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David Copperfield. Charles Dickens

′In the name of Heaven,′ said Miss Betsey, suddenly, ′why Rookery?′

′Do you mean the house, ma′am?′ asked my mother.

′Why Rookery?′ said Miss Betsey. ′Cookery would have been more to the purpose, if you had had any practical ideas of life, either of you.′

′The name was Mr. Copperfield′s choice,′ returned my mother. ′When he bought the house, he liked to think that there were rooks about it.′

The evening wind made such a disturbance just now, among some tall old elm-trees at the bottom of the garden, that neither my mother nor Miss Betsey could forbear glancing that way. As the elms bent to one another, like giants who were whispering secrets, and after a few seconds of such repose, fell into a violent flurry, tossing their wild arms about, as if their late confidences were really too wicked for their peace of mind, some weatherbeaten ragged old rooks′-nests, burdening their higher branches, swung like wrecks upon a stormy sea.

′Where are the birds?′ asked Miss Betsey.

′The -?′ My mother had been thinking of something else.

′The rooks - what has become of them?′ asked Miss Betsey.

′There have not been any since we have lived here,′ said my mother. ′We thought - Mr. Copperfield thought - it was quite a large rookery; but the nests were very old ones, and the birds have deserted them a long while.′

′David Copperfield all over!′ cried Miss Betsey. ′David Copperfield from head to foot! Calls a house a rookery when there′s not a rook near it, and takes the birds on trust, because he sees the nests!′

′Mr. Copperfield,′ returned my mother, ′is dead, and if you dare to speak unkindly of him to me -′

My poor dear mother, I suppose, had some momentary intention of committing an assault and battery upon my aunt, who could easily have settled her with one hand, even if my mother had been in far better training for such an encounter than she was that evening. But it passed with the action of rising from her chair; and she sat down again very meekly, and fainted.

When she came to herself, or when Miss Betsey had restored her, whichever it was, she found the latter standing at the window. The twilight was by this time shading down into darkness; and dimly as they saw each other, they could not have done that without the aid of the fire.

′Well?′ said Miss Betsey, coming back to her chair, as if she had only been taking a casual look at the prospect; ′and when do you expect -′

′I am all in a tremble,′ faltered my mother. ′I don′t know what′s the matter. I shall die, I am sure!′

′No, no, no,′ said Miss Betsey. ′Have some tea.′

′Oh dear me, dear me, do you think it will do me any good?′ cried my mother in a helpless manner.

′Of course it will,′ said Miss Betsey. ′It′s nothing but fancy. What do you call your girl?′

′I don′t know that it will be a girl, yet, ma′am,′ said my mother innocently.

′Bless the Baby!′ exclaimed Miss Betsey, unconsciously quoting the second sentiment of the pincushion in the drawer upstairs, but applying it to my mother instead of me, ′I don′t mean that. I mean your servant-girl.′

′Peggotty,′ said my mother.

′Peggotty!′ repeated Miss Betsey, with some indignation. ′Do you mean to say, child, that any human being has gone into a Christian church, and got herself named Peggotty?′ ′It′s her surname,′ said my mother, faintly. ′Mr.

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