78 pages 2 hours read

Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1850

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Chapters 49-57Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 49 Summary: “I am Involved in Mystery”

David receives a strange, evasively worded letter from Mr. Micawber, and Traddles receives an equally strange letter from Mrs. Micawber. In the letters, the Micawbers insinuate that they’re in dire need of help, yet they insist that their correspondence be kept secret. After puzzling over the letters, David and Traddles plan to meet with them, sending a jointly written message to Mrs. Micawber.

 

When David and Traddles encounter Mr. Micawber, they notice that he seems more nervous and less composed than he usually does. Mr. Micawber darkly reflects on his troubled existence, musing, “There are some landmarks […] on the road to the tomb, which, but for the impiety of the aspiration, a man would wish never to have passed. Such is the Bench in my chequered career” (1,648).

 

Because Dora is still fatally ill, the men move their meeting to Miss Betsey’s. A very concerned Mr. Dick welcomes them. Touched by Mr. Dick’s kindness, Mr. Micawber opens up about his misfortune. With a burst of emotion, he reveals that Uriah Heep has been cheating him. He vows revenge, rambling so furiously that David worries he will die on the spot.

 

Soon after, David receives yet another secret letter urging him and Miss Betsey to meet the Micawbers at an inn next week.

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