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Summary Chapter 29

Mr. Pickwick awakes and is told by Sam that the day is so cold that the water in the wash-hand basin has frozen. He is also told that there are two new guests at Manor Farm.

By and by, Mr. Pickwick meets the two new guests. They are medical students, Mr. Benjamin Allen and his friend Mr. Bob Sawyer. Consequently, they aren’t in the least bit squeamish as they eat breakfast all the while speaking of dissecting human body parts when Mr. Pickwick warns them of the approach of the ladies who are returning from an early morning walk, in the company of Messrs. Snodgrass, Winkle, and Tupman.

Mr. Benjamin Allen, as it runs out, is Arabella Allen’s brother. He has come to accompany her home. As Mr. Allen reminds Arabella of Bob Sawyer’s presence, Mr. Winkle, who is fond of Arabella, regards Mr. Sawyer with hostility. However, on account of Mr. Wardle’s and Mr. Pickwick’s good cheer, Mr. Winkle gets on well with both Mr. Allen and Mr. Sawyer.

After breakfast, at Mr. Wardle’s suggestion, the party attends a church service where Mr. Allen falls asleep and where Mr. Sawyer carves out his name on the seat of the pew. The party returns to Manor Farm for lunch. With lunch concluded, again at Mr. Wardle’s suggestion, and at the ladies’ insistence, the men decide to go outside to put on an exhibition of ice skating. When asked if he knows how to ice skate, Mr. Winkle lies and says he does. Still, Mr. Winkle tries to extricate himself from the lie by arguing that he doesn’t have his ice skates with him only to be provided with a pair.

Subsequently, fat boy Joe and Sam Weller clear the ice of snow, allowing Mr. Wardle, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Sawyer to prove themselves to be expert ice skaters as they perform evolutions on the ice, which they term the” reel.” Meanwhile Mr. Winkle does all he can to detain Sam Weller who is helping Mr. Winkle put on his skates. Indeed, Mr. Winkle even bribes Sam so that Sam won’t leave his side but to no avail. Mr. Pickwick summons Sam, and Mr. Winkle finds himself sliding and moving on the ice with no idea how to stop or change directions. Alas, Mr. Winkle crashes into Bob Sawyer. The fiasco prompts Mr. Pickwick to call Mr. Winkle a humbug.

Presently, exhorted by Mr. Wardle who has removed his skates to participate, Mr. Pickwick joins fat boy Joe and Sam Weller in a pastime called “knocking at the cobbler’s door” which basically consists of sliding on the ice minus ice skates. It proves to be so much fun that Bob Sawyer, Mr. Snodgrass, and even Mr. Winkle join in. The fun is at its height when suddenly there is the sound of a loud crack, compelling the ladies to scream and Mr. Tupman to shout. Alas, the ice has given way, and Mr. Pickwick has fallen in.

Luckily for all, the pond where the ice has given way is only five feet deep. Mr. Pickwick surfaces and after much effort, he is pulled out of the water. With Sam by his side, Mr. Pickwick is quickly conveyed inside where he is confined to his bed and fed a limitless supply of hot punch. The measures taken turn out to be just the thing: Mr. Pickwick awakes the next day feeling perfectly fine. Bob Sawyer remarks that there is nothing like hot punch to prevent illness.

The party breaks up on the following day. But before it does, Bob Sawyer invites Mr. Pickwick to visit him, Mr. Allen, and some of their friends at his lodgings in London. Mr. Pickwick agrees to do so. Meanwhile, Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass respectively have a private word with Arabella Allen and Emily Wardle.

As the Pickwickians ride to London, Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle are mournfully silent.

Charles Dickens