“Well?” said my aunt. “And she sails—”

“Madam,” he replied, “I am informed that we must positively be on board before seven to-morrow morning.”

“Heyday!” said my aunt, “that’s soon. Is it a sea-going fact, Mr. Peggotty?”

“ ’Tis so, Ma’am. She’ll drop down the river with that theer tide. If Mas’r Davy and my sister comes aboard at Gravesen’, arternoon o’ next day, they’ll see the last on us.”

“And that we shall do,” said I, “be sure!”

“Until then, and until we are at sea,” observed Mr. Micawber, with a glance of intelligence at me, “Mr. Peggotty and myself will constantly keep a double look-out together, on our goods and chattels. Emma, my love,” said Mr. Micawber, clearing his throat in his magnificent way, “my friend Mr. Thomas Traddles is so obliging as to solicit, in my ear, that he should have the privilege of ordering the ingredients necessary to the composition of a moderate portion of that Beverage which is peculiarly associated, in our minds, with the Roast Beef of Old England. I allude to—in short, Punch. Under ordinary circumstances, I should scruple to entreat the indulgence of Miss Trotwood and Miss Wickfield, but—”

“I can only say for myself,” said my aunt, “that I will drink all happiness and success to you, Mr. Micawber, with the utmost pleasure.”

“And I too!” said Agnes, with a smile.

Mr. Micawber immediately descended to the bar, where he appeared to be quite at home; and in due time returned with a steaming jug. I could not but observe that he had been peeling the lemons with his own clasp-knife, which, as became the knife of a practical settler, was about a foot long; and which he wiped, not wholly without ostentation, on the sleeve of his coat. Mrs. Micawber and the two elder members of the family I now found to be provided with similar formidable instruments, while every child had its own wooden spoon attached to its body by a strong line. In a similar anticipation of life afloat, and in the Bush, Mr. Micawber, instead of helping Mrs. Micawber and his eldest son and daughter to punch, in wine-glasses, which he might easily have done, for there was a shelf-full in the room, served it out to them in a series of villainous little tin pots; and I never saw him enjoy anything so much as drinking out of his own particular pint pot, and putting it in his pocket at the close of the evening.

“The luxuries of the old country,” said Mr. Micawber, with an intense satisfaction in their renouncement, “we abandon. The denizens of the forest cannot, of course, expect to participate in the refinements of the land of the Free.”

Here a boy came in to say that Mr. Micawber was wanted downstairs.

“I have a presentiment,” said Mrs. Micawber, setting down her tin pot, “that it is a member of my family!”

“If so, my dear,” observed Mr. Micawber, with his usual suddenness of warmth on that subject, “as the member of your family—whoever he, she, or it may be—has kept us waiting for a considerable period, perhaps the Member may now wait my convenience.”

“Micawber,” said his wife, in a low tone, “at such a time as this—”

“ ‘It is not meet,’ ” said Mr. Micawber, rising, “ ‘that every nice offence should bear its comment!’ Emma, I stand reproved.”

“The loss, Micawber,” observed his wife, “has been my family’s, not yours. If my family are at length sensible of the deprivation to which their own conduct has, in the past, exposed them, and now desire to extend the hand of fellowship, let it not be repulsed.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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