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proposal of mine?'

'My dear madam,' returned Mr. Micawber, 'perhaps I cannot better
express the conclusion at which Mrs. Micawber, your humble servant,
and I may add our children, have jointly and severally arrived,
than by borrowing the language of an illustrious poet, to reply
that our Boat is on the shore, and our Bark is on the sea.'

'That's right,' said my aunt. 'I augur all sort of good from your
sensible decision.'

'Madam, you do us a great deal of honour,' he rejoined. He then
referred to a memorandum. 'With respect to the pecuniary
assistance enabling us to launch our frail canoe on the ocean of
enterprise, I have reconsidered that important business-point; and
would beg to propose my notes of hand - drawn, it is needless to
stipulate, on stamps of the amounts respectively required by the
various Acts of Parliament applying to such securities - at
eighteen, twenty-four, and thirty months. The proposition I
originally submitted, was twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four; but I
am apprehensive that such an arrangement might not allow sufficient
time for the requisite amount of - Something - to turn up. We
might not,' said Mr. Micawber, looking round the room as if it
represented several hundred acres of highly cultivated land, 'on
the first responsibility becoming due, have been successful in our
harvest, or we might not have got our harvest in. Labour, I
believe, is sometimes difficult to obtain in that portion of our
colonial possessions where it will be our lot to combat with the
teeming soil.'

'Arrange it in any way you please, sir,' said my aunt.

'Madam,' he replied, 'Mrs. Micawber and myself are deeply sensible
of the very considerate kindness of our friends and patrons. What
I wish is, to be perfectly business-like, and perfectly punctual.
Turning over, as we are about to turn over, an entirely new leaf;
and falling back, as we are now in the act of falling back, for a
Spring of no common magnitude; it is important to my sense of
self-respect, besides being an example to my son, that these
arrangements should be concluded as between man and man.'

I don't know that Mr. Micawber attached any meaning to this last
phrase; I don't know that anybody ever does, or did; but he
appeared to relish it uncommonly, and repeated, with an impressive
cough, 'as between man and man'.
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