have been fierce in a butcher or a brandy merchant.
The voice of the youthful servant became faint, but she
seemed to me, from the action of her lips, again to murmur
that it would be attended to immediate.
" I tell you what," said the milkman, looking hard at her
for the first time, and taking her by the chin, " are you fond
" Yes, I likes it," she replied.
" Good," said the milkman. " Then you won't have none
to-morrow. D'ye hear.^ Not a fragment of milk you won't
I thought she seemed, upon the whole, relieved, by the
prospect of having any to-day. The milkman, after shak-
ing his head at her, darkly, released her chin, and with any-
thing rather than good will opened his can, and deposited
the usual quantity in the family jug. This done, he went
away, muttering, and uttered the cry of his trade next door,
in a vindictive shriek.
" Does Mr. Traddles live here?" I then enquired.
A mysterious voice from the end of the passage replied
*' Yes." Upon which the youthful servant replied " Yes."
" Is he at home?" said I.
Again the mysterious voice replied in the affirmative, and
again the servant echoed it. Upon this, I walked in, and
in pursuance of the servant's directions walked up-stairs;
conscious, as I passed the back parlor-door, that I was sur-
veyed by a mysterious eye, probably belonging to the mys-
When I got to the top of the stairs â€” the house was only a
story high above the ground floor â€” Traddles was on the
landing to meet me. He was delighted to see me^ and gav^
398 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
me welcome with great heartiness, to his little room. It was
in the front of the house, and extremely neat, though spare-
ly furnished. It was his only room, I saw; for there was a
sofa-bedstead in it, and his blacking-brushes and blacking
were among his books â€” on the top shelf, behind a diction-
ary. His table was covered with papers, and he was hard
at work in an old coat. I looked at nothing, that I know
of, but I saw everything, even to the prospect of a church
upon his china ink-stand, as I sat down â€” and this, too, was
a faculty confirmed in me in the old Micawber times. Vari-
ous ingenious arrangements he had made, for the disguise of
his chest of drawers, and the accommodation of his boots^
his shaving-glass, and so forth, particularly impressed them-
selves upon me, as evidences of the same Traddles who
used to make models of elephants' dens in writing paper to
put flies in; and to comfort himself, under ill usage, with
the memorable works of art I have so often mentioned.
In a corner of the room was something neatly covered up
with a large white cloth. I could not make out what that
" Traddles," said I, shaking hands with him again, after I
had sat down. " I am delighted to see you."
"I am delighted to seej^?^, Copperfield," he returned. **I
am very glad indeed to see you. It was because I was
thoroughly glad to see you when we met in Ely Place, and
was sure you were thoroughly glad to see me, that I gave
you this address instead of my address at chambers."
" Oh ! You have chambers .>" said I.
" Why, I have the fourth of a room and a passage, and
the fourth of a clerk," returned Traddles. " Three others
and myself unite to have a set of chambers â€” to look busi-
ness-like â€” and we quarter the clerk too. Half-a-crown a
week he costs me."
His old simple character and good temper, and something
of his old unlucky fortune also, I thought, smiled at me in
the smile with which he made this explanation.
*' It's not because I have the least pride, Copperfield, you
understand," said Traddles, " that I don't usually give my
address here. It's only on account of those who come to
me, who might not like to come here. For myself, I am
fighting my way on in the world against difficulties, and it
would be ridiculous if I made a pretense of doing any thing
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 399
" You aj-e reading for the bar, Mr. Waterbrook informed
me y* said I.
" Why, yes," said Traddles, rubbing his hands slowly over
one another, " I am reading for the bar. The fact is, I
have just begun to keep my terms, after rather a long delay.
It's some time since I was articled, but the payment of that
hundred pounds was a great pull. A great pull !" said
Traddles, with a wince, as if he had had a tooth out.
" Do you know what I can't help thinking of, Traddles,
as I sit here looking at you ?" I asked him.
" No," said he.
" That sky-blue suit you used to wear."
" Lord, to be sure !" cried Traddles, laughing. " Tight
in the arms and legs, you know ? Dear me ! Well ! Those
were happy times, weren't they ?"
" I think our schoolmaster might have made them hap-
pier, without doing any harm to any of us, I acknowledge,"
" Perhaps he might," said Traddles. " But dear me, there
was a good deal of fun going on. Do you remember the
nights in the bed-room ? When we used to have the sup-
pers ? And when you used to tell the stories ? Ha, ha, ha !
