David Copperfield: Chapter 31 - Critical Summary

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Chapter 31: A Greater Loss

      After the burial of Mr. Barkis, his money box was opened. It contained his will. The cost of his property was nearly three thousand pounds. The interest of one thousand pounds he had willed to Mr. Peggotty for life. On his death, the principal amount of money was to be equally divided between Peggotty (Barkis's wife), little Emily and David. The rest of his money was again bequeathed to his wife, Peggotty. She was also appointed the executor of this last will.

      David was a great help in arranging the affairs of Peggotty. But before leaving for London when he again visited Peggotty's house he came to know of the shocking news that Emily had eloped.

      Emily had left a letter for Ham. She wrote that she was sad at leaving her home. She was ashamed of her wickedness and would return home only when she was brought back by her lover as a lady She vouched for great love for her uncle and hoped that Ham would marry some good girl.

      Mr. Peggotty wanted to know the name of the person who had eloped with his dear Emily. Ham informed him that it was Steerforth. It seemed likely that Steerforth's servant Littimer had made the arrangements on his master's behalf. He had escorted Emily to a coach in which Steerforth was waiting. Mr. Peggotty was anxious to leave immediately in pursuit of Emily but Mrs. Gummidge asked him to wait and plan his movements. Both Mr. Peggotty and David were on the verge of tears. Steerforth had proved to be a damned villain.

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