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David Copperfield. Charles Dickens

He had that kind of shallow black eye - I want a better word to express an eye that has no depth in it to be looked into - which, when it is abstracted, seems from some peculiarity of light to be disfigured, for a moment at a time, by a cast. Several times when I glanced at him, I observed that appearance with a sort of awe, and wondered what he was thinking about so closely. His hair and whiskers were blacker and thicker, looked at so near, than even I had given them credit for being. A squareness about the lower part of his face, and the dotted indication of the strong black beard he shaved close every day, reminded me of the wax-work that had travelled into our neighbourhood some half-a-year before. This, his regular eyebrows, and the rich white, and black, and brown, of his complexion - confound his complexion, and his memory! - made me think him, in spite of my misgivings, a very handsome man. I have no doubt that my poor dear mother thought him so too.

We went to an hotel by the sea, where two gentlemen were smoking cigars in a room by themselves. Each of them was lying on at least four chairs, and had a large rough jacket on. In a corner was a heap of coats and boat-cloaks, and a flag, all bundled up together.

They both rolled on to their feet in an untidy sort of manner, when we came in, and said, ′Halloa, Murdstone! We thought you were dead!′

′Not yet,′ said Mr. Murdstone.

′And who′s this shaver?′ said one of the gentlemen, taking hold of me.

′That′s Davy,′ returned Mr. Murdstone.

′Davy who?′ said the gentleman. ′Jones?′

′Copperfield,′ said Mr. Murdstone.

′What! Bewitching Mrs. Copperfield′s encumbrance?′ cried the gentleman. ′The pretty little widow?′

′Quinion,′ said Mr. Murdstone, ′take care, if you please. Somebody′s sharp.′

′Who is?′ asked the gentleman, laughing. I looked up, quickly; being curious to know.

′Only Brooks of Sheffield,′ said Mr. Murdstone.

I was quite relieved to find that it was only Brooks of Sheffield; for, at first, I really thought it was I.

There seemed to be something very comical in the reputation of Mr. Brooks of Sheffield, for both the gentlemen laughed heartily when he was mentioned, and Mr. Murdstone was a good deal amused also. After some laughing, the gentleman whom he had called Quinion, said:

′And what is the opinion of Brooks of Sheffield, in reference to the projected business?′

′Why, I don′t know that Brooks understands much about it at present,′ replied Mr. Murdstone; ′but he is not generally favourable, I believe.′

There was more laughter at this, and Mr. Quinion said he would ring the bell for some sherry in which to drink to Brooks. This he did; and when the wine came, he made me have a little, with a biscuit, and, before I drank it, stand up and say, ′Confusion to Brooks of Sheffield!′ The toast was received with great applause, and such hearty laughter that it made me laugh too; at which they laughed the more. In short, we quite enjoyed ourselves.

We walked about on the cliff after that, and sat on the grass, and looked at things through a telescope - I could make out nothing myself when it was put to my eye, but I pretended I could - and then we came back to the hotel to an early dinner.

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