David Copperfield: Chapter 5 - Critical Summary

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Chapter 5: I Am Sent Away

      David's handkerchief was soaked in tears. He had traveled for about half a mile when Peggotty appeared from behind a hedge, climbed into the cart and took him in her arms. She had brought for him a paper bag full of cakes and a purse with three bright shillings in it. She also handed over to him a folded paper on which his mother had written lines, "For Davy, with my love." The paper contained two half written, "For Davy, with my love." The paper contained two half-crowns as well. Peggotty embraced him finally and then got down from the cart and ran off. Mr. Barkis, the cart driver kept inquiring of David about his nurse Peggotty. When he was finally satisfied he exclaimed to David, if he would be willing to write letters to Peggotty David agreed to write a letter to Peggotty. Barkis told David to include a message "Barkis is willing". But Barkis did not clarify what exactly he was willing to do.

      At last David reached the inn at Yarmouth and was taken to the coffee room. William, the waiter finished off most of his food, and made it look as if David had consumed it all. When David asked him to bring some paper and ink to write to Peggotty, the cunning waiter told him that paper was very expensive and then he went on to narrate his difficulties and woes. David took pity on him and gave him one of his bright shillings.

      David took the three o'clock coach for London. When the coach stopped for dinner, he was, too embarrassed to eat anything because the other travelers thought that he had eaten that large meal at the inn all by himself. And David did not want to be embarrassed any further. After a very uncomfortable journey, the coach reached London the next morning at 8 o'clock.

      There was no one to receive David at London. The school was still closed for the holidays. After a while Mr. Mell, a tall, lanky young man came to fetch him. He took him to an alms house where they were welcomed by an old lady who was Mr. Mell's mother. From there they took a coach to 'Salem House' a school which was enclosed by a high brick wall. The place looked very dull. A stout bull-necked man with a wooden leg opened the gate.

      In the untidy school room, David saw a placard with the inscription "Take care of him, he bites", which Mr. Mell informed him, he had been instructed to tie on to his back. David had to carry it wherever he went. Mr. Mell, however, was not harsh with him but David was afraid of what would happen when Mr. Creakle, the headmaster, and the other boys arrived after the holidays.

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