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|Be satisfied and thankful
Written by Emma Woodhouse
(8/31/2013 10:31 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The shadow within my breast, penned by David Copperfield
Dear Mr Copperfield,
My astonishment that you should have forced your suit upon Mrs Copperfield as a beggar, less even than a farmer, is beyond anything I can express. That Dora is a gentleman's daughter is indubitable to me; that she associated with gentlemen's daughters, no one, I apprehend, will deny. She is or was superior to you, and I am very sorry for her sake that I now cannot show her notice and kindness. She is sunk into the very snare I plucked Harriet Smith from. But a farmer or indeed a gentleman who lives in a rookery can need none of my help, and you and your wife are consequently as much above my notice as in every other you are below it. Still, the damage is done, and I now marvel at this instance of fresh insolence and dwindling affection. Such a girl as Dora (and indeed Harriet Smith) is exactly what every man delights in; I know that is the feeling of you all, and you have admitted as much yourself. You should be satisfied and thankful with such a treasure. You now seem most unjust to your fair one's claims, which are surely not so contemptible as you represent them; indeed, I am convinced she has better sense than you are aware of, and does not deserve to have her understanding spoken of so slightingly. Waving that point, however, and supposing Dora to be, as you describe her, only pretty and good-natured, her lack of intellect only to be sighed at, let me tell you, that in the degree she possesses them, beauty and docility are not trivial recommendations to the world in general. Dora is, I am certain, like my own dear Harriet; a beautiful girl, thought so by ninety-nine people out of an hundred; and till it appears that men are much more philosophic on the subject of beauty than they are generally supposed, till they do fall in love with well-informed minds instead of handsome faces, a girl of such loveliness has a certainty of being admired and sought after and consequently a claim to be nice (if not indeed perfect). Dora's good-nature, too, is not so very slight a claim, comprehending a thorough sweetness of temper and manner, a very humble opinion of herself, and a great readiness to be pleased with other people. Such beauty, such temper, are the highest claims a woman could possess; you should prize them, and her, as such. Moreover, Mr Copperfield, your professions of regard for Agnes do you no service; of course she is at home, taking care of her elderly father and with no claims to marry at present; what else she should be doing and where else she should be, I cannot imagine!
P.P.S. Well done, Aunt Trotwood. You knew what you were about.
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