A hilarious passage appears in Chapter XXI ("Little Em'ly") of the original manuscript version of David Copperfield, where several paragraphs had to be deleted to save space when the story appeared serialized in 32-page pamphlets. Gloomy Mrs. Gummidge encounters the hyper-charming young Steerforth:

Mrs. Gummidge as usual was taken poorly in her spirits when we showed a disposition to be merry, and was as usual adjured by Mr. Peggotty to cheer up.

No, Dan'l," said Mrs. Gummidge, shaking her head. "I gets worse and worse. I had far better go in the House tomorrow afore breakfast."

"No, no," cried Steerforth, "don't say so! What's the matter?"

You don't know me, sir," said the doleful Gummidge, "or you wouldn't ask."

"The loss is mine," said Steerforth coaxingly, "but let us know each other better. What's the matter?"

Mrs. Gummidge shed tears, and stated her unfortunate condition in the usual terms. "I'm a lone lorn creetur', and everythink goes contrairy with me!"

"No!" cried Steerforth, "why, we must be designed by Heaven for one another. I'm a lone lorn creature myself, and everything has gone contrary with me from my cradle. Mr. Peggotty, will you change places, and allow me to sit next to her?"

The immediate effect of this on Mrs. Gummidge was to make her laugh. "You lone and lorn!" cried Mrs. Gummidge, peevishly. "Yes! Your looks is like it!"

"They are as like it as yours are," said Steerforth, taking his seat beside her.

"Indeed!" said Mrs. Gummidge, with another laugh.

Ay, indeed!" cried Steerforth. "Come! Let us be lone and lorn together. Everything shall go contrary with us both, and we'll go contrary with all the world."

It was in vain for Mrs. Gummidge to resist this league, or to try to push him away. He sat there all the rest of the evening, and, whenever Mrs. Gummidge began to shake her head, repeated his proposal. The consequence was that Mrs. Gummidge was continually laughing and pushing him, and had so little leisure for being miserable that she said next day she thought she must have been bewitched.

TopicHumor - TopicLiterature - 2006-07-01

(correlates: OnStage, RipTide, DavidCopperfieldOnAnimalRights, ...)