Mr. Dick: (Richard Babley) Character in David Copperfield

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      Mr. Dick (Richard Babley) is an older man living with Miss Betsey in her cottage at Dover. He is mentally disabled, he cannot look after himself. He is also about the kindest most loyal guy out there—he thinks Miss Betsey is the most wonderful woman in the world. Miss Betsey says he is "a sort of distant connexion of mine," but she does not explain this any further, except that she asked his brother who had placed him in a private asylum, to allow him to live with her, for "I am not afraid of him. I am ready to take care of him, and shall not ill-treat him as some people (besides the asylum-folks) have done." And with her he has been "the most friendly and amenable creature in existence. He is busy writing a memorial or account of his affairs for "the Lord Chancellor, or the Lord Some body or other." He tries hard to keep out of it any reference to King Charles's head, for he has a preoccupation (an allegorical mode of expression Miss Trotwood calls it) that some of the trouble was taken out of King Charles's head and put into his.

      Mr. Dick is, in fact, a mild lunatic, though Miss Trotwood insists that nothing is more certain than that he is not mad. He lives a sheltered life under her protection where his wandering mind is kept to a certain extent in check, and where he can live a normal happy life, rattling (if not spending) his money, and pursuing his hobby of kite flying to his heart's content. He is naturally a cheerful man, though vacant in manner, and, above all, he has a profound admiration for Miss Trotwood's wisdom and gratitude for her kindness. With the schoolboys at Canterbury, he becomes very popular because of his obvious good nature and cleverness at making toys and other trifles. He develops an admiration for Doctor Strong and for David, second only to the one he has for his benefactress.

      Mr. Dick is an excellent comedy in the first part of the story, but the part he plays later (though he keeps his essential characteristics), is too far-fetched and to some extent spoils the character. One doubts very much whether he could have kept King Charles's head out of the copying work he does to assist the financial situation when Miss Trotwood is impoverished; and his part in the story of the relations between Doctor and Mr. Strong, (though the culmination of Miss Trotwood's belief in him), is utterly unrealistic. Indeed Dickens himself seems to appreciate this - that Mr. Dick should see what the wisdom of all the others had failed to see - and deliberately leaves Mr. Dick's all-important share in this matter vague, indefinite and unexplained.

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