Mr. Ben Allen and Mr. Bob Sawyer are discussing the latter’s prospects of turning a profit and of providing for Arabella with his medical practice when a horse and carriage conveying Ben Allen’s old aunt arrives at Bob Sawyer’s medical shop. The two medical students quickly hide the bottles of liquor that are lying about, and they do all they can to vent and mask the tobacco smoke lingering in the air before welcoming Ben Allen’s aunt. By and by, the aunt pulls Bob Sawyer aside and engages him in a private conference. It takes a while for her to get to the point, but the aunt eventually does, telling Bob Sawyer of Arabella’s elopement and marriage; she wants Bob to break the news to Ben who is liable to lose his head should the aunt break the news.
When Bob tells Ben that his sister has eloped and gotten married, Ben’s reflex compels him to choke Mr. Martin, his aunt’s surly servant. Presently, the two wrestle and fall to the floor when Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller walk in. Believing that Mr. Martin is a guinea pig, that Bob Sawyer experiments the effects of various new drugs on Mr. Martin, Sam idly stands by and watches. But Mr. Pickwick is quick to help Mr. Ben Allen to his feet. Meanwhile, the aunt who has fainted due to her nephew’s violence is brought back to consciousness. Presently, introductions are mad and greetings exchanged.
When Ben was brought to his feet, Ben had attributed his unbecoming state to the news of his sister’s elopement to which Mr. Pickwick had assured Ben that his sister was safe and well. It is this assurance which Mr. Pickwick by and by explains. He tells the assembled audience that Arabella has eloped and married Mr. Winkle, that he—Mr. Pickwick—approves of Mr. Winkle’s actions, and that he—Mr. Pickwick—would personally vouch for Mr. Winkle’s character and integrity.
At first, Bob Sawyer vows to exact revenge on Mr. Winkle, and Ben Allen vows to forever banish his sister from his heart. However, on account of the aunt, who is persuaded by Mr. Pickwick’s convictions, both Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen come around to the aunt’s way of seeing things. Bob Sawyer apologizes for his harsh words and offers a toast to Mr. and Mrs. Winkle, compelling Ben Allen to do likewise.
Presently, Bob and Ben urge Mr. Pickwick to join them for a bout drinking and celebration, but Mr. Pickwick, citing fatigue, declines. The aunt offers Mr. Pickwick tea, but again Mr. Pickwick declines. The truth is Mr. Pickwick is anxious to get away from the aunt who, Mr. Pickwick has noticed, has taken a liking to him. Meanwhile, Sam and Mr. Martin agree to share a drink one day.
When Mr. Pickwick and Sam return to their lodgings, Mr. Pickwick decides to spend some time in the travelers’ room where the landlord and a peculiar looking one-eyed man are conversing and sharing a drink. By and by, Mr. Pickwick makes the acquaintance of the one-eyed man who reminds Mr. Pickwick that they had met once before in Eatanswill. The one-eyed man mentions a mutual acquaintance named Tom Smart. Mr. Pickwick wonders if Tom Smart is the one-eyed man's uncle. The one-eyed man replies that Tom Smart is a friend of his uncle. The landlord interjects that the one-eyed man's uncle is a wonderful man. The one-eyed man agrees and offers to tell a story concerning his uncle. Mr. Pickwick and the landlord encourage the one-eyed to proceed.