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possible and impossible occasions, I still believed that something
important lay hidden at the bottom of this roundabout
communication. I put it down, to think about it; and took it up
again, to read it once more; and was still pursuing it, when
Traddles found me in the height of my perplexity.
'My dear fellow,' said I, 'I never was better pleased to see you.
You come to give me the benefit of your sober judgement at a most
opportune time. I have received a very singular letter, Traddles,
from Mr. Micawber.'
'No?' cried Traddles. 'You don't say so? And I have received one
from Mrs. Micawber!'
With that, Traddles, who was flushed with walking, and whose hair,
under the combined effects of exercise and excitement, stood on end
as if he saw a cheerful ghost, produced his letter and made an
exchange with me. I watched him into the heart of Mr. Micawber's
letter, and returned the elevation of eyebrows with which he said
"'Wielding the thunderbolt, or directing the devouring and avenging
flame!" Bless me, Copperfield!'- and then entered on the perusal of
Mrs. Micawber's epistle.
It ran thus:
'My best regards to Mr. Thomas Traddles, and if he should still
remember one who formerly had the happiness of being well
acquainted with him, may I beg a few moments of his leisure time?
I assure Mr. T. T. that I would not intrude upon his kindness, were
I in any other position than on the confines of distraction.
'Though harrowing to myself to mention, the alienation of Mr.
Micawber (formerly so domesticated) from his wife and family, is
the cause of my addressing my unhappy appeal to Mr. Traddles, and
soliciting his best indulgence. Mr. T. can form no adequate idea
of the change in Mr. Micawber's conduct, of his wildness, of his
violence. It has gradually augmented, until it assumes the
appearance of aberration of intellect. Scarcely a day passes, I
assure Mr. Traddles, on which some paroxysm does not take place.
Mr. T. will not require me to depict my feelings, when I inform him
that I have become accustomed to hear Mr. Micawber assert that he
has sold himself to the D. Mystery and secrecy have long been his
principal characteristic, have long replaced unlimited confidence.
The slightest provocation, even being asked if there is anything he