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Summary Chapter 16

Despite going to Angel at Bury to settle a serious matter, Mr. Pickwick can’t help but to admire the wonderful August scenery which includes women and children piling fruits into sieves and women and children gathering scattered ears of corn. Mr. Pickwick’s servant Sam Weller agrees and avers that being out on the road beats being cooped up inside all day, which leads to a conversation about “two penny rope” accommodations (the poorest of poor accommodations) of which Sam is an expert.

When they arrive at Angel at Bury, Sam persuades Mr. Pickwick to allow him—Sam—to do all the intelligence gathering with regard to Mr. Alfred Jingle/Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall. Sam also persuades Mr. Pickwick to postpone the undertaking until tomorrow, i.e. until they had had a goodnight’s sleep.

The next day, Sam makes the acquaintance of Job Trotter who has a big head and wears a mulberry-colored suit. As Sam had correctly surmised, Trotter turns out to be Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall’s man servant. At length, Trotter discloses a personal quandary: His master is on the verge of taking a monetary advantage of a young lady of a boarding house, but he—Trotter—doesn’t have the wherewithal to prevent the dastardly deed. Subsequently, Sam introduces Totter to Mr. Pickwick.

Trotter apprises Mr. Pickwick of his personal quandary and then, convinced by Mr. Pickwick that he has a moral obligation to act, proposes a plan that would spoil his master’s evil design. Mr. Pickwick has his doubts about the plan, but he decides to go along with it in the interest of bringing Mr. Alfred Jingle to justice.

Thus, in the undercover of the night, Mr. Pickwick and Sam repair to the Westgate House Establishment for Young Ladies. There, with Sam’s help, Mr. Pickwick scales the establishment’s wall. Then, outside the establishment’s kitchen, Mr. Pickwick waits to ensnare Mr. Alfred Jingle in the act of eloping with the young lady of the boarding house.

Alas, when the time comes to spring the trap, it becomes apparent that Mr. Pickwick’s doubts about the plan were warranted. Expecting Trotter to answer, Mr. Pickwick knocks on the door of the kitchen only to hide when one of the ladies of the establishment answers. It begins to rain which turns into a downpour, soaking Mr. Pickwick. Unable to scale the wall on his own and abandon the plan, Mr. Pickwick knocks on the door again, but again, instead of Trotter one of the ladies of the establishment answers. Mr. Pickwick hides but to no avail. He has been spotted.

To assure the ladies of the Westgate boarding house that he means no harm and that he has a legitimate reason for being where he is at this late hour, Mr. Pickwick submits to being locked up in the establishment’s kitchen closet. Meanwhile, at Mr. Pickwick’s behest, two of the establishment’s servants go to fetch Sam Weller. By and by, Sam Weller arrives but he is not alone. He is with Mr. Wardle and Mr. Trundle. Apparently, Mr. Trundle has been officially engaged to be married to Isabella Wardle, and Mr. Wardle has joined Mr. Trundle at Westgate (for some rook shooting) where Mr. Trundle has a house and property.

Presently, Mr. Pickwick is told that everything has been cleared up. Miss Tomkins, the lady of the Westgate House Establishment for Young Ladies, has been apprised that a certain Mr. Jingle has fooled Mr. Pickwick into believing that Mr. Jingle was going to elope with one of the young ladies of Westgate boarding house, and that Mr. Pickwick was where he was when he was to prevent the crime.

Charles Dickens