Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 49

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 49

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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