Refreshed after a good night’s sleep at Dingley Dell, Mr. Pickwick greets his fellow Pickwickians whom he has not seen for two whole days on account of the Mr. Jingle/Miss Rachael affair. However, to Mr. Pickwick’s consternation, Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle inform Mr. Pickwick that on account of the Mr. Jingle/Miss Rachael affair, Mr. Tupman has decided to drop out of Mr. Pickwick’s endeavor to revitalize the art of traveling. A sealed letter from Mr. Tupman confirms Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle’s claim. Mr. Pickwick is undaunted, however, and he decides to go find Mr. Tupman at the location indicated in the sealed letter. Ergo the Pickwickians bid their Dingley Dell hosts a fond farewell and make their way to the Leather Bottle, Cobham, Kent.
At Leather Bottle, Cobham, Kent, the Pickwickians find Mr. Tupman who seems none the less worse for the trauma he claims to have endured at the hands of Mr. Jingle and Miss Rachael. Indeed, a private conference with Mr. Pickwick persuades Mr. Tupman to rejoin the Pickwickians in their endeavor to revitalize the art of traveling.
Thus, with gladdened hearts, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman are on their way to join Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle, when Mr. Pickwick makes a momentous discovery on the road by a cottage. What he finds is a stone with an inscription which Mr. Pickwick believes has an invaluable archaeological value. He is so sure of this that he buys it for ten shillings from the laboring man who is the resident of the cottage and who is presumably the stone’s de facto owner. Subsequently, the Pickwickians decide to head for London where Mr. Pickwick will speak of the stone before the Pickwick Club and where the stone will be submitted to experts for analysis.
However, on the eve of their departure to London, Mr. Pickwick is beset by insomnia. He is at a loss of what to do when he is reminded of the manuscript that was entrusted him by the Dingley Dell clergyman. Hoping it will help him fall asleep, Mr. Pickwick reads the manuscript.
The manuscript is an incomplete memoir of a madman.
Believing and knowing that a streak of madness runs in his family and that he has inherited it, the madman manages to keep his madness a secret from the world at large. And by dint of keeping his madness a secret, the madman amasses a wealth which the world at large covets, to the madman’s delight. His wealth is especially coveted by a poor family which consists of an old white-haired man, his three sons, and his daughter. Indeed, the family is so covetous of the madman’s wealth that they force the only girl in the family to marry the madman even though the girl is in love with another and even though the girl loathes the madman and his wealth.
One night, the madman tries to kill his wife. He fails to kill her, but his madness infects her. Shortly thereafter, in fact on the very next day after the doctors have diagnosed her of having become mad, the madman’s wife dies. Subsequently, a brother-in-law visits the madman, and insinuates that the madman was responsible for his sister’s death, never mind that this brother-in-law has become a soldier of some standing on the strength of the madman’s wealth. Enraged, the madman tries to choke his brother-in-law to death only to be prevented from doing so by the house servants who were alerted to the scene by all the noise that ensued. Caught in the act of trying to kill a man, the madman flees and thinks he has evaded capture only to wake up one day and find himself chained to a bed of straw.
The manuscript ends here.
The manuscript does the job, and Mr. Pickwick falls soundly asleep. The next day the Pickwickians repair to London. There Mr. Pickwick successfully orates on the archaeological significance of the stone with the inscriptions despite Mr. Blotton’s best attempts to discredit Mr. Pickwick.