In an out of the way inn, in London, called the White Hart, Mr. Samuel Weller is cleaning a pair of boots numbered eleven when a chambermaid asks him to put those boots down to see to the cleaning of boots which are numbered twenty-two. However, arguing that the boots numbered eleven have priority, Sam continues cleaning the boots numbered eleven when the landlady orders Sam to clean the boots and shoes numbered seventeen.
Realizing that the boots and shoes numbered seventeen belong to a well-paying gentleman and lady, Sam sees to the cleaning of the boots and shoes numbered seventeen and delivers them instantly to their owners who happen to be Mr. Jingle and Miss Rachael Wardle. When Mr. Jingle asks about the location of Doctors’ Commons, not only does Sam provide its location but he relates an anecdote which informs Mr. Jingle that a marriage license can be easily obtained therefrom. Subsequently, assuring the spinster aunt that he will be back shortly with their marriage license, Mr. Jingle leaves for the Doctors’ Commons.
Sam is cleaning some implements belonging to a farmer when he is interrupted by a thin, little man who is accompanied by two plump gentlemen. The little man wants to know the identities of the lodgers who are currently staying at the White Hart. When one of the plump gentlemen promises to compensate handsomely for the information, Sam obliges and describes the inn’s current lodgers in the only way he knows how: by the peculiarities of their respective clothing. Thus when he describes one lodger, who is with a lady, by a pair of muddy Wellingtons, the two plump gentlemen, who are no other than Mr. Wardle and Mr. Pickwick, confer with the thin man, who happens to be Mr. Wardle’s attorney, that the man owning the Wellingtons is the man that they seek.
Presently, Sam leads Mr. Wardle, Mr. Pickwick, and Mr. Wardle’s attorney, who is named Mr. Perker, to the room where they might find the owner of the Wellingtons. Sam is then dismissed, and the three men enter the room. There, as they anticipated, they find Mr. Jingle and Miss Rachael Wardle. Berating Mr. Jingle, Mr. Wardle orders a coach to be got ready with which to convey Miss Rachael back to Manor Farm. Mr. Jingle, however, argues that Miss Rachael can do what she wants, and Miss Rachael avers that she will stay with Mr. Jingle. To Mr. Wardle’s chagrin, Mr. Perker counsels him that the law is on Mr. Jingle and Miss Rachael’s side. Nonetheless, Mr. Perker assures Mr. Wardle that there is way to settle the matter, and to that end he procures a private meeting with Mr. Jingle.
Alone with Mr. Jingle, Mr. Perker has Mr. Jingle admit that he is solely motivated by Miss Rachel’s private fortune in wooing her. Subsequently, Mr. Perker and Mr. Jingle haggle over a sum of money that Mr. Jingle would be satisfied with in return for abandoning his intention of marrying Miss Rachael. The figure, as it turns out is a little too high to Perker’s liking, but Mr. Wardle approves the figure. Consequently, Mr. Jingle takes the money and leaves, and Mr. Wardle and Mr. Pickwick escort the despondent Miss Rachael back to Manor Farm.