Having lodged at the George and Vulture Tavern in London, Mr. Pickwick commissions Sam to go to Mrs. Bardell and to have his—Mr. Pickwick’s—tenant/landlord affairs put in order (understandably, Mr. Pickwick is moving out) and to find out, if he can, whether Mrs. Bardell really intends to sue Mr. Pickwick for damages based on groundless cause.
Presently, Sam arrives at Mrs. Bardell’s address on Goswell Street and knocks. After some delay, Mrs. Bardell, who is entertaining guests, invites Sam in. Without much ado, Sam states the purpose of his visit: to settle Mr. Pickwick’s obligations as a tenant to Mrs. Bardell and to have his—Mr. Pickwick’s—personal effects ready for removal from the premises. As Mrs. Bardell goes to retrieve a receipt, Mrs. Bardell’s guests Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders lament the awful situation that their friend is in on account of Mr. Pickwick. Sam keeps quiet lest he create a scene in defense of Mr. Pickwick.
When Mrs. Bardell returns with the receipt, she offers Sam a drink. Sam accepts, seeing as how it would afford him the opportunity to sound out Mrs. Bardell with regard the lawsuit. With his usual loquacity, Sam puts the ladies at ease as they partake of wine. Eventually, Mrs. Bardell states her resolve to go through with the lawsuit.
When Sam returns to the George and Vulture, he informs Mr. Pickwick of Mrs. Bardell’s determination to sue him for damages by reason of a breach of promise of marriage. Needless to say, the report casts a pall on Mr. Pickwick’s mood. If the lawsuit is carried out, Mr. Pickwick will have to answer for it in public two or three months after his Christmas stay at Dingley Dell.