"I saw her, a most beautiful little creature, with the cloudless blue eyes, that had looked into my childish heart"
Little Em'ly
Public DomainLittle Em'ly

It has been suggested that Emily was inspired by Charles Dickens’ childhood sweetheart, Lucy Stroughill.

In  The Childhood and Youth of Charles Dickens (1883) by Robert Langton, the author suggests that Lucy’s older brother George possessed qualities which were similar to those of Steerforth.