“My dear,” he returned, “so be it!”

“If not for their sakes; for mine, Micawber,” said his wife.

“Emma,” he returned, “that view of the question is, at such a moment, irresistible. I cannot, even now, distinctly pledge myself to fall upon your family’s neck; but the member of your family, who is now in attendance, shall have no genial warmth frozen by me.”

Mr. Micawber withdrew, and was absent some little time; in the course of which Mrs. Micawber was not wholly free from an apprehension that words might have arisen between him and the Member. At length the same boy re-appeared, and presented me with a note written in pencil, and headed, in a legal manner, “Heep v. Micawber.” From this document I learned that Mr. Micawber, being again arrested, was in a final paroxysm of despair; and that he begged me to send him his knife and pint pot, by bearer, as they might prove serviceable during the brief remainder of his existence, in jail. He also requested, as a last act of friendship, that I would see his family to the Parish Workhouse, and forget that such a Being ever lived.

Of course I answered this note by going down with the boy to pay the money, where I found Mr. Micawber sitting in a corner, looking darkly at the sheriff’s officer who had effected the capture. On his release, he embraced me with the utmost fervour, and made an entry of the transaction in his pocket-book—being very particular, I recollect, about a halfpenny I inadvertently omitted from my statement of the total.

This momentous pocket-book was a timely reminder to him of another transaction. On our return to the room up-stairs (where he accounted for his absence by saying that it had been occasioned by circumstances over which he had no control), he took out of it a large sheet of paper, folded small, and quite covered with long sums, carefully worked. From the glimpse I had of them, I should say that I never saw such sums out of a school ciphering-book. These, it seemed, were calculations of compound interest on what he called “the principal amount of forty-one, ten, eleven and a half,” for various periods. After a careful consideration of these, and an elaborate estimate of his resources, he had come to the conclusion to select that sum which represented the amount with compound interest to two years, fifteen calendar months, and fourteen days, from that date. For this he had drawn a note-of-hand with great neatness, which he handed over to Traddles on the spot, a discharge of his debt in full (as between man and man), with many acknowledgments.

“I have still a presentiment,” said Mrs. Micawber, pensively shaking her head, “that my family will appear on board, before we finally depart.”

Mr. Micawber evidently had his presentiment on the subject too, but he put it in his tin pot and swallowed it.

“If you have any opportunity of sending letters home, on your passage, Mrs. Micawber,” said my aunt, “you must let us hear from you, you know.”

“My dear Miss Trotwood,” she replied, “I shall only be too happy to think that any one expects to hear from us. I shall not fail to correspond. Mr. Copperfield, I trust, as an old and familiar friend, will not object to receive occasional intelligence, himself, from one who knew him when the twins were yet unconscious?”

I said that I should hope to hear, whenever she had an opportunity of writing.

“Please Heaven, there will be many such opportunities,” said Mr. Micawber. “The ocean, in these times, is a perfect fleet of ships; and we can hardly fail to encounter many, in running over. It is merely crossing,” said Mr. Micawber, trifling with his eye-glass, “merely crossing. The distance is quite imaginary.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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