10_02

"You are out early, Miss Spenlow," I said.

"Yes," she replied. "Miss Murdstone is so stupid! She says that I must not come out in the early morning, but I think that it's the most pleasant part of the day."

She had with her a little dog which she called Jip. She carried him in her arms, and sometimes kissed him, which made me very jealous. We walked on together through the garden.

"You are not a great friend of Miss Murdstone's, are you?" asked Dora.

"No," I replied. "Not at all so."

"I can't think why father had to bring her here," Dora said. "She's always following us about, isn't she, Jip? We don't like her at all, do we, Jip?"

I was not surprised to hear this, but I heard little more, for Miss Murdstone herself appeared an instant later. She had been looking for us, she said. She took Dora's arm, and marched us in to breakfast as if it were a soldier's funeral.

The rest of my stay passed like a dream. When I said goodbye to Dora, I had decided that I wanted to marry her, and that I could never be happy without her.

Once back in London, I walked miles and miles each day in the hope of seeing her. I walked about the streets where the best shops for ladies were, I walked through the Park, and I walked about the streets again. Sometimes, but not very often, I was rewarded by a sight of her. Perhaps I saw her hand waved from the window of a coach; perhaps I met her, walked with her and Miss Murdstone a little way, and spoke a few words to her. I was always hoping to receive another invitation to Mr. Spenlow's house; and I was always being disappointed, for I got none.

Then, one day, it came into my head to pay a call upon my old friend Traddles. The street where he lived was in a poor part of the city, and the house itself looked so old and shabby that it made me think of the Micawbers. I climbed the stairs and found Traddles waiting at the door of his room. The place was extremely neat, though there was very little furniture in it. His table was covered with papers, and he told me that he was now very poor, but was determined to rise in the world, whatever the difficulties. His work was copying law-writings. He wanted to save money so that he could marry a young lady to whom he was engaged.

"She's a very dear girl." he said fondly, "and she will wait for me until we have enough money to marry. Meanwhile, I board with the people downstairs, who are very kind to me indeed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Micawber have seen a good deal of life, and are excellent company."

"My dear Traddles!" I cried, astonished. "What are you talking about?"

Traddles looked at me as if he wondered what I was talking about.

"Mr. and Mrs. Micawber!" I repeated. "Why, they are my friends too!"

At this very moment there was a knock at the door. It opened, and in walked Mr. Micawber, looking just as he had looked eight years before.

"How do you do, Mr. Micawber?" said I.

"Sir," replied Mr. Micawber, "it is most kind of you to ask. I am in the best of health."

"And Mrs. Micawber-and the children?" I said.

"Sir," said Mr. Micawber, "I rejoice to reply that they are all in the best of health."

I could see that he did not know me, though we were standing face to face. But now, seeing me smile, he examined my face with more attention, fell back, cried, "Is it possible? Have I the pleasure of again seeing David Copperfield?" and shook me by both hands at once.

"One moment," he said then, and rushed to call down the stairs to his wife that there was a gentleman in Mr. Traddles' room who was most eager to meet her. I heard her climbing the stairs, and then Mr. Micawber led her towards me.

"My dear," he said, "here is someone of the name of Copperfield, who wishes to shake your hand."

Mrs. Micawber confessed herself delighted to see me. 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", though she did not produce them for me to inspect.

I soon learned from Mr. Micawber that he had returned from Plymouth after finding himself in "difficulties" there. He now had high hopes of beginning work soon, and had decided to study law and to find himself a position in a lawyer's office.

I was so pleased to meet my old friends again that I invited them all to a dinner-party in my rooms, and we cooked the food over the fire, and passed a very merry evening.



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