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Summary Chapter 19

It is one of the most beautiful mornings imaginable in the English countryside when Mr. Wardle and the Pickwickians minus Mr. Snodgrass arrive at a game reserve where thy meet Martin, the gamekeeper who will lead the party on a shooting expedition. Alas, on account of being lame due to this rheumatism, Mr. Pickwick must return to his lodgings when one of Martin’s assistants proposes conveying Mr. Pickwick on a wheelbarrow. Though the gamekeeper is against this, he allows it on account of Mr. Pickwick’s strong desire to tag along.

As it turns out, Mr. Pickwick’s desire to tag along isn’t so much actuated by the loveliness of the scenery as it is to prevent Mr. Winkle’s ineptitude with firearms from creating havoc. Consequently, during the various stages of the expedition, Mr. Pickwick takes Mr. Winkle to task with regard the manner in which Mr. Winkle handles his firearm. Even so, Mr. Winkle’s handling of his firearm is so inept that the rest of the shooting party keeps a wary eye on him.

Though equally deficient in his knowledge of how to handle a firearm, Mr. Tupman proves to be much more circumspect and able in handling his. Indeed, Mr. Tupman manages to shoot down a partridge of his own even though he had pulled the trigger with his eyes closed.

Presently, the party stops for a meal in which everyone does justice to his appetite. During the meal, Sam Weller is censured by Mr. Pickwick for telling a gruesome story about a cook who resorted to butchering cats for his meat-pies. Otherwise, Mr. Pickwick proves to be the merriest of the bunch as he indulges in multiple cups of cold punch. Indeed, Mr. Pickwick drinks so much that he falls asleep on the wheelbarrow in a drunken stupor.

As the second phase of the shooting expedition commences, the party decides to let Mr. Pickwick sleep it off under the shade of an oak tree and then to pick him up on their way back. Alas, a half-hour passes when Captain Boldwig and his two gardeners come across Mr. Pickwick. Captain Boldwig, who is a fierce-tempered man and who is the landowner of the land upon which the shooting party had trespassed, decides to have the sleeping Mr. Pickwick incarcerated.

Thus, when the shooting party returns to the shade of the oak tree, they are puzzled by Mr. Pickwick’s disappearance. They can’t imagine how a lame man could have walked away, let alone push a wheelbarrow before him.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pickwick wakes up to find himself incarcerated and the object of derision by the local townsfolk when a passing vehicle stops and Mr. Wardle comes to Mr. Pickwick’s aid. Thus, Mr. Pickwick is whisked away in the vehicle.

When apprised of what had happened, Mr. Pickwick avows to file a lawsuit against Captain Boldwig. However, Mr. Wardle dissuades Mr. Pickwick from filing, arguing that Captain Boldwig could counter sue and embarrass Mr. Pickwick for being publicly intoxicated.

Charles Dickens