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David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

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Describe David's first visit to Yarmouth in David Copperfield.

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In David Copperfield, David's first visit to Yarmouth is a very happy one. He spends two blissful weeks with Peggoty's family, who make him feel right at home. During his stay, David develops feelings for little Em'ly, Mr. Peggotty's niece, who very quickly becomes his childhood sweetheart.

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Peggotty invites David to spend a fortnight with her at her brother's place in Yarmouth, a seaside town on the coast of Norfolk. She paints a wonderfully idyllic picture of the place, with its boats, ships, fishermen, and beach.

Once David has established to his satisfaction that Peggotty's brother is an agreeable man, he happily agrees to go with her. At first, David's worried about his mother; he can't just leave her alone. But Peggotty assures him that Mrs. Copperfield will be spending the next fortnight at the home of Mrs. Grayper, and so she won't be short of company.

Over the next two weeks, David has a thoroughly enjoyable time in Yarmouth. Although Mr. Peggotty lives in an abandoned boat that smells strongly of fish, David has no problem staying there. In fact, he finds his accommodation most agreeable, as well as charmingly romantic. David's happy to discover that Mr. Peggotty is an agreeable chap, just as his sister said he was.

But it's Little Em'ly, Mr. Peggotty's niece, who really captures David's boyish imagination. Over the course of his visit, the two become not only incredibly good friends, but also childhood sweethearts. David and little Em'ly bond over the sad fact that they've both lost their fathers.

Even though they come from completely different social backgrounds, they're still able to develop a deep connection. This was a rare experience indeed in Dickens's day, when social divisions were a lot sharper than they are today. It says a lot about the feelings that David and little Em'ly develop for each other that they're strong enough to break down social barriers.

On the whole, David has a truly wonderful time, despite the unpleasant moment when Em'ly runs recklessly across an old jetty and despite the almost constant complaining of Mr. Peggotty's “wife,” Mrs. Gummidge.

Nevertheless, David can't wait to get back home to see his mother. However, when he finally gets home, he's in for a very nasty surprise. His mother has remarried, and her new husband is an unmitigated swine.

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