And do you remember when I got caned for crying about
Mr. Mell ? Old Creakle ! I should like to see him again,
" He was a brute to you, Traddles," said I, indignantly;
for his good humor made me feel as if I had seen him beaten
" Do you think so ?" returned Traddles. " Really ? Per-
haps he was, rather. But it's all over, a long while. Old
" You were brought up by an uncle, then ?" said I.
** Of course I was !" said Traddles. " The one I was
always going to write fo. And always didn't, eh ! Ha, ha,
ha ! Yes, I had an uncle then. He died soon after I left
" Yes. He was a retired â€” what do you call it ! â€” draperâ€”
cloth-merchant â€” and had made me his heir. But he didn't
like me when I grew up."
" Do you really mean that !" said I. He was so com-
posed, that I fancied he must have some other meaning.
" O dear yes, Copperfield ! I mean it," replied Traddles.
4.00 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
" It was an unfortunate thing, but he didn't like me at all.
He said I wasn't at all what he expected, and so he married
" And what did you do ?" I asked.
" I didn't do anything in particular," said Traddles. " I
lived with them, waiting to be put out in the world, until his
gout unfortunately flew to his stomach â€” and so he died, and
so she married a young man, and so I wasn't provided for."
" Did you get nothing, Traddles, after all? "
*' Oh dear yes !" said Traddles. *' I got fifty pounds. I
had never been brought up to any profession, and at first I
was at a loss what to do for myself. However, I began,
with the assistance of the son of a professional man, who
had been to Salem House â€” Yawler, with his nose on one
side. Do you recollect him ?"
" No. He had not been there with me; all the noses were
straight, in my day."
"It don't matter," said Traddles. "I began, by means
of his assistance, to copy law writings. That didn't answer
very well; and then I began to state cases for them, and
make abstracts, and do that sort of work. For I am a plod-
ding kind of fellow, Copperfield, and had learnt the way of
doing such things pithily. Well ! that put it in my head to
enter myself as a law student; and that ran away with all
that was left of the fifty pounds. Yawler recommended me
to one or two other offices, however â€” Mr. Waterbrook's for
one â€” and I got a good many jobs. I was fortunate enough,
too, to become acquainted with a person in the publishing
way, who was getting up an Encyclopaedia, and he set me
to work; and, indeed " (glancing at his table), " I am at
work for him at this minute. I am not a bad compiler,
Copperfield," said Traddles, preserving the same air of
cheerful confidence in all he said, " but I have no invention
at all; not a particle. I suppose there never was a young
man with less originality than I have."
As Traddles seemed to expect that I should assent to this
as a matter of course, I nodded; and he went on, with the
same sprightly patience â€” I can find no better expression â€”
" So, by little and little, and not living high, I managed to
scrape up the hundred pounds at last," said Traddles;
" and thank Heaven that's paidâ€” though it wasâ€” though it
certainly was/* said Traddles, wincing again as if he had
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 4oi
had another tooth out, " a pull. I am living by the sort of
work I have mentioned, still, and I hope, one of these days,
to get connected with some newspaper: which would almost
be the making of my fortune. Now, Copperfield, you are
so exactly what you used to be, with that agreeable face,
and it's so pleasant to see you, that I shan't conceal any-
thing. Therefore you must know that I am engaged."
Engaged ! Oh, Dora !
" She is a curate's daughter," said Traddles; *' one of ten,
down in Devonshire. Yes !" For he saw me glance, in-
voluntarily, at the prospect on the inkstand. " That's the
church ! You come round here, to the left, out of this gate,"
tracing his finger along the inkstand, " and exactly where I
hold this pen, there stands the house â€” facing, you under-
stand, towards the church."
The delight with which he entered into these particulars
did not fully present itself to me until afterwards; for my
selfish thoughts were making a ground-plan of Mr. Spenlow's
house and garden at the same moment.
" She is such a dear girl !" said Traddles; " a little older
than me, but the dearest girl ! I told you I was going out
of town ! I have been down there. I walked there, and I
walked back, and I had the most delightful time ! I dare
say ours is likely to be a rather long engagement, but our
motto is * Wait and hope !' We always say that. * Wait
and hope,* we always say. And she would wait. Copper-
field, till she was sixty â€” any age you can mention â€” for me!"
Traddles rose from his chair, and, with a triumphant smile,
put his hand upon the white cloth I had observed.
