'Oh, you are in low spirits, Mr. Micawber,' said Traddles.
'I am, sir,' interposed Mr. Micawber.
'I hope,' said Traddles, 'it is not because you have conceived a dislike to the law - for I am a lawyer myself, you know.'
Mr. Micawber answered not a word.
'How is our friend Heep, Mr. Micawber?' said I, after a silence.
'My dear Copperfield,' returned Mr. Micawber, bursting into a state of much excitement, and turning pale, 'if you ask after my employer as your friend, I am sorry for it; if you ask after him as MY friend, I sardonically smile at it. In whatever capacity you ask after my employer, I beg, without offence to you, to limit my reply to this - that whatever his state of health may be, his appearance is foxy: not to say diabolical. You will allow me, as a private individual, to decline pursuing a subject which has lashed me to the utmost verge of desperation in my professional capacity.'
I expressed my regret for having innocently touched upon a theme that roused him so much. 'May I ask,' said I, 'without any hazard of repeating the mistake, how my old friends Mr. and Miss Wickfield are?'
'Miss Wickfield,' said Mr. Micawber, now turning red, 'is, as she always is, a pattern, and a bright example. My dear Copperfield, she is the only starry spot in a miserable existence. My respect for that young lady, my admiration of her character, my devotion to her for her love and truth, and goodness! - Take me,' said Mr. Micawber, 'down a turning, for, upon my soul, in my present state of mind I am not equal to this!'