78 pages 2 hours read

Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1850

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Chapters 40-48Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 40 Summary: “The Wanderer”

That evening, David tells Miss Betsey about his experience at Mr. Wickfield’s residence. She is distressed and hurriedly paces around the apartment. As Miss Betsey paces, David composes his letter to Dora’s aunts. He shows the letter to Miss Betsey and she approves it. David nevertheless feels deep anxiety after sending the letter.

 

One night when walking home from Doctor Strong’s, David runs into Mr. Peggotty, who is still searching for Little Em’ly. David takes Mr. Peggotty to a nearby inn, where they warm themselves by the fire. Mr. Peggotty wistfully remarks that when Emily was a child, she used to talk a great deal about the most distant, shining parts of the sea. He always imagined that she was fixated on those parts of the sea because she imagined her drowned father had drifted off to foreign lands. He believes her obsession with becoming a lady may be linked to that feeling. He explains that on several occasions in his search across the continent, he narrowly missed Little Em’ly. He has also received three letters from her containing money for the family.

 

At this moment, David finds Martha listening in on their conversation, but she runs away before he can speak with her.

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