" However," he said, " it's not that we haven't made a
beginning towards housekeeping. No, no; we have begun.
We must get on by degrees, but we have begun. Here,"
drawing the cloth off with great pride and care, " are two
pieces of furniture to commence with. This flower-pot and
stand, she bought herself. You put that in a parlor- window,"
said Traddles, falling a little back from it to survey it with
the greater admiration, " with a plant in it, and â€” there you
are ! This little round table with the marble top (it's two
feet ten in circumference), / bought. You want to lay a
book down, you know, or somebody comes to see you or
your wife, and wants a place to stand a cup of tea upon,
and â€” and there you arc again !" said Traddles. *' It's aa
admirable piece of workmanshipâ€” 'firm ^Â§ a fogk I**
402 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
I praised them both, highly, and Traddles replaced the
covering as carefully as he had removed it.
" It's not a great deal towards the furnishing," said Trad-
dles, " but it's something. The table-cloths and pillow-cases,
and articles of that kind, are what discourage me most,
Copperfield. So does the ironmongery â€” candle-boxes and
gridirons, and that sort of necessaries â€” because those things
tell, and mount up. However, ' wait and hope!' And I
assure you she's the dearest girl !"
" I am quite certain of it," said I.
*' In the mean time," said Traddles, coming back to his
chair; "and this is the end of my prosing about myself, I
get on as well as I can. I don't make much, but I don't
spend much. In general, I board with the people down-
stairs, who are very agreeable people indeed. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Micawber have seen a good deal of life, and are excel-
" My dear Traddles !" I quickly exclaimed. " What are
you talking about ?"
Traddles looked at me, as if he wondered what / was
" Mr. and Mrs. Micawber!" I repeated. ** Why, I am in-
timately acquainted with them!"
An opportune double knock at the door, which I knew
well from old experience in Windsor Terrace, and which
nobody but Mr. Micawber could ever have knocked at that
door, resolved any doubt in my mind as to their being my
old friends. I begged Traddles to ask his landlord to walk
up. Traddles accordingly did so, over the banister; and
Mr. Micawber, not a bit changed â€” his tights, his stick, his
shirt-collar, and his eye-glass, all the same as ever â€” came
into the room with a genteel and youthful air.
" I beg your pardon, Mr. Traddles," said Mr. Micawber,
with the old roll in his voice, as he checked himself in
humming a soft tune. " I was not aware that there
was any individual, alien to this tenement, in your sanc-
Mr. Micawber slightly bowed to me, and pulled up his
" How do you do, Mr. Micawber?" said I.
" Sir," said Mr. Micawber, " you are exceedingly oblig-
ing. I am /Â« s^a^u quo.''
" AÂ»4 Mrs* Micawber ?" I pursued.
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 403
" Sir,*' said Mr. Micawber, " she is also, thank God, in
" And the children, Mr. Micawber ?"
" Sir," said Mr. Micawber, " I rejoice to reply that they
are, likewise, in the enjoyment of salubrity."
AH this time, Mr. Micawber had not known me in the
least, though he had stood face to face with me. But now,
seeing me smile, he examined my features with more atten-
tion, fell back, cried, " Is it possible? Have I the pleasure
of again beholding Copperfield ?" and shook me by both
hands with the utmost fervor.
"Good Heaven, Mr. Traddles!" said Mr. Micawber, "to
think that I should find you acquainted with the friend of
my youth, the companion of earlier days! My dear!" call-
ing over the banisters to Mrs. Micawber, while Traddles
looked (with reason) not a little amazed at this description
of me. " Here is a gentleman in Mr. Traddles's apartment,
whom he wishes to have the pleasure of presenting to you,
Mr. Micawber immediately reappeared, and shook hands
with me again.
" And how is our good friend the Doctor, Copperfield ?"
said Mr. Micawber, " and all the circle at Canterbury?"
" I have none but good accounts of them," said I.
" I am most delighted to hear it," said Mr. Micawber.
" It was at Canterbury where we last met. Within the
shadow, I may figuratively say, of that religious edifice, im-
mortalized by Chaucer, which was anciently the resort of
Pilgrims from the remotest corners ofâ€” in short," said
Mr. Micawber, " in the immediate neighbor-hood of the
I replied that it was. Mr. Micawber continued talking
as volubly as he could; but not, I thought, without show-
ing, by some marks of concern in his countenance, that
he was sensible of sounds in the next room, as of Mrs.
