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any of you speak to me!' With that she smoothed her dress, and sat,
with her upright carriage, looking at the door.

'Well, Mr. and Mrs. Micawber!' said my aunt, when they entered.
'We have been discussing your emigration, with many apologies to
you for keeping you out of the room so long; and I'll tell you what
arrangements we propose.'

These she explained to the unbounded satisfaction of the family, -
children and all being then present, - and so much to the awakening
of Mr. Micawber's punctual habits in the opening stage of all bill
transactions, that he could not be dissuaded from immediately
rushing out, in the highest spirits, to buy the stamps for his
notes of hand. But, his joy received a sudden check; for within
five minutes, he returned in the custody of a sheriff 's officer,
informing us, in a flood of tears, that all was lost. We, being
quite prepared for this event, which was of course a proceeding of
Uriah Heep's, soon paid the money; and in five minutes more Mr.
Micawber was seated at the table, filling up the stamps with an
expression of perfect joy, which only that congenial employment, or
the making of punch, could impart in full completeness to his
shining face. To see him at work on the stamps, with the relish of
an artist, touching them like pictures, looking at them sideways,
taking weighty notes of dates and amounts in his pocket-book, and
contemplating them when finished, with a high sense of their
precious value, was a sight indeed.

'Now, the best thing you can do, sir, if you'll allow me to advise
you,' said my aunt, after silently observing him, 'is to abjure
that occupation for evermore.'

'Madam,' replied Mr. Micawber, 'it is my intention to register such
a vow on the virgin page of the future. Mrs. Micawber will attest
it. I trust,' said Mr. Micawber, solemnly, 'that my son Wilkins
will ever bear in mind, that he had infinitely better put his fist
in the fire, than use it to handle the serpents that have poisoned
the life-blood of his unhappy parent!' Deeply affected, and changed
in a moment to the image of despair, Mr. Micawber regarded the
serpents with a look of gloomy abhorrence (in which his late
admiration of them was not quite subdued), folded them up and put
them in his pocket.

This closed the proceedings of the evening. We were weary with
sorrow and fatigue, and my aunt and I were to return to London on
the morrow. It was arranged that the Micawbers should follow us,
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