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Summary Chapter 28

It is three days before Christmas, and the Pickwickians prepare to leave for Dingley Dell. There is a delay, however, on account of a cod-fish which is so large that the basket that it’s contained in cannot be properly stowed onto the coach. By and by, by dint of an accident, the basket is made to fit, and the servant who is responsible for making it happen is congratulated with a tip with which he is suffered to have a drink before he is to convey the coach to Dingley Dell.

With the cod-fish stowed and the servant refreshed, the journey begins. The coach goes at a brisk pace which perfectly suits the bracing winter air. Presently, they arrive at a village where the horses will be changed. When the coach comes to a stop, two of the passengers alight to stretch themselves and a have a bit of refreshment. With fresh horses harnessed, the journey is about to resume bur for the absence of the two of the passengers. Presently, Mr. Tupman and Mr. Pickwick, each having had a glass of ale, come running. They board the coach and journey resumes.

At three in the afternoon, the coach arrives at the Blue Lion. There the Pickwickians meet fat boy Joe who has come with a chaise-cart to convey the Pickwickians’ luggage. Joe tells the Pickwickians that on account of their previous troubles in handling a horse and carriage, Mr. Wardle assumed that the Pickwickians would choose to walk to Manor Farm. Mr. Pickwick confirms Mr. Wardle’s assumption. Thus Sam Weller goes with fat boy Joe on the chaise-cart, while the Pickwickians hoof it.

The bracing winter air proves to be ideal for a brisk walk. Chatting away merrily, the Pickwickians turn into a lane when they are greeted by Mr. Wardle and his company which includes Isabella, Trundle, Emily, and some eight or ten young ladies. (They are in town to shop for furniture for the soon to be married Isabella and Trundle.) There is little standing on ceremony as the two parties make introductions.

Presently, Mr. Wardle leads the party to Manor Farm through a short cut through the fields. When they arrive at Manor Farm, Mr. Pickwick finds Mr. Wardle’s mother in a despondent state. He cheers her up with his good nature. During the after dinner leisure activities, Mr. Snodgrass pays his compliments to Emily Wardle, and Mr. Winkle dotes on Arabella Allen, a young lady with black eyes.

The next morning, Mr. Pickwick awakes to the sound of much ado in the house. He’s afraid that something dreadful has happened when he’s reminded that today is the wedding day of Trundle and Isabella. Thus, having dressed with especial care, Mr. Pickwick repairs to the breakfast room where he finds everyone, including the servants, dressed in his or her finest array. As usual, Mr. Pickwick finds his servant Sam Weller getting on perfectly with everyone.

The wedding ceremony is performed by Mr. Miller, the old clergyman of Dingley Dell. At the post-wedding breakfast, to great applause, Mr. Pickwick makes a speech wishing Mr. Trundle and his new bride Isabella prosperity and happiness. The party breaks up only to meet again at dinner after a twenty mile walk to burn off the calories consumed at breakfast. The dinner is as filling as the breakfast so that it’s only natural to have it followed up with a dancing party. To Mr. Tupman’s amusement, Mr. Pickwick is especially keen to dance. Mr. Pickwick is quite serious, however, and he proves to be an indefatigable dancer as he first dances with Mr. Wardle’s mother then with the old clergyman’s wife.

The next morning, Sam Weller is asking Emma Wardle about the Wardle’s tradition of having Christmas games when fat boy Joe’s presence compels Sam to relate a story the moral of which is intended to warn fat boy Joe of the dangers of becoming irrevocably fat into adulthood. It’s about a fat man who is so fat that he can’t get at his fob watch which is pressed so tightly onto his person that even pickpockets try in vain to steal it. But one day, an ingenious pickpocket manages to do just that, and ever afterwards the fat man’s digestion suffers which adversely affects the quality of his life.

Presently, the Christmas games begin with the tradition of kissing someone when he or she is standing below the mistletoe. This is followed by the game blind-man’s bluff which is then followed by the game snap-dragon. When the games have concluded, the party sits down for supper. There Mr. Wardle sings a song entitled “A Christmas Carol” which is a song that declares the Christmas season the king of all seasons. By and by, someone notes that it is ominously windy and snowy outside, compelling Mr. Wardle’s mother to mention a story that was told by Mr. Wardle’s father on just such a night as this about the goblins that carried away old Gabriel Grub. Mr. Wardle dismisses the story as a fable of sorts, but Mr. Wardle’s mother emphatically insists the story is true. At Mr. Pickwick’s behest, Mr. Wardle’s mother relates the story.

Charles Dickens