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Summary Chapter 23

Mr. Weller senior is enjoying a meal before having to prepare his coach for a lengthy journey when his son joins him and partakes of his meal. They speak of various things. Mr. Weller senior cannot believe that his son could have allowed himself to be hoodwinked by Job trotter and urges him to make amends for their family name’s sake. The son mentions the father’s wisdom or the lack thereof of having tied the knot with a widow. Consequently, before leaving, the father offers this advice: When old and Sam Weller has a notion to marry a widow, he would best confine himself to a room and poison himself (anything but hanging himself which is not as dignified).

Having parted with his father and feeling somewhat melancholy, Sam Weller goes for a walk when he notices someone familiar, in the distant, walking out of a servant’s quarter. As the figure approaches, it does all it can to distort its facial features (so as not to be recognized). Sam Weller is having none of it, however, as he confronts the figure and identifies it as Mr. Job Trotter. To Sam’s disgust, Mr. Trotter hugs him while copiously weeping. Then Mr. Trotter offers the following alibi as to why Mr. Pickwick had failed to catch Mr. Alfred Jingle in the act of committing his swindle: Mr. Jingle, having got wind of the trap laid out for him, had bribed the ladies of the boarding house to be mum about the affair and had dragged Trotter to Ipswich where he was once again in the act of swindling someone. Trotter, however, has determined to part with his master and his evil ways once and for all, for he intends to start a business with a servant-girl with whom he has fallen in love.

All the while Mr. Totter is explaining himself, Sam has a mind to deck him. But he restrains himself. Presently, Sam tells Trotter to meet him at the Great White Horse tonight. Failure to do so will jeopardize Trotter’s plan to start a new life with the servant-girl, Sam assures Trotter.

While helping Mr. Pickwick dress, Sam Weller informs his master that the object of their goal—to bring Alfred Jingle to justice—is within sight.

Charles Dickens