Mr. Mell is the junior teacher at Salem House. Despite being a kind and intelligent man, he is unable to accomplish much as a teacher thanks to the overall atmosphere of brutality at the school. He has a soft spot for David, however, which unfortunately gets him into trouble. After picking David up at the coach station, Mr. Mell had taken him along when he paid a visit to his mother in an almshouse. David later told Steerforth about this episode, who in turn uses it to bully Mr. Mell and eventually get him fired: when Mr. Creakle learns of Mr. Mell's impoverished background, he dismisses him on the ground that he does not want a "beggar" as a teacher at his school. David feels intense guilt over the role he played in Mr. Mell's dismissal and is therefore delighted when he learns—in a letter from Mr. Micawber—that Mell has achieved success as a headmaster at a school in Australia.
Mr. Mell Character Timeline in David Copperfield
The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Mell appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: I Am Sent Away From Home
...for him to simply be abandoned there. Eventually, however, a young man (later identified as Mr. Mell ) with a somewhat rundown appearance comes to collect him, introducing himself as one of... (full context)
...of him. He bites." David assumes that there must be a dog somewhere nearby, but Mr. Mell apologetically explains that David must wear the placard on his back—presumably, Mr. Murdstone has asked... (full context)
...waiting for his classmates to arrive is unhappy. He does well at his studies with Mr. Mell, and strikes up a kind of friendship with him, despite the teacher's eccentricities. He is... (full context)
Chapter 6: I Enlarge My Circle of Acquaintance
...Both are consequently cruel with the students, although Mr. Creakle never dares to beat Steerforth. Mr. Mell and Mr. Sharp, meanwhile, are badly paid, and the former is particularly poor, having grown... (full context)
Chapter 7: My 'First Half' at Salem House
...of Mr. Creakle. David, however, does manage to pick up "some crumbs of knowledge" from Mr. Mell, and is therefore disturbed by the fact that Steerforth consistently treats Mell with disdain. He... (full context)
Chapter 63: A Visitor
...article recounting a public dinner given in Micawber's honor. The article also mentions that a Doctor Mell presided over the dinner and gave a speech praising Micawber, and David delightedly realizes that... (full context)