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Summary Chapter 56

For six days, Mr. Pickwick makes a habit of being away from his residence for the better part of the day, worrying his friends who wonder what Mr. Pickwick is up to. Is Mr. Pickwick secretly consorting with a lady with whom he plans to get married? Or is Mr. Pickwick making plans for another extensive tour of England? Mr. Wardle demands an answer.

Subsequently, Mr. Pickwick explains the meaning of his absence. He has bought a charming house in Dulwich where he plans to retire. On account of internal, political in-fighting, he has dissolved the Pickwick Club. And last but not least, with Mr. Wardle’s blessings, Mr. Pickwick would like to hold the wedding ceremony of Mr. Snodgrass and Emily Wardle at his house.

Mr. Pickwick’s speech is met with great approval, and the wedding preparations begin immediately. Mr. Wardle fetches his mother. Despite being sick, Mrs. Trundle attends. Two poor-relations of the Wardles attend as bridesmaids. The marriage goes off without a hitch. It is a wonderful day for everyone concerned.

Beyond the pages of the book, the author informs the reader that Mr. and Mrs. Winkle have set up house a half-mile from Mr. Pickwick’s house; Mr. Winkle works for his father. Meanwhile, Mr. Snodgrass and Emily Wardle have settled down in a little farm in Dingley Dell. Furthermore, Mr. Tupman happily resides in Richmond; he remains a bachelor. Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer work as doctors for the East India Company in Bengal. Mrs. Bardell continues to profitably let her apartment to single gentlemen. (She doesn’t sue anyone anymore for breach of promise of marriage however.) Dodson and Fogg continue to make money. Mr. Weller, senior retires from his coachman’s occupation after being afflicted with gout. However, as Mr. Pickwick has wisely invested Mr. Weller’s money, Mr. Weller now lives comfortably in retirement. Sam Weller continues to serve Mr. Pickwick. When Pickwick’s house servant, who was hand-picked by Mr. Perker, dies, Mr. Pickwick employs Mary under the condition she marries Sam. She marries Sam, and they have children. And last but not least, Mr. Pickwick leads a life of leisure in Dulwich. He is loved and respected by all.

Charles Dickens