Micawber washing her hands, and hurriedly opening and
shutting drawers that were uneasy in their action.
" You find us, Copperfield," said Mr. Micawber, with one
eye on Traddles, " at present established, on what may be
designated as a small and unassuming scale; but you are
aware that I have, in the course of my career, surmounted
difficulties, and conquered obstacles. You are no stranger
to the fact, that there have been periods of my life, when it
404 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
has been requisite that I should pause, until certain expect-
ed events should turn up; when it has been necessary that
I should fall back, before making what I trust I shall not be
accused of presumption in terming â€” a spring. The present
is one of those momentous stages in the life of man. You
find me, fallen back, for a spring; and I have every reason
to believe that a vigorous leap will shortly be the result."
I was expressing my satisfaction, when Mrs. Micawber
came in; a little more slatternly than she used to be, or so
she seemed now, to my unaccustomed eyeS; but still with
some preparation of herself for company, and with a pair of
brown gloves on.
" My dear,** said Mr. Micawber, leading her towards me.
" Here is a gentleman of the name of Copperfield, who wishes
to renew his acquaintance with you."
It would have been better, as it turned out, to have led
gently up to his announcement, for Mrs. Micawber, being
in a delicate state of health, was overcome by it, and was
taken so unwell, that Mr. Micawber was obliged, in great
trepidation, to run down to the water-butt in the back yard,
and draw a basinful to lave her brow with. She presently
revived, however, and was really pleased to see me. We
had half-an-hour's talk, all together; and I asked her about
the twins, who, she said, were " grown great creatures;" and
after Master and Miss Micawber, whom she described as
" absolute giants," but they were not produced on that occa-
Mr. Micawber was very anxious that I should stay to din-
ner. I should not have been averse to do so, but that I
imagined I detected trouble, and calculation relative to the
extent of the cold meat, in Mrs. Micawber's eye. I there-
fore pleaded another engagement; and observing that Mrs.
Micawber's spirits were immediately lightened, I resisted all
persuasion to forego it.
But I told Traddles, and Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, that
before I could think of leaving, they must appoint a day
when they would come and dine with me. The occupa-
tions to which Traddles stood pledged, rendered it neces-
sary to fix a somewhat distant one; but an appointment was
made for the purpose, that suited us all, and then I took my
Mr. Micawber, under pretence of showing me a nearer
way than that by which I had come, accompanied me to the
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 405
comer of the street; being anxious (he explained to me) to
say a few words to an old friend, in confidence.
" My dear Copperfield," said Mr. Micawber, " I need
hardly tell you that to have beneath our roof, under exist-
ing circumstances, a mind like that which gleams â€” if I may
be allowed the expression â€” which gleams â€” in your friend
Traddles, is an unspeakable comfort. With a washerwoman,
who exposes hard-bake for sale in her parlor-window, dwell-
ing next door, and a Bow-street officer residing over the
way, you may imagine that his society is a source of con-
solation to myself and to Mrs. Micawber. I am at present,
my dear Copperfield, engaged in the sale of corn upon com-
mission. It is not an avocation of a remunerative descrip-
tion â€” in other words it does Â«<?/ pay â€” and some temporary
embarrassments of a pecuniary nature have been the con-
sequence. I am, however, delighted to add that I have
now an immediate prospect of something turning up (I am
not at liberty to say in what direction), which I trust will
enable me to provide, permanently, both for myself and for
your friend Traddles, in whom I have an unaffected inter-
est. You may, perhaps, be prepared to hear that Mrs.
Micawber is in a state of health which renders it not wholly
improbable that an addition may be ultimately made to
those pledges of affection which â€” in short, to the infantine
group. Mrs. Micawber's family have been so good as to ex-
press their dissatisfaction with this state of things. I have
merely to observe, that I am not aware it is any business of
theirs, and that I repel that exhibition of feeling with scorn,
and with defiance!"
Mr. Micawber then shook hands with me again, and left me.
MR. micawber's gauntlet.
Until the day arrived on which I was to entertain my
newly-found old friends, I lived principally on Dora and
coffee. In my love-lorn condition, my appetite languished;
and I was glad of it, for I felt as though it would have been
an act of perfidy towards Dora to have a natural relish for
my dinner. The quantity of walking exercise I took, was
not in this respect attended with its usual consequence, as
the disappointment counteracted the fresh air. I have my
4o6 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
doubts, too, founded on the acute experience acquired at
this period of my Hfe, whether a sound enjoyment of animal
food can develop itself freely in any human subject who is
always in torment from tight boots. I think the extremities
require to be at peace before the stomach will conduct itself
On the occasion of this domestic little party, I did not re-
peat my former extensive preparations. I merely provided
a pair of soles, a small leg of mutton, and a pigeon-pie.
