'Died with her,' replied Mr. Murdstone.
'And there was no settlement of the little property - the house and garden - the what's-its-name Rookery without any rooks in it - upon her boy?'
'It had been left to her, unconditionally, by her first husband,' Mr. Murdstone began, when my aunt caught him up with the greatest irascibility and impatience.
'Good Lord, man, there's no occasion to say that. Left to her unconditionally! I think I see David Copperfield looking forward to any condition of any sort or kind, though it stared him point-blank in the face! Of course it was left to her unconditionally. But when she married again - when she took that most disastrous step of marrying you, in short,' said my aunt, 'to be plain - did no one put in a word for the boy at that time?'
'My late wife loved her second husband, ma'am,' said Mr. Murdstone, 'and trusted implicitly in him.'
'Your late wife, sir, was a most unworldly, most unhappy, most unfortunate baby,' returned my aunt, shaking her head at him. 'That's what she was. And now, what have you got to say next?'
'Merely this, Miss Trotwood,' he returned. 'I am here to take David back - to take him back unconditionally, to dispose of him as I think proper, and to deal with him as I think right. I am not here to make any promise, or give any pledge to anybody. You may possibly have some idea, Miss Trotwood, of abetting him in his running away, and in his complaints to you. Your manner, which I must say does not seem intended to propitiate, induces me to think it possible. Now I must caution you that if you abet him once, you abet him for good and all; if you step in between him and me, now, you must step in, Miss Trotwood, for ever. I cannot trifle, or be trifled with. I am here, for the first and last time, to take him away. Is he ready to go? If he is not - and you tell me he is not; on any pretence; it is indifferent to me what - my doors are shut against him henceforth, and yours, I take it for granted, are open to him.'
To this address, my aunt had listened with the closest attention, sitting perfectly upright, with her hands folded on one knee, and looking grimly on the speaker. When he had finished, she turned her eyes so as to command Miss Murdstone, without otherwise disturbing her attitude, and said: