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flit away before us. I turned him hastily on some pretence, and
held him in conversation until it was gone.

He spoke of a traveller's house on the Dover Road, where he knew he
could find a clean, plain lodging for the night. I went with him
over Westminster Bridge, and parted from him on the Surrey shore.
Everything seemed, to my imagination, to be hushed in reverence for
him, as he resumed his solitary journey through the snow.

I returned to the inn yard, and, impressed by my remembrance of the
face, looked awfully around for it. It was not there. The snow
had covered our late footprints; my new track was the only one to
be seen; and even that began to die away (it snowed so fast) as I
looked back over my shoulder.


At last, an answer came from the two old ladies. They presented
their compliments to Mr. Copperfield, and informed him that they
had given his letter their best consideration, 'with a view to the
happiness of both parties' - which I thought rather an alarming
expression, not only because of the use they had made of it in
relation to the family difference before-mentioned, but because I
had (and have all my life) observed that conventional phrases are
a sort of fireworks, easily let off, and liable to take a great
variety of shapes and colours not at all suggested by their
original form. The Misses Spenlow added that they begged to
forbear expressing, 'through the medium of correspondence', an
opinion on the subject of Mr. Copperfield's communication; but that
if Mr. Copperfield would do them the favour to call, upon a certain
day (accompanied, if he thought proper, by a confidential friend),
they would be happy to hold some conversation on the subject.

To this favour, Mr. Copperfield immediately replied, with his
respectful compliments, that he would have the honour of waiting on
the Misses Spenlow, at the time appointed; accompanied, in
accordance with their kind permission, by his friend Mr. Thomas
Traddles of the Inner Temple. Having dispatched which missive, Mr.
Copperfield fell into a condition of strong nervous agitation; and
so remained until the day arrived.
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