In a well-known passage of David Copperfield, David recalls with nostalgia the books that he read as a child. Books of fantasy and adventure, the colorful stories of 1001 Arabian Nights, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and the novels of the eighteenth-century authors Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding entertained and comforted the young boy. His creator, too, had such a library, and Dickens wrote that the books "kept alive [his] fancy" in a childhood that was fraught with hardship and disappointment. This paper examines two eighteenth-century novels, Roderick Random and Tom Jones, in an effort to discover what were some of the things that Dickens felt were missing in his life that her perceived were represented in these works. In David Copperfield, which is in some measure autobiographical, the "old unhappy loss or want of something" is a recurrent theme. By exploring David's reading, as well as what Dickens imitated from the old books, and what he omitted from his novel, I hope to shed some light on what Dickens meant by that "old unhappy loss" and to suggest what some of the things were that Dickens felt were missing in his life.