At that moment David's mother enters with a man named Mr. Murdstone to whom David takes an instant dislike. Later, he hears Peggotty
arguing with his mother and saying that David's father would not have liked
Mr. Murdstone as a suitor for his wife. As time goes by David becomes used
to Mr. Murdstone though he still isn't fond of him and continues to dislike him.
One day he is sent away to spend two weeks with Peggotty at her brother's
Yarmouth. David's mother is very upset and cries when he
leaves but Mr. Murdstone appears and chides her
David has a nice holiday at Peggotty's strange house in
Yarmouth, which is
actually a beached ship, hollowed out and converted into a
home. David sees Peggotty's brother and Peggotty's nephew Ham, but he
enjoys playing most with Em'ly, an orphaned girl whose family died at sea.
Playing on the beach, David and Em'ly kiss, and the young boy decides that he is
in love with her.
When Em'ly runs onto a plank extending over the deep water,
that she will drown; he comments that it might have been
better if she would have done so. When David and Peggotty return home, David
finds that his mother has married Mr. Murdstone in his absence.
David misses Em'ly and
hates his new stepfather who announces that he
intends to raise David firmly and threatens to whip David
severely unless his behavior improves. After dinner one night, Mr.
Murdstone's arrives in a coach and announces coldly that she dislikes boys and that
David's manners need to be improved. Over time, Miss Murdstone and her
control of the household. One day when David does badly at
his lessons and Murdstone beats him; David bites his stepfather's hand in
the process and is confine to his room for five days. At the end of five days
Peggotty warns David through the keyhole that he is to be shipped to a
school near London
which is exactly what happens.
As David sits crying in the cart, it stops after about half
a mile and
Peggotty comes out from behind a hedgerow, and gives David
some cakes, some money and a note from his mother, and a consoling hug. As
Mr. Barkes the
cart driver is kind to David, who shares with him a cake.
David is left at an inn in Yarmouth, and then he continues on a coach into
early the next morning. No one is there to receive David in
the metropolis, and at first he is afraid that he has been deserted. But he
is picked up by Mr. Mell who is one of his new schoolmasters, and taken to
Salem House, which is an
old, crumbling building and his new school.
After a month under Mr. Mell's supervision, David meets Mr.
Creakle, who runs Salem House and is a friend of Mr.
Murdstone's. He is
accompanied by a man with a wooden leg, who speaks for him
as Mr. Creakle can only whisper. The next morning, David meets Mr. Sharp,
Mr. Mell's senior
schoolmaster. He also meets and befriends ,Tommy Traddles a
young boy. The
other students arrive and mock David, but because Tommy is with him they are
not as bad as David had feared. David also meets James
Steerforth, an older boy who is the unofficial leader of the students. They
become friends and David entrusts his money to him. Steerforth buys David and
himself some wine and cookies, and they eat them in the dormitory they share.
The other boys
come in as well, and they chat about the school. David
looks up to Steerforth, whom he finds a person of great power.
On the first day of classes at Salem House, Mr. Creakle
whips half the boys,
including David. The beatings continue throughout the term,
and make it difficult for the miserable students to learn anything,
especially Tommy Traddles, who is caned every single day. The only kind
teacher is Mr. Mell, who is suddenly fired one day after Steerforth cruelly
reveals to Mr.
Creakle that Mr. Mell's mother lives in a poorhouse. But
Steerforth continues to be a presence in David's life, even gets an
invitation to Mr. Peggotty's house one day when Mr. Peggotty and Ham visit
When the holidays begin, David returns home happily, eager
to see his
mother. He is driven on part of the journey by Mr. Barkis,
who again sends a message to Peggotty through David, proposing marriage. When
they reach David's home, the young boy is shocked to find his mother
holding a baby who is David's half-brother. David, Peggotty, and David's
mother dine together,
and Peggotty promises David's mother that she will not
leave her to marry
Barkis. David notices that his mother seems to be weak and
frail. When Mr. Murdstone returns, David apologizes for his past behavior.
But his home life is still made unpleasant by Murdstone and Miss Murdstone,
and he is somewhat relieved when it is time to return to school.
But on his tenth birthday, David learns from Mr. Creakle
that his mother has
died, and he is sent back home for the funeral. In
Yarmouth, Mr. Omer fits him for a funeral suit, and tells David that his new
brother has also died. David's house, which is now the Murdstone household, is
eerily silent and gloomy in the days preceding the funeral. Peggotty takes
David in to see his
mother's body laid out. After the funeral, Miss Murdstone
gives Peggotty her notice, and David and Peggotty arrange for David to spend
some time with the Peggottys at Yarmouth. On the trip there, Barkis asks
Peggotty about her
status, and after a brief courtship, the two of them are
married. While they are in the church Em'ly allows David to kiss her in the
returns briefly to the Murdstones, who largely ignore him.
One day, Murdstone tells his ten-year-old stepson that he will not
be returning to school; instead, he will go to work for Murdstone and
Grinby, a wine
merchant outfit in London. Mr. Quinion, the manager, comes
to take David off
the Murdstones' hands.
Click here for part 2 of the
summary of David Copperfield