David Copperfield: Chapter 13 - Critical Summary

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Chapter 13: The Sequel of My Resolution

      On Saturday night David found that he had only a half-pence in his pocket. He had been walking for sometime and was very hungry now. He went to a second-hand shop and sold his waistcoat for nine pence, so that he could buy something to eat. When night came, he slept on a haystack at the back of his old school.

      The next day David sold his jacket as well. The man to whom he sold it, kept uttering "Goroo" after every sentence. The poor child got scared by him. Anyhow he reached Dover in about four days. He walked during the day and slept on the haystacks in the open during night. On the sixth day, when he actually reached Dover, he started making inquiries about his aunt's whereabouts. After a few attempts, he met Janet, Miss Betsey's maid, in a shop where he had gone to make inquiries. Janet asked him to follow her, and on reaching the gate of the house, told him that it was Miss Betsey's house and went in, leaving poor David behind. First of all, David noticed a man at one of the window upstairs who winked at him. Then he saw a lady. She had her handkerchief tied over her cap, and a pair of gardening gloves on the hands. She was also wearing a gardening pocket and carrying a great knife. He knew it was Miss Betsey because she came talking out of the house in exactly the same manner as his mother had so often described. Miss Betsey thought David to be a beggar and shouted "Go away! Go along! No boys here !"

      But David touched her with his finger and introduced himself. While describing his unfortunate journey to Dover he burst out into tears. Miss Betsey got up in a great hurry and took him into the parlor by his collar. Since he was quite hysterical, she administered some restoratives to him and asked Janet to send Mr. Dick to her.

      When Mr. Dick, the man David had seen winking at him, came in, Miss Betsey described to him about David's misfortunes on the road and asked him for advice. On Mr. Dick's advice David was given a bath, (which was a great comfort ) and dressed up in Mr. Dick's clothes. He soon fell asleep after the bath and when he woke up they all had dinner. Then they talked about David's parents and this nurse, till it was time for tea. David soon discovered that Miss Betsey greatly disliked donkeys going into her immaculate garden. She often cried out in horror:

"Janet! Donkeys !"
After tea David was put to bed again.

      The next morning David was informed by his great aunt that she had written to Mr. Murdstone. She arranged a tidy and spotless room for him. At breakfast she asked David to go up and ask Mr. Dick as to how his memorial was getting on. She also told him that Mr. Dick's actual name was Richard Babley - a name he could not bear to hear.

      David found Mr. Dick busy with his writing. On seeing David Mr. Dick asked him if he knew the date of the execution of King Charles I. He felt sorry that some of the troubles on King Charles's mind had been put into his head. He also showed David a large kite which he had made himself. The kite was covered with a closely written manuscript. At one or two places David could spot some reference to the head of King Charles.

      When David went downstairs again his aunt while talking to him about Mr. Dick, assured him that he was not mad, even though people took him to be mad. She also told David that Mr. Dick was a distant relation of hers. She had taken charge of him when his brother proposed to get him shut up in an asylum. She always found him to be friendly and his advice to be sound. At present he was busy writing a memorial about his affairs, to the Lord Chancellor.

      One day Miss Betsey Trotwood received a reply to her letter from Mr. Murdstone. David was terrified to know that Mr. Murdstone was coming the next day.

      As David sat waiting for Mr. Murdstone that day, his aunt all of a sudden gave the alarm of donkeys. David saw to his horror Miss Murdstone, and behind her, her brother Mr. Murdstone, ride over the green lawn, in front of the cottage. Miss Betsey Trotwood seemed very annoyed. She rushed out of the cottage, shaking her fist at Miss Murdstone and pounced on the owner of the donkey. The donkey boy managed to break out of her grip. Miss Betsey ignored the visitors and marched back into her house with great dignity. Later when their arrival was announced by Janet, the great aunt explained to the visitors that she allowed no one to ride over her green lawn.

      Miss Betsey sent for Mr. Dick after having exchanged a few sharp remarks with Miss Murdstone. She introduced Mr. Dick to the Murdstones as an old friend of hers, when he appeared and said that she relied on his judgment.

      Mr. Murdstone complained to Miss Betsey that David had been the cause of much domestic trouble and that he was sullen, rebellious and of a violent temper. He also explained that he had set up David in a respectable business but he had run away and made himself a vagabond.

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