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Summary Chapter 24


When Mr. Pickwick joins Mr. Peter Magnus for breakfast, the latter is dressed in his finest array and is in a state of nervous agitation as he is on the verge of proposing to his lady. Consequently, Mr. Pickwick does all he can to calm Mr. Magnus’ nerves to the extent of advising him on how to go about the affair. Presently, as Mr. Magnus goes to propose with Mr. Pickwick’s advice in mind, Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Tupman, and Mr. Winkle, who have just arrived at Ipswich, join Mr. Pickwick.

It isn’t long before Mr. Magnus returns to inform Mr. Pickwick of the good news: Miss Witherfield has agreed to marry him. Then, exchanging greetings with the rest of the Pickwickians, Mr. Magnus invites Mr. Pickwick to meet Miss Witherfield. They repair to another room when things take an unexpected turn. Both Mr. Pickwick and Miss Witherfield recoil from one another. Though Mr. Magnus demands an explanation, both Mr. Pickwick and Miss Witherfield refuse to say a word. (Miss Witherfield is the lady with the yellow curl-papers whom Mr. Pickwick had inadvertently confronted the previous night.) Consequently, Mr. Magnus assumes that Miss Witherfield is the woman who had betrayed Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick summons Mr. Tupman to dispel Mr. Magnus’ assumption to no avail. Mr. Magnus rails against Mr. Pickwick as does Mr. Pickwick against Mr. Magnus. Mr. Tupman drags Mr. Pickwick from the scene lest the latter do something he might regret later.

Meanwhile, Miss Witherfield, worried that Mr. Pickwick is going to challenge her husband-to-be to a duel of honor, applies to the principal magistrate of Ipswich Mr. George Nupkins: She makes a formal request for the arrests of Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman. Determined to prevent a duel, Mr. Nupkins commissions a Mr. Grummer to arrest Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman.

Thus the Pickwickians are peacefully at dinner at the Great White Horse when a stranger intrudes and informs Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman that they are under arrest. The Pickwickians object, compelling Grummer to summon his associates whose number exceeds the Pickwickians by a fair margin. Seeing that Mr. Grummer has an official warrant and that it would be fruitless to resist, Mr. Pickwick consents to be escorted to the magistrate, provided that he and Mr. Tupman aren’t paraded through the streets in full sight of the locals. There is much debate about this when Grummer arrives at an expedient: He will convey Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman on a sedan which will preserve the Pickwickians’ anonymity.

Regardless, the locals of Ipswich flock to the scene and create an uproar. Presently, Sam Weller, who has failed to make heads vis-à-vis Job Trotter, arrives at the scene and joins in the cheering if only to dispel his despondency. He spots Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle. When they inform Sam of what’s happening, Sam confronts Mr. Grummer. Mr. Grummer beats Sam, but Sam fights back. Alas, Sam is overpowered by Mr. Grummer’s associates and is taken into custody along with Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman.

Charles Dickens