Summary and Analysis
David returns to London on a wintry autumn evening and he plans to surprise his friends, who do not expect him until Christmas. At Gray's Inn Coffee-house, David asks a waiter about "Mr. Traddies' . . . reputation among the lawyers," but the waiter doesn't seem to know Tommy's name, and David begins to worry about his friend's position.
Eventually, David finds Traddles' apartment and discovers that he is now married to Sophy, whom he courted for so long. Sophy's five sisters are living with them, but the family seems happy, and David is convinced that Traddles will succeed in his law practice.
David returns to the coffee house and notices Mr. Chillip, the old family doctor, seated in a corner. Mr. Chillip doesn't recognize him at first, but after David reintroduces himself they talk about Mr. Murdstone (now Mr. Chillip's neighbor) and how he has driven his second wife "all but melancholy mad." When David talks about Miss Betsey Trotwood, the doctor hurries off to bed "as if he were not quite safe anywhere else." (Clearly, he remembers, in David's words, the "Dragon.")
When David arrives at Miss Trotwood's cottage, he is "received with open arms" by his aunt, Mr. Dick, and their new housekeeper — Peggotty. The happy group is together once more.
David and his aunt stay up very late and talk, primarily about Agnes. David asks if she has acquired any suitors, and Miss Betsey replies that she could have married twenty times but she seems to have a special "attachment." His aunt will tell him no more because it is only a suspicion on her part.
In the morning, David travels by horseback to Canterbury to see Agnes. At the house, David and Agnes are joyfully reunited. David finds that he cannot tell Agnes of his great love for her, and she proceeds to talk about her school and her quiet life with her father. When David asks about her "attachment," she becomes evasive, and David lets the topic drop. Mr. Wickfield relates the story of his marriage and the mistakes he has made in his past; however, he praises Agnes and compares her affectionate and gentle heart to her mother's broken one. Later, David is able to tell Agnes of his gratefulness to her for all her help.
When David rides back at night, all his memories go with him. He fears that Agnes is unhappy . . . and he knows in his heart that he is too.
Very little happens to David in Chapter 59. Dickens uses the device of having David be told about the happenings of various characters. Very quickly the various loose ends of the story are being picked up and tucked away in these last few chapters. Agnes, perhaps, is the only person who has remained unchanged throughout the course of the novel. Her blend of sense, sympathy, and motherly affection are enduring qualities that transcend the physical existence of things.