|From the project Gutenberg online David Copperfield,|
a facsimile of the 1869 illustrated edition.
“I have known him come home to supper with a flood of tears, and a declaration that nothing was now left but a jail; and go to bed making a calculation of the expense of putting bow-windows to the house, ‘in case anything turned up’, which was his favourite expression. And Mrs. Micawber was just the same.” (Chapter 11)
“We had a beautiful little dinner. Quite an elegant dish of fish; the kidney-end of a loin of veal, roasted; fried sausage-meat; a partridge, and a pudding. There was wine, and there was strong ale; and after dinner Mrs. Micawber made us a bowl of hot punch with her own hands.” (Chapter 17).
"‘My other piece of advice, Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored. As I am!’ To make his example the more impressive, Mr. Micawber drank a glass of punch with an air of great enjoyment and satisfaction, and whistled the College Hornpipe." (Chapter 12)
|The Micawber family with David Copperfield, seated around a table set for making punch.|
"I informed Mr. Micawber that I relied upon him for a bowl of punch, and led him to the lemons. His recent despondency, not to say despair, was gone in a moment. I never saw a man so thoroughly enjoy himself amid the fragrance of lemon-peel and sugar, the odour of burning rum, and the steam of boiling water, as Mr. Micawber did that afternoon. It was wonderful to see his face shining at us out of a thin cloud of these delicate fumes, as he stirred, and mixed, and tasted, and looked as if he were making, instead of punch, a fortune for his family down to the latest posterity." (Chapter 28)
Dickens is an amazing writer, though a modern reader has to adjust to the length and depth of his descriptions, the long-windedness of the dialog, and the incredibly enormous number of characters that make up his work. If you consider that his novels were published in serial form — David Copperfield appeared over two years in 20 installments — reading the novel is really like binge watching an old TV series with two seasons of 10 episodes each!
Blog post © 2022 mae sander.