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!'
We wheeled him off into a narrow street, where he took out his pocket handkerchief, and stood with his back to a wall. If I looked as gravely at him as Traddles did, he must have found our company by no means inspiriting.
'It is my fate,' said Mr. Micawber, unfeignedly sobbing, but doing even that, with a shadow of the old expression of doing something
genteel; 'it is my fate, gentlemen, that the finer feelings of our nature have become reproaches to me. My homage to Miss Wickfield, is a flight of arrows in my bosom. You had better leave me, if you please, to walk the earth as a vagabond. The worm will settle my business in double-quick time.'
Without attending to this invocation, we stood by, until he put up his pocket handkerchief, pulled up his shirt-collar, and, to delude any person in the neighbourhood who might have been observing him, hummed a tune with his hat very much on one side. I then mentioned - not knowing what might be lost if we lost sight of him yet - that it would give me great pleasure to introduce him to my aunt, if he would ride out to Highgate, where a bed was at his service.
'You shall make us a glass of your own punch, Mr. Micawber,' said I, 'and forget whatever you have on your mind, in pleasanter reminiscences.'
'Or, if confiding anything to friends will be more likely to relieve you, you shall impart it to us, Mr. Micawber,' said Traddles, prudently.