Three days have passed since the end of the Eatanswill election. Mr. Pickwick, who feels that he has neglected Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Tupman, decides to visit them at the Peakock when his valet Mr. Weller informs him of a visitor.
Subsequently, Mr. Pickwick greets the visitor whose name is Mr. Leo Hunter. He has come on behalf of his wife Mrs. Leo Hunter who is throwing a masked ball to which the Pickwickians and the Potts are cordially invited. He will not take ‘no’ for an answer. However, when Mr. Pickwick objects to putting on a costume, an exception is made for Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick agrees to attend the masked ball.
When Mr. Pickwick arrives at the Peacock, he finds that Mr. Winkle has already communicated the news about the masked ball to their associates. To Mr. Pickwick’s indignation, Mr. Tupman states that he will go dressed as a bandit, i.e. as Mr. Alfred Jingle. Mr. Tupman reasserts his position, creating a standoff of sorts between he and Mr. Pickwick to the point that they are about to come to blows. Mr. Snodgrass intercedes. Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman come to their senses and reconcile: Mr. Tupman will go dressed as a bandit.
At the masked ball, the Pickwickians are greeted with acclaim. Even greater acclaim is accorded the Potts. (Mr. Pott is dressed as a Russian officer of justice.) By and by, the Pickwickians are introduced to Mrs. Leo Hunter who is dressed as Minerva. Mrs. Leo Hunter is especially pleased to make Mr. Pickwick’s acquaintance. She introduces him to Count Smorltork, a famous foreigner who is gathering material for a learned study about England. Indeed, as Count Smorltork is introduced to the rest of the Pickwickians, he takes copious notes.
The masked ball proceeds apace. To the party goers’ approbation, Mrs. Leo Hunter recites her poem “Ode to an expiring Frog.” Mr. Pickwick is introduced to a Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall who is, according to Mrs. Leo Hunter, a gentleman of fortune. Figuratively, with their mouths agape, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman drop their respective forks and knives. Mr. Fitz-Marshall introduces himself to Mr. Pickwick only to excuse himself to see about his postilion. Mr. Pickwick asks Mrs. Leo Hunter about Mr. Fitz-Marshall’s current residence. Having acquired the information, despite Mrs. Leo Hunter’s objection, Mr. Pickwick excuses himself as well. Presently, Mr. Pickwick summons Mr. Weller, and together they set-off for Angel at Bury, the current residence of Mr. Fitz-Marshall, who is no other than Mr. Alfred Jingle.