous defendre, mon fils et moi, quand l’usurpateur Mustapha et les janissaires ont envahi le palais. Son amour etait chaleureux et j’avais pour lui une profonde tendresse. Mais l’ardeur de la passion, celle que j’aurais pu connaitre avec… un autre dont je revais a quinze ans, cette fievre d’amour, ce besoin de donner et de prendre, non… je ne les ai jamais eprouves. Alors, petite fille, oubliez vos epreuves, oubliez tout ce que vous avez subi puisqu’il vous reste le droit et la possibilite de lutter encore pour conquerir le bonheur ! Je vous aiderai.
‘My dear young friend,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘I am older than you; a man of some experience in life, and – and of some experience, in short, in difficulties, generally speaking. At present, and until something turns up (which I am, I may say, hourly expecting), I have nothing to bestow but advice. Still my advice is so far worth taking, that – in short, that I have never taken it myself, and am the’ – here Mr. Micawber, who had been beaming and smiling, all over his head and face, up to the present moment, checked himself and frowned – ‘the miserable wretch you behold.’
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‘My dear,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘your papa was very well in his way, and Heaven forbid that I should disparage him. Take him for all in all, we ne’er shall – in short, make the acquaintance, probably, of anybody else possessing, at his time of life, the same legs for gaiters, and able to read the same description of print, without spectacles. But he applied that maxim to our marriage, my dear; and that was so far prematurely entered into, in consequence, that I never recovered the expense.’ Mr. Micawber looked aside at Mrs. Micawber, and added: ‘Not that I am sorry for it. Quite the contrary, my love.’ After which, he was grave for a minute or so.
‘The sense of the dear!’ cried Peggotty. ‘What I have been thinking of, this month back! Yes, my precious; and I think I should be more independent altogether, you see; let alone my working with a better heart in my own house, than I could in anybody else’s now. I don’t know what I might be fit for, now, as a servant to a stranger. And I shall be always near my pretty’s resting-place,’ said Peggotty, musing, ‘and be able to see it when I like; and when I lie down to rest, I may be laid not far off from my darling girl!’
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‘Well, my life,’ said Peggotty, giving me a squeeze, ‘I have thought of it night and day, every way I can, and I hope the right way; but I’ll think of it again, and speak to my brother about it, and in the meantime we’ll keep it to ourselves, Davy, you and me. Barkis is a good plain creature,’ said Peggotty, ‘and if I tried to do my duty by him, I think it would be my fault if I wasn’t – if I wasn’t pretty comfortable,’ said Peggotty, laughing heartily. This quotation from Mr. Barkis was so appropriate, and tickled us both so much, that we laughed again and again, and were quite in a pleasant humour when we came within view of Mr. Peggotty’s cottage.
It looked just the same, except that it may, perhaps, have shrunk a little in my eyes; and Mrs. Gummidge was waiting at the door as if she had stood there ever since. All within was the same, down to the seaweed in the blue mug in my bedroom. I went into the out-house to look about me; and the very same lobsters, crabs, and crawfish possessed by the same desire to pinch the world in general, appeared to be in the same state of conglomeration in the same old corner.
There was an old door in this playground, on which the boys had a custom of carving their names. It was completely covered with such inscriptions. In my dread of the end of the vacation and their coming back, I could not read a boy’s name, without inquiring in what tone and with what emphasis HE would read, ‘Take care of him. He bites.’ There was one boy – a certain J. Steerforth – who cut his name very deep and very often, who, I conceived, would read it in a rather strong voice, and afterwards pull my hair. There was another boy, one Tommy Traddles, who I dreaded would make game of it, and pretend to be dreadfully frightened of me. There was a third, George Demple, who I fancied would sing it. I have looked, a little shrinking creature, at that door, until the owners of all the names – there were five-and-forty of them in the school then, Mr. Mell said – seemed to send me to Coventry by general acclamation, and to cry out, each in his own way, ‘Take care of him. He bites!’
It was the same with the places at the desks and forms. It was the same with the groves of deserted bedsteads I peeped at, on my way to, and when I was in, my own bed. I remember dreaming night after buy generic levitra online night, of being with my mother as she used to be, or of going to a party at Mr. Peggotty’s, or of travelling outside the stage-coach, or of dining again with my unfortunate friend the waiter, and in all these circumstances making people scream and stare, by the unhappy disclosure that I had nothing on but my little night-shirt, and that placard.
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God help me, I might have been improved for my whole life, I might have been made another creature perhaps, for life, by a kind word at that season. A word of encouragement and explanation, of pity for my childish ignorance, of welcome home, of reassurance to me that it was home, might have made me dutiful to him in my heart henceforth, instead of in my hypocritical outside, and might have made me respect instead of hate him. I thought my mother was sorry to see me standing in the room so scared and strange, and that, presently, when I stole to a chair, she followed me with her eyes more sorrowfully still – missing, perhaps, some freedom in my childish tread – but the word was not spoken, and the time for it was gone.
We dined alone, we three together. He seemed to be very fond of my mother – I am afraid I liked him none the better for that – and she was very fond of him. I gathered from what they said, that an elder sister of his was coming to stay with them, and that she was expected that evening. I am not certain whether I found out then, or afterwards, that, without being actively concerned in any business, he had some share in, or some annual charge upon the profits of, a wine-merchant’s house in London, with which his family had been connected from his great-grandfather’s time, and in which his sister had a similar interest; but I may mention it in this place, whether or no.
‘Yes, yes, it is,’ cried Mrs. Gummidge. ‘I know what I am. I know that I am a lone lorn creetur’, and not only that everythink goes contrary with me, but that I go contrary with everybody. Yes, yes. I feel more than other people do, and I show it more. It’s my misfortun’.’
I really couldn’t help thinking, as I sat taking in all this, that the misfortune extended to some other members of that family besides Mrs. Gummidge. But Mr. Peggotty made no such retort, only answering with another entreaty to Mrs. Gummidge to cheer up.
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‘I an’t what I could wish myself to be,’ said Mrs. Gummidge. ‘I am far from it. I know what I am. My troubles has made me contrary. I feel my troubles, and they make me contrary. I wish I didn’t feel ‘em, but I do. I wish I could be hardened to ‘em, but I an’t. I make the house uncomfortable. I don’t wonder at it. I’ve made your sister so all day, and Master Davy.’
Der Vorsteher richtete sich überrascht auf und warf einen forschenden Blick auf den Gebieter. „Zu viel der hohen Ehre! Ich nicht wissen, gnädiger Herr, wie ich kommen dazu!“ Mit überschwenglicher Höflichkeit stammelte der Schmiedmeister seine Glückwünsche zum Namensfeste, wobei er beteuerte, bis zur Stunde nicht gewußt zu haben, daß der Herr Kommandant den Taufnamen „Raphael“ führe.
„Das ist nebensächlich! Nun wollen wir dem Starešina das ‚Bilikum‘ reichen!“ Tonidandel füllte einen Pokal mit Wein, hielt eine kleine Ansprache an den Gast, der sich so wohl fühlen möge im Hause wie im eigenen Heim, und reichte dann dem Pokal dem Vorsteher, der aufrecht stehend den Willkommspruch angehört hatte, sich nun verbeugte, den Pokal entgegennahm, einen Segenspruch für den Hausherrn feierlich sprach und den Pokal auf einen Zug leerte.
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