Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 27

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 27

Tommy Traddles

  • David decides to catch up with his old school friend, Traddles.
  • He finds Traddles's lodging house in a shabby little side street. The house actually reminds him a lot of the days he spent boarding with the Micawbers.
  • Indeed, just as David arrives, he sees a milkman asking the servant girl at the house if anyone is going to pay his bill: this really reminds him of his days with the Micawbers.
  • David approaches the door and asks the servant girl if someone named Traddles lives there.
  • He does! And Traddles welcomes David to his room.
  • David notices that both Traddles's good nature and his bad luck seem not to have changed: Traddles is having serious money troubles.
  • The two of them remind each other of the old days back with Mr. Creakle at Salem House.
  • Traddles seems (weirdly) to have forgotten how brutal Mr. Creakle was to him, or at least, to have let it go.
  • The uncle who raised Traddles died soon after Traddles left Salem House.
  • Unfortunately, the uncle didn't like Traddles much, so he didn't leave Traddles any money in his will.
  • So, Traddles was left alone without much money or any professional training.
  • Luckily, a friend of his from school (named Yawler, who came to the school after David left) helped Traddles become a law clerk.
  • Traddles has been tying to climb into the law business through working hard and making lots of connections (including with Mr. Waterbrook).
  • David's old friend has managed to make enough money to take the bar exams, which is what he's studying for now.
  • Traddles is really happy with his situation, because he's gotten engaged to a lovely clergyman's daughter.
  • Even though it'll be a long time before Traddles will be able to scrape together enough money to get married, he's still happy as a clam waiting to marry the girl he loves.
  • Traddles tells David that Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, his landlords, are great company.
  • David is absolutely astonished at the news that he is going to reunite with the Micawbers yet again.
  • Just then, there is a distinctive knock at the door: it's Mr. Micawber!
  • David asks how Mr. Micawber is, and how his wife and children are doing.
  • Mr. Micawber answers that they are fine, all the while not recognizing David.
  • Finally, when he sees David smile, Mr. Micawber startles and exclaims that it is Copperfield!
  • Mr. Micawber calls down to Mrs. Micawber that they have a visitor she should see.
  • Mr. Micawber asks after all the people he knew in Canterbury, where they last met.
  • All the while, David can hear the sounds of Mrs. Micawber in the room next door, opening and shutting drawers: she's getting ready to receive guests.
  • Finally, Mrs. Micawber comes in, looking a little sloppier than she used to but still making an effort for company.
  • Mrs. Micawber faints at the sight of David.
  • After reviving her with water from the well in the backyard, the Micawbers, David, and Traddles all chat for half an hour.
  • Mr. Micawber asks David to stay for dinner, but David can see that Mrs. Micawber is worried about how much food they have on hand, so he refuses.
  • David invites Traddles and the Micawbers to come and eat with him at his house.
  • As David is leaving, Mr. Micawber pulls him aside.
  • He explains that it is delightful to have someone as smart and pleasant around the house as Traddles, because otherwise, the neighborhood is disappointing.
  • Mr. Micawber is currently involved in the corn trade, which (as usual) is not making him much money.
  • David's old landlord is hoping that something will turn up soon because Mrs. Micawber is, in fact, pregnant (or, as Mr. Micawber puts it, "an addition may be ultimately made [...] in short, to the infantine group" (27.88).

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