illustration of two young men standing in 19th century garb and looking at one another

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

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"I'm A Very Umble Person"

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Context: After much misfortune and unhappiness, ten-year-old David Copperfield at last falls under the kind and wise control of his father's aunt, Betsy Trotwood, who sends him to a good school, in Canterbury. During his seven years there, he lives in the home of Miss Trotwood's lawyer, Mr. Wickfield, and becomes very attached to the gentleman and to his daughter, Agnes. David also becomes quickly interested in the peculiarities of Wickfield's young clerk, Uriah Heep, a deferential and self-effacing person whose principal gratification in life is impressing upon people how humble he is. Heep provides constant food for his morbid self-pity by exaggerating his low state, and, true to form, emphasizes his lowness upon David shortly after their meeting.

"I suppose you are quite a great lawyer?" I said, after looking at him for some time.
"Me, Master Copperfield?" said Uriah. "Oh, no! I'm a very umble person."
. . .
"I am well aware that I am the umblest person going," said Uriah Heep modestly, "let the other be where he may. My mother is likewise a very umble person. We live in an umble abode, Master Copperfield, but have much to be thankful for. My father's former calling was umble; he was a sexton."

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