Mrs. Crupp broke out into rebellion on my first bashful hint
in reference to the cooking of the fish and joint, and said,
with a dignified sense of injury, " No! no, sir! You will not
ask me sich a thing, for you are better acquainted with me
than to suppose me capable of doing what I cannot do with
ampial satisfaction to my own feelings!" But, in the end, a
compromise was effected ; and Mrs. Crupp consented to
achieve this feat, on condition that I dined from home for
a fortnight afterwards.
And here I may remark, that what I underwent from Mrs.
Crupp, in consequence of the tyranny she established over
me, was dreadful. I never was so much afraid of any one.
We made a compromise of everything. If I hesitated, she
was taken with that wonderful disorder which was always
lying in ambush in her system, ready, at the shortest notice,
to prey upon her vitals. If I rang the bell impatiently, after
half-a-dozen unavailing modest pulls, and she appeared at
last â€” which was not by any means to be relied upon â€” she
would appear with a reproachful aspect, sink breathless on
a chair near the door, lay her hand upon her nankeen bosom,
and become so ill, that I was glad, at any sacrifice of brandy
or anything else, to get rid of her. If I objected to having
my bed made at five o'clock in the afternoon â€” which I do
still think an uncomfortable arrangement â€” one motion of
her hand towards the same nankeen region of wounded sen-
sibility was enough to make me falter an apology. In short,
I would have done anything in an honorable way rather than
give Mrs. Crupp offense; and she was the terror of my life.
I bought a second-hand dumb-waiter for this dinner party,
in preference to re-engaging the handy young man; against
whom I had conceived a prejudice, in consequence of meet-
ing him in the Strand, one Sunday morning, in a waistcoat
remarkably like one of mine, which had been missing since
DAVID COPPERFIELD 407
the former occasion. The *â€¢" young gal** was re-engaged;
but on the stipulation that she should only bring in the dishes,
and then withdraw to the landing-place, beyond the outer
door; where a habit of sniffing she had contracted would be
lost upon the guests, and where her retiring on the plates
would be a physical impossibility.
Having laid in the materials for a bowl of punch, to be
compounded by Mr. Micawber; having provided a bottle of
lavender-water, two wax candles, a paper of mixed pins, and
a pincushion, to assist Mrs. Micawber in her toilette, at my
dressing-table; having also caused the fire in my bed-room
to be lighted for Mrs. Micawber's convenience; and having
laid the cloth with my own hands, I awaited the result with
At the appointed time, my three visitors arrived together.
Mr. Micawber with more shirt-collar than usual, and a
new ribbon to his eye-glass; Mrs. Micawber with her cap in
a whity-brown paper parcel; Traddles carrying the parcel,
and supporting Mrs. Micawber on his arm. They were all
delighted with my residence. When I conducted Mrs.
Micawber to my dressing-table, and she saw the scale on
which it was prepared for her, she was in such raptures,
that she called Mr. Micawber to come in and look.
" My dear Copperfield," said Mr. Micawber, " this is
luxurious. This is a way of life which reminds me of the
period when I was myself in a state of celibacy, and Mrs.
Micawber had not yet been solicited to plight her ifaith at the
" He means solicited by him, Mr. Copperfield," said Mrs.
Micawber archly. " He cannot answer for others."
" My dear," returned Mr. Micawber with sudden serious-
ness. " I have no desire to answer for others. I am too
well aware that when, in the inscrutable decrees of Fate,
you were reserved for me, it is possible you may have been
reserved for one, destined, after a protracted struggle, at
length to fall a victim to pecuniary involvements of a com-
plicated nature. I understand your allusion, love. I regret
it, but I can bear it.".
" Micawber !" exclaimed Mrs. Micawber, in tears. " Have
I deserved this ! I, who never have deserted you; who
never will desert you, Micawber!"
" My love," said Mr. Micawber, much affected, " you will
forgive, and our old and tried friend Copperfield will, I am
sure, forgive, the momentary laceration of a wounded spirit.
4o8 DAVID COPPERFIELD.
made sensitive by a recent collision with the Minion of