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Summary Chapter 4

With the day’s new dawning, the Pickwickians learn that the town of Rochester will be treated to a military exercise. Forthwith the Pickwickians take their places amongst the townspeople to witness the pageantry. Alas, as they wait for the exercises to begin, the Pickwickians find it hard to hold their ground and maintain their dignity on account of the surging crowd which press against them and subject them to all sorts of indignities. Indeed, to their consternation, as the military exercise begins, the Pickwickians find themselves sandwiched between an advancing army and a stationary army whose job it is to protect an imaginary fortification.

In the ensuing moments, Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass manage to avoid getting sandwiched between the two armies. Meanwhile Mr. Pickwick runs after his hat which the wind, having dislodged it from his head, now sends it scuttling along the ground. The chase proves to be so arduous that Mr. Pickwick gives up on the prospect of ever recovering it when the hat blows up against the wheel of a barouche. Taking advantage of the fortuitous circumstance, Mr. Pickwick recovers his hat when, lo and behold, he looks up to find Mr. Tupman, who had been mysteriously absent since the morning, in the barouche in the company of a stout gentleman & co.

Presently, Mr. Tupman and the stout gentleman urge Mr. Pickwick to join them in the barouche. The welcome is extended to Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass, who have come chasing after Mr. Pickwick. With everyone safely aboard the barouche, the stout gentleman identifies himself as a friend who had once spent time in the Pickwick Club, which explains his having recognized and befriended Mr. Tupman earlier in the day. As for the others on the barouche, they are Mr. Wardle’s daughters Emily and Isabella, Emily and Isabella’s spinster aunt Miss Rachael Wardle, and Mr. Trundle who is Isabella's beau. There is also fat boy, named Joe, who is presumably a servant in the Wardle’s service and who has an extraordinary propensity to sleep under all and every circumstances.

By and by, with the military exercises having come to an interlude, the fat boy is awoken and an open air repast begun. As they eat and drink, Miss Rachel Wardle engages Mr. Tupman, telling him all about the respective flaws of her nieces: Isabella’s one fault is her habit of stooping while Emily’s is her propensity to be loud and bold, the aunt says. Emily and Isabella respond with a rebuff which would have caused the aunt to retaliate but for Mr. Wardle’s interjection directed at the fat boy Joe who has fallen asleep, never mind that he was in the act of eating a huge piece of pie. Nonetheless, as Joe wakes up to resume his duties and finish what he had started to eat, Mr. Wardle informs Mr. Pickwick that he wouldn’t have Joe replaced with another servant for the world.

Presently, Mr. Wardle reiterates his invitation: Mr. Pickwick and the Pickwickians are to come by Mr. Wardle’s manor before they leave Rochester.

Charles Dickens