From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

He was full of eloquence. He gave us to understand that in our children we lived again, and that, under the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, any accession to their number was doubly welcome. He said that Mrs. Micawber had latterly had her doubts on this point, but that he had dispelled them, and reassured her. As to her family, they were wholly unworthy of her, and their sentiments were utterly indifferent to him, and they might—I quote his own expression—go to the Devil.

Does "in our children we lived again" mean we are survived by our children when we are gone or we see in them ourselves? And lastly, does "accession to their number was doubly welcome", refer to asking money from their own children or Mrs Micawber's family?

1 Answer 1


I interpret "in our children we lived again" to mean that parents live vicariously through observing the lives of their children. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/vicariously

"accession to their number was doubly welcome" means that he was pleased to increase the number of children that he had. "Accession to" used in the sense of ”act or acceptance of coming into a position" of having more children. "Mrs. Micawber had latterly had her doubts on this point" relates to the preceding point about having more children.

  • Yes, Mrs. Micawber did not want more kids. Not about money. latterly is an old form of lately.
    – Lambie
    Mar 8, 2022 at 17:09
  • And her family had disapproved of her marriage to him. Mar 8, 2022 at 19:35
  • I think "accession" is used in a slightly humorous way, as if someone accedes to the state of being a child in the way a monarch accedes to the throne or someone in business is promoted to a higher position. Similar to joking about auditioning children and engaging one for the position of youngest child.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 19, 2022 at 13:39

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