that awful mute appeal to me

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Deseret13

Senior Member
Slovenian
‘Oh, Agnes! Look, look, here!’ —That face, so full of pity, and of grief, that rain of tears, that awful mute appeal to me, that solemn hand upraised towards Heaven!
‘Agnes?’
It is over. Darkness comes before my eyes; and, for a time, all things are blotted out of my remembrance.
(Source: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens)

In the above-cited passage Agnes lets David know, that his wife just died. How should the word "appeal" be understood here?
 
  • Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The first one in the dictionary:

    an earnest plea;
    request (for help);
    entreaty;
    plea:

    rather than the fourth:

    the power or ability to attract or stimulate the mind or emotions:
     

    Deseret13

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    I was thinking, could the appeal mean something similar to "the act of turning to somebody, addressing oneself to somebody"? That would make sense in the given context.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Further context (source: victorianlondon.org). This is what 'Oh, Agnes! Look, look, here!' refers to:

    How the time wears, I know not; until I am recalled by my child-wife's old companion. More restless than he was, he crawls out of his house, and looks at me, and wanders to the door, and whines to go upstairs.
    'Not tonight, Jip! Not tonight!'
    He comes very slowly back to me, licks my hand, and lifts his dim eyes to my face.
    'Oh, Jip! It may be, never again!'
    He lies down at my feet, stretches himself out as if to sleep, and with a plaintive cry, is dead.



    I agree with LB. 'She's dead, don't ask me to say it out loud' sounds like a plausible interpretation.
     
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