Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Occasionally, I went to London; to lose myself in the swarm of life
there, or to consult with Traddles on some business point. He had
managed for me, in my absence, with the soundest judgement; and my
worldly affairs were prospering. As my notoriety began to bring
upon me an enormous quantity of letters from people of whom I had
no knowledge - chiefly about nothing, and extremely difficult to
answer - I agreed with Traddles to have my name painted up on his
door. There, the devoted postman on that beat delivered bushels of
letters for me; and there, at intervals, I laboured through them,
like a Home Secretary of State without the salary.
Among this correspondence, there dropped in, every now and then, an
obliging proposal from one of the numerous outsiders always lurking
about the Commons, to practise under cover of my name (if I would
take the necessary steps remaining to make a proctor of myself),
and pay me a percentage on the profits. But I declined these
offers; being already aware that there were plenty of such covert
practitioners in existence, and considering the Commons quite bad
enough, without my doing anything to make it worse.
The girls had gone home, when my name burst into bloom on
Traddles's door; and the sharp boy looked, all day, as if he had
never heard of Sophy, shut up in a back room, glancing down from
her work into a sooty little strip of garden with a pump in it.
But there I always found her, the same bright housewife; often
humming her Devonshire ballads when no strange foot was coming up
the stairs, and blunting the sharp boy in his official closet with
I wondered, at first, why I so often found Sophy writing in a
copy-book; and why she always shut it up when I appeared, and
hurried it into the table-drawer. But the secret soon came out.
One day, Traddles (who had just come home through the drizzling
sleet from Court) took a paper out of his desk, and asked me what
I thought of that handwriting?
'Oh, DON'T, Tom!' cried Sophy, who was warming his slippers before
'My dear,' returned Tom, in a delighted state, 'why not? What do
you say to that writing, Copperfield?'
'It's extraordinarily legal and formal,' said I. 'I don't think I
ever saw such a stiff hand.'