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Summary Chapter 51

Upon arriving in London, Mr. Pickwick settles down at the George and Vulture. As for Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer, they are advised, for now, to keep their distance from Mr. and Mrs. Winkle until the newlyweds are mentally prepared to receive them. Thus, Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer take up lodgings at a “sequestered potshop” in a remote corner of the borough.

Presently, as he wants to see Mary before he has to return and attend to his duties owing Mr. Pickwick, Sam Weller surprises his sweetheart at her place of employment. Mary, who is a little out of sorts what with her hair being in a mess, playfully admonishes Sam before handing him a letter which had been in her safekeeping for four days.

The letter is from Sam’s father. It’s written so atrociously that even semi-literate Sam criticizes its style and grammar. As for its contents, the letter alludes to Sam’s mother-in-law’s death. Apparently, she had been caught out in the rain and the cold while trying to attend to the deputy shepherd who was drunk. Subsequently, she had contracted a deadly illness from which she never recovered.

Sam takes leave of Mary and obtains Mr. Pickwick’s permission to visit his father. When Sam arrives at the Marquis of Grinby, there is not a soul present but for his father and a buxom looking lady who is attending the bar. Presently, aroused from his torpor, Mr. Weller senior informs his son that before his mother-in-law died, she had apologized for neglecting her duties owed Mr. Weller and foolishly getting involved in activities which she had no business getting involved in. It’s at this point that the buxom lady tries to console Mr. Weller, to Mr. Weller’s chagrin. Indeed, Mr. Weller does all he can to repel the buxom lady who eventually takes the hint and leaves the premises.

Mr. Weller informs his son that since his mother-in-law had died, a number of widows have tried to get in Mr. Weller’s good graces with the intention of marrying into his—Mr. Weller’s—wealth, the buxom lady being the latest example. Consequently, Mr. Weller plans to sell the Marquis of Grinby and work as a coachman fulltime and thereby avoid the conniving intrigues of widows. As for the proceeds of the sale of Marquis of Grinby, they will go in Mr. Weller’s name until such time when it’ll be necessary for Sam to assume his father’s inheritance. Mr. Weller also informs Sam that his late mother-in-law has bequeathed all of her fortune to Sam. Sam is grateful.

Father and son are thus reflecting on life’s vicissitudes when there is a persistent knocking at the door. Surmising that it’s another scheming widow, Mr. Weller ignores it and persuades Sam to ignore it as well. Presently, to Mr. Weller’s astonishment, Mr. Stiggins walks in and takes a seat. Having made himself at home, Mr. Stiggins asks Sam if Mrs. Weller had bequeathed any money to the church she and Mr. Stiggins had attended. When Sam replies no, Mr. Stiggins asks if Mrs. Weller had left him—Mr. Stiggins—any money. When Sam says no, Mr. Stiggins unwisely gets up and helps himself to a drink only to be mauled by Mr. Weller who proceeds to beat and kick Mr. Stiggins silly. Out in the street, Mr. Weller dunks Mr. Stiggins’ head in a horse’s water trough before beating and kicking him some more.

Eventually, Mr. Weller returns to the Marquis and Grinby where he has a drink.

Charles Dickens