illustration of two young men standing in 19th century garb and looking at one another

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

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"Accidents Will Occur In The Best-regulated Families"

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Last Updated on May 17, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 169

Context: After some years, David Copperfield's path again crosses that of Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, an unrealistic and rather pretentious but well-intentioned couple. Copperfield invites them and his old friend Traddles to dinner one day. The Micawbers' cares are soon forgotten in the making and enjoying of rum punch, but the food–fish, mutton, and pigeon pie–turns out badly, for the temperamental Mrs. Crupp, who is doing the cooking, falls ill and withdraws. Micawber is ever one to make the best of a bad situation, and he consoles his host by saying that such events are inevitable in a bachelor household, for only a wife can properly manage a home.

"My dear friend Copperfield," said Mr. Micawber, "accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by that pervading influence which sanctifies while it enhances the–a–I would say, in short, by the influence of Woman, in the lofty character of Wife, they may be expected with confidence, and must be borne with philosophy."

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