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I am currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. There is one sentence which has puzzled me.

But the Doctor himself was the idol of the whole school: and it must have been a badly composed school if he had been anything else, for he was the kindest of men; with a simple faith in him that might have touched the stone hearts of the very urns upon the wall. As he walked up and down that part of the courtyard which was at the side of the house, with the stray rooks and jackdaws looking after him with their heads cocked slyly, as if they knew how much more knowing they were in worldly affairs than he, if any sort of vagabond could only get near enough to his creaking shoes to attract his attention to one sentence of a tale of distress, that vagabond was made for the next two days.

In particular what's the meaning of "if any sort of vagabond could only get near enough to his creaking shoes to attract his attention to one sentence of a tale of distress, that vagabond was made for the next two days."? And "that vagabond was made for the next two days"?

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    It is a long sentence. The idea is that this schoolmaster is kind and easily decieved/'taken in'. You see this from the stray rooks and jackdaws "looking slyly after him with their heads cocked slyly". The main idea of the passage that troubles you is that any passing vagabond could easily trick him into giving him food or money by telling him some hard luck story, playing on the doctor's naive generosity.
    – Tuffy
    Feb 15, 2022 at 17:00
  • Agree with Tuffy. "Was made" here is similar to had it made: the vagabond would receive enough charity to take care of himself for 2 days.
    – Hellion
    Feb 15, 2022 at 17:27

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to be made

Merriam Webster

: assured of success a made man —usually used in the phrase have it made

Only here, it is not have it made.

That vagabond was assured of success [in begging for food] for the next two days.

Vagabonds usually have to beg for food every day.

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The usage depends on "made". Here is Merriam Webster:

Merriam Webster

made: assured of success
a made man —usually used in the phrase have it made

We can see how made is used in this old example:

Goshen Street

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made implies that the man's fortune is made, that he need no longer worry about material or financial things for the remainder of his life.

Hence, your quotation is saying that if a vagabond could get the attention of the master with even one sentence of a distressing story, he would be "made for two days" - the master would give him enough to support him for two days.

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