Copperfield called her by it, because her Christian name was the same as mine.′
′Here! Peggotty!′ cried Miss Betsey, opening the parlour door. ′Tea. Your mistress is a little unwell. Don′t dawdle.′
Having issued this mandate with as much potentiality as if she had been a recognized authority in the house ever since it had been a house, and having looked out to confront the amazed Peggotty coming along the passage with a candle at the sound of a strange voice, Miss Betsey shut the door again, and sat down as before: with her feet on the fender, the skirt of her dress tucked up, and her hands folded on one knee.
′You were speaking about its being a girl,′ said Miss Betsey. ′I have no doubt it will be a girl. I have a presentiment that it must be a girl. Now child, from the moment of the birth of this girl -′
′Perhaps boy,′ my mother took the liberty of putting in.
′I tell you I have a presentiment that it must be a girl,′ returned Miss Betsey. ′Don′t contradict. From the moment of this girl′s birth, child, I intend to be her friend. I intend to be her godmother, and I beg you′ll call her Betsey Trotwood Copperfield. There must be no mistakes in life with THIS Betsey Trotwood. There must be no trifling with HER affections, poor dear. She must be well brought up, and well guarded from reposing any foolish confidences where they are not deserved. I must make that MY care.′
There was a twitch of Miss Betsey′s head, after each of these sentences, as if her own old wrongs were working within her, and she repressed any plainer reference to them by strong constraint. So my mother suspected, at least, as she observed her by the low glimmer of the fire: too much scared by Miss Betsey, too uneasy in herself, and too subdued and bewildered altogether, to observe anything very clearly, or to know what to say.
′And was David good to you, child?′ asked Miss Betsey, when she had been silent for a little while, and these motions of her head had gradually ceased. ′Were you comfortable together?′
′We were very happy,′ said my mother. ′Mr. Copperfield was only too good to me.′
′What, he spoilt you, I suppose?′ returned Miss Betsey.
′For being quite alone and dependent on myself in this rough world again, yes, I fear he did indeed,′ sobbed my mother.
′Well! Don′t cry!′ said Miss Betsey. ′You were not equally matched, child - if any two people can be equally matched - and so I asked the question. You were an orphan, weren′t you?′ ′Yes.′
′And a governess?′
′I was nursery-governess in a family where Mr. Copperfield came to visit. Mr. Copperfield was very kind to me, and took a great deal of notice of me, and paid me a good deal of attention, and at last proposed to me. And I accepted him. And so we were married,′ said my mother simply.
′Ha! Poor Baby!′ mused Miss Betsey, with her frown still bent upon the fire. ′Do you know anything?′
′I beg your pardon, ma′am,′ faltered my mother.
′About keeping house, for instance,′ said Miss Betsey.
′Not much, I fear,′ returned my mother. ′Not so much as I could wish. But Mr. Copperfield was teaching me -′
(′Much he knew about it himself!′) said Miss Betsey in a parenthesis.
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