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by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 49 Summary
I Am Involved In a Mystery David receives a letter at his law office that shocks him. The letter is from Mr. Micawber. Mr. Micawber writes that he has hit a run of bad luck, and that (even though he knows that David is busy and important these days) he wants to confide in his old friend. Mr. Micawber has decided that he must take a brief vacation from Canterbury because life has become awful. He hopes that both David and Mr. Traddles will meet him when he comes to London for two days. Mr. Micawber stresses that Mrs. Micawber is unaware of his plan to come to the city. David is sure that there is something important going on in the letter, though Mr. Micawber doesn't come out and say it. Traddles finds David because he has just received a letter from Mrs. Micawber. In it, Mrs. Micawber says that she is still unhappy about Mr. Micawber's secretiveness with his family. Apparently, Mr. Micawber is just growing more and more unhappy: he has said that he has sold his soul to the devil. Mrs. Micawber has figured out that Mr. Micawber is planning a secret trip to London. She asks Traddles and David to meet with Mr. Micawber and reason with him. Traddles thinks these letters are significant, but he can't think what's behind them. David writes a letter to Mrs. Micawber on behalf of both him and Traddles assuring her of their plan to meet Mr. Micawber. Traddles and David go to meet Mr. Micawber. Mr. Micawber is looking less genteel and dapper than before. He seems low-spirited. He starts talking very formally to Traddles and David, and David asks him to relax. Mr. Micawber is moved by David's affection. Micawber recalls those long-ago days when he was an inmate in debtors prison. At least then, he could look his fellow men in the face! David finally asks Mr. Micawber point-blank how Uriah Heep is. Mr. Micawber says that he's a devilish horrible person. David then asks how Mr. Wickfield and Agnes are. Mr. Micawber says that Agnes is a lovely girl of superior character. Thinking of her is painful to Mr. Micawber. David invites Mr. Micawber to come out to Highgate and meet Miss Betsey. There, Mr. Micawber can tell Traddles and David all about his troubles. They all set off to Miss Betsey's house because Dora is ill. Mr. Dick shakes Mr. Micawber's hand in a very friendly manner, which cheers up Mr. Micawber a tiny bit. Miss Betsey addresses Mr. Micawber directly: she asks after Mrs. Micawber and his family. They are all well for now, but Mr. Micawber is worried because he's about to lose his job. Mr. Micawber keeps talking around the problem, saying that all is ruined and that everything is the matter. And it all comes back to one Uriah Heep. Mr. Micawber has decided that he can no longer live this life; he wants to return to his family. Uriah Heep, Mr. Micawber shouts, is a complete scoundrel. Micawber works himself into such a state over Uriah Heep that he rushes out the door. Still, in the midst of all his passion, he finds the time to write a letter: Mr. Micawber apologizes to Miss Betsey for his excitement that night. He asks for another meeting in a week's time at a restaurant in Canterbury.
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