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Summary Chapter 20

When Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller arrive at the law offices of Dodson and Fogg, Jackson, a clerk, nonchalantly informs Mr. Pickwick that both Dodson and Fogg are currently indisposed to meet with him. While Mr. Pickwick waits to meet with Dodson and Fogg, Jackson and his fellow law clerks carry on a conversation about how Dodson and Fogg took advantage of man named Ramsey and of how Dodson and Fogg are exceptional at maximizing their profits. Sam Weller notes how the clerks turn their attention to Mr. Pickwick who they regard as a molester of women.

Put in a good mood by the conversation, Jackson sees to Mr. Pickwick’s concern in earnest. Mr. Pickwick is led to Fogg’s office where he is presented with Mrs. Bardell’s writ suing Mr. Pickwick for a substantial sum of money. Mr. Pickwick ignores the writ, however, and addresses Dodson and Fogg, demanding to know on what grounds they intend to carry out the suit. When Dodson replies that he and Fogg are only doing their jobs in representing Mrs. Bardell and refuses to see the matter in any other light than strictly in terms of carrying out their agenda regardless of the truth, Mr. Pickwick has choice words for them, which Dodson and Fogg encourage all the while summoning their clerks to be witness to in case they decide to charge Mr. Pickwick for additional offenses. Luckily for Mr. Pickwick, his valet Sam Weller has the presence of mind to remove him from the grounds lest Mr. Pickwick exacerbate the situation.

For the sake of regaining his composure, Mr. Pickwick has Sam direct him to a pub where they find themselves being scrutinized by a stout man who is undoubtedly a coachman, as most of the patrons of this particular pub are. By and by, Sam recognizes the stout man: He is no other than Sam Weller’s father. Thus Mr. Pickwick makes the acquaintance of his valet’s father whose pet peeve is getting married to a widow. However, Mr. Weller also argues getting married to a widow is the perfect cure for the gout as the gout’s cause is inactivity and as there is nothing like being married to a widow to make a man work.

When Sam mentions being swindled by a man named Job Trotter, Mr. Weller informs Mr. Pickwick and his son where they might find not only Job Trotter but Alfred Jingle. Apparently, Mr. Weller, being a coachman, happened to be their driver as they were headed to Ipswich.

Though it’s late, Mr. Pickwick decides to drop by Mr. Perker’s office to settle Mrs. Bardell’s suit. Alas, Mr. Pickwick is informed by a cleaning lady that Mr. Perker will not return to his offices until a week has expired. She tells him, however, that Mr. Lowten, Mr. Perker’s clerk, may be found at the Magpie and Stump. Thus, Mr. Pickwick and Sam repair to the Magpie and Stump. There Mr. Pickwick meets with Mr. Lowten who assures Mr. Pickwick that he’ll see to Mrs. Bardell’s suit until Mr. Perker’s return. Satisfied, Mr. Pickwick is about to leave when Mr. Lowten invites Mr. Pickwick to join him and his friends who are having a private party of sorts. Mr. Pickwick consents if only to enrich his traveling diary.

Charles Dickens