Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 48


The one-eyed Bagman proceeds to tell his story of his uncle. Mr. Pickwick and the landlord of the Bush listen.

According to the one-eyed Bagman, his uncle was a jolly fellow who could drink most fellows under the table and not lose his poise and composure. A good friend of Tom Smart, the uncle collected debts for Tiggin and Welps, which often compelled him to go Edinburgh and Glasgow before returning to London.

One autumn, the uncle goes to Edinburgh where he intends to stay for a week visiting friends. And he does just that, spending his last night having supper at an old friend’s. Needless to say, the supper is a great success (all his friend’s ladies dote on the uncle), and when it concludes, the uncle proceeds, by foot, to Leith Walk, which was a mile from his friend’s house in Canongate.

While he walks, the uncle sings various songs the loudness of which awakes the locals who proceed to fall asleep again when the singing fades. When the uncle arrives at Leith Walk, he comes across an enclosure which is full of old worn out mail coaches. A coach aficionado, the uncle climbs a tree to get a better look. He sees that mail coaches are all in a decrepit state, but he can’t help thinking that at one time they were the conveyors of bulks of mail and passengers of all sorts. Thus musing, the uncle dozes only to be awakened by a church bell striking two.

What the uncle then beholds is nothing short of a miracle: All the mail coaches are as good as new, and the enclosure, which was previously deserted and desolate, is bustling with activity, as bulks of mail are being stowed and passengers are boarding coaches. Presently, someone taps the uncle on his shoulder and reminds him that he is expected to board his coach. When the mail guard repeats the statement, the uncle approaches the coach that he is to board only to be told to wait. There are passengers who will board before him.

The passengers, who are to board before the uncle, consist of a beautiful dark eyed lady and two extravagantly dressed gentlemen carrying swords. Alas, from what the uncle gathers, the lady is in distress. Determined to help the lady, the uncle boards the coach only to be assaulted by one of the gentlemen. Skillfully, the uncle disarms the aggressor of his weapon, and makes it clear that he will share the coach with them at all costs. The gentlemen concede for now.

As the coach rolls to its destination, the uncle tries in vain to converse with the gentlemen. Neither does he succeed in attracting the lady’s attention. The uncle, thus, settles for observing the attractive features of the lady when the coach suddenly stops and the mail guard informs the uncle that he is to alight here. When the uncle refuses to alight, the two gentlemen alight, as does the lady. However, as the lady alights, she whispers “help.”

Subsequently, the uncle alights and joins the two gentlemen and the lady who enter a large house which is in a state of great disrepair. (The roof of the house is caved in among other things.) They all repair to a private room where one of the gentlemen raises his sword and threatens the uncle to leave or else. At the behest of the other gentleman, the gentleman with the raised sword assaults the uncle only to be repelled by the resourceful uncle who secures a rusty rapier lying by the chimney place. By and by, the uncle engages both gentlemen, acquitting himself well of his fencing skills though he never has had a fencing lesson in his life.

At the height of the conflict, the lady suddenly gets up, reveals her face which is the most beautiful face the uncle has ever beheld, disarms one of the gentlemen of his sword, secures the sword, and drives it through him, pinning him to the wall. Subsequently, the uncle manages to pin the gentleman that he is engaged with.

Presently, the lady informs the uncle that the gentleman she has killed is the Marquess of Filletville who had intended to marry her against her will and who has many friends who will not let his death go unavenged. Regardless, the uncle avows to be by the lady’s side no matter what. Indeed, he vows that he will love her always, and that he will never to give his heart to another woman.

Suddenly, there is the sound of approaching horses and carriages. It is without a doubt the friends of Marquess of Filletville coming for vengeance. The lady boards the mail coach and the uncle drives. He drives fast, then faster, and even faster, but the sound of the approaching horses and carriages grow louder. The lady exhorts the uncle to drive faster. Suddenly, the uncle awakes. He is cold and wet. He had fallen asleep on the tree, and it had all been a dream. Still, the dream is so strange, so fresh, and so powerful, that the uncle, having given his heart to the beautiful lady with the dark eyes of his dreams, remains a bachelor for life.

Charles Dickens