'It has no reference to her health, sir,' I replied. 'She has met with some large losses. In fact, she has very little left, indeed.'
'You as-tound me, Copperfield!' cried Mr. Spenlow.
I shook my head. 'Indeed, sir,' said I, 'her affairs are so changed, that I wished to ask you whether it would be possible - at a sacrifice on our part of some portion of the premium, of course,' I put in this, on the spur of the moment, warned by the blank expression of his face - 'to cancel my articles?'
What it cost me to make this proposal, nobody knows. It was like asking, as a favour, to be sentenced to transportation from Dora.
'To cancel your articles, Copperfield? Cancel?'
I explained with tolerable firmness, that I really did not know where my means of subsistence were to come from, unless I could earn them for myself. I had no fear for the future, I said - and I laid great emphasis on that, as if to imply that I should still be decidedly eligible for a son-in-law one of these days but, for the present, I was thrown upon my own resources. 'I am extremely sorry to hear this, Copperfield,' said Mr. Spenlow. 'Extremely sorry. It is not usual to cancel articles for any such reason. It is not a professional course of proceeding. It is not a convenient precedent at all. Far from it. At the same time -'
'You are very good, sir,' I murmured, anticipating a concession.
'Not at all. Don't mention it,' said Mr. Spenlow. 'At the same time, I was going to say, if it had been my lot to have my hands unfettered - if I had not a partner - Mr. Jorkins -'