We found him hard at work with his inkstand and papers, refreshed by the sight of the flower-pot stand and the little round table in a corner of the small apartment. He received us cordially, and made friends with Mr. Dick in a moment. Mr. Dick professed an absolute certainty of having seen him before, and we both said, 'Very likely.'
The first subject on which I had to consult Traddles was this, - I had heard that many men distinguished in various pursuits had begun life by reporting the debates in Parliament. Traddles having mentioned newspapers to me, as one of his hopes, I had put the two things together, and told Traddles in my letter that I wished to know how I could qualify myself for this pursuit. Traddles now informed me, as the result of his inquiries, that the mere mechanical acquisition necessary, except in rare cases, for thorough excellence in it, that is to say, a perfect and entire command of the mystery of short-hand writing and reading, was about equal in difficulty to the mastery of six languages; and that it might perhaps be attained, by dint of perseverance, in the course of a few years. Traddles reasonably supposed that this would settle the business; but I, only feeling that here indeed were a few tall trees to be hewn down, immediately resolved to work my way on to Dora through this thicket, axe in hand.
'I am very much obliged to you, my dear Traddles!' said I. 'I'll begin tomorrow.'
Traddles looked astonished, as he well might; but he had no notion as yet of my rapturous condition.
'I'll buy a book,' said I, 'with a good scheme of this art in it; I'll work at it at the Commons, where I haven't half enough to do; I'll take down the speeches in our court for practice - Traddles, my dear fellow, I'll master it!'
'Dear me,' said Traddles, opening his eyes, 'I had no idea you were such a determined character, Copperfield!'
I don't know how he should have had, for it was new enough to me. I passed that off, and brought Mr. Dick on the carpet.
'You see,' said Mr. Dick, wistfully, 'if I could exert myself, Mr. Traddles - if I could beat a drum- or blow anything!'