David Copperfield: Personal History of David Copperfield (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield: Personal History of David Copperfield (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens

Author:Charles Dickens [Dickens, Charles]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780141907864
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Published: 2007-10-25T04:00:00+00:00

‘I justify nothing. I make no counter-accusations. But I am sorry to repeat, it is impossible. Such a marriage would irretrievably blight my son’s career, and ruin his prospects. Nothing is more certain than that it never can take place, and never will. If there is any other compensation –’

‘I am looking at the likeness of the face,’ interrupted Mr Peggotty, with a steady but a kindling eye, ‘that has looked at me, in my home, at my fireside, in my boat – wheer not? – smiling and friendly, when it was so treacherous, that I go half wild when I think of it. If the likeness of that face don’t turn to burning fire, at the thought of offering money to me for my child’s blight and ruin, it’s as bad. I doen’t know, being a lady’s, but what it’s worse.’

She changed now, in a moment. An angry flush overspread her features; and she said, in an intolerant manner, grasping the arm-chair tightly with her hands:

‘What compensation can you make to me for opening such a pit between me and my son? What is your love to mine? What is your separation to ours?’

Miss Dartle softly touched her, and bent down her head to whisper, but she would not hear a word.

‘No, Rosa, not a word! Let the man listen to what I say! My son, who has been the object of my life, to whom its every thought has been devoted, whom I have gratified from a child in every wish, from whom I have had no separate existence since his birth, – to take up in a moment with a miserable girl, and avoid me! To repay my confidence with systematic deception, for her sake, and quit me for her! To set this wretched fancy, against his mother’s claims upon his duty, love, respect, gratitude – claims that every day and hour of his life should have strengthened into ties that nothing could be proof against! Is this no injury?’

Again Rosa Dartle tried to soothe her; again ineffectually.

‘I say, Rosa, not a word! If he can stake his all upon the lightest object, I can stake my all upon a greater purpose. Let him go where he will, with the means that my love has secured to him! Does he think to reduce me by long absence? He knows his mother very little if he does. Let him put away his whim now, and he is welcome back. Let him not put her away now, and he never shall come near me, living or dying, while I can raise my hand to make a sign against it, unless, being rid of her for ever, he comes humbly to me and begs for my forgiveness. This is my right. This is the acknowledgment I will have. This is the separation that there is between us! And is this,’ she added, looking at her visitor with the proud intolerant air with which she had begun, ‘no injury?’

While I heard and saw the mother as she said these words, I seemed to hear and see the son, defying them.



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