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his original form by individual errors, and the accumulative force
of a combination of circumstances?'

'We have perfect confidence in you, Mr. Micawber,' said I, 'and
will do what you please.'

'Mr. Copperfield,' returned Mr. Micawber, 'your confidence is not,
at the existing juncture, ill-bestowed. I would beg to be allowed
a start of five minutes by the clock; and then to receive the
present company, inquiring for Miss Wickfield, at the office of
Wickfield and Heep, whose Stipendiary I am.'

My aunt and I looked at Traddles, who nodded his approval.

'I have no more,' observed Mr. Micawber, 'to say at present.'

With which, to my infinite surprise, he included us all in a
comprehensive bow, and disappeared; his manner being extremely
distant, and his face extremely pale.

Traddles only smiled, and shook his head (with his hair standing
upright on the top of it), when I looked to him for an explanation;
so I took out my watch, and, as a last resource, counted off the
five minutes. My aunt, with her own watch in her hand, did the
like. When the time was expired, Traddles gave her his arm; and we
all went out together to the old house, without saying one word on
the way.

We found Mr. Micawber at his desk, in the turret office on the
ground floor, either writing, or pretending to write, hard. The
large office-ruler was stuck into his waistcoat, and was not so
well concealed but that a foot or more of that instrument protruded
from his bosom, like a new kind of shirt-frill.

As it appeared to me that I was expected to speak, I said aloud:

'How do you do, Mr. Micawber?'

'Mr. Copperfield,' said Mr. Micawber, gravely, 'I hope I see you

'Is Miss Wickfield at home?' said I.

'Mr. Wickfield is unwell in bed, sir, of a rheumatic fever,' he
returned; 'but Miss Wickfield, I have no doubt, will be happy to
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