Mr. Micawber chalkware toby jug produced by Friar Ware of Devon, England, circa 1960. Wilkins Micawber, the incurable optimist, is one of Charles Dickens' best-loved characters. He appears in the novel "David Copperfield", first published in 1849, and such was his popularity that the term "Micawberism", meaning ever expectant of something turning up, has derived from him. The novel is partly autobiographical, and it has often been proposed that Dickens used his father as the model for Mr. Micawber, who takes the young David in as a lodger at his London house. Micawber's fortunes change nearly as often as his moods, which can swing from confidence to despair and back again within half an hour. Even when he is arrested for chronic insolvency, he remains ever hopeful of making his fortune. A great orator and letter writer, Micawber later exposed the villainy of Uriah Heep and emigrates with his numerous children and long-suffering wife to Australia where, relived of his debts, he becomes a magistrate and newspaper correspondent.