Chapters 24-26 Summary
The next morning, Peter Magnus asks Pickwick if he has ever proposed marriage to a woman. Pickwick strenuously denies having done so (thinking of Mrs. Bardell’s breach-of-promise lawsuit). He gives Magnus some advice on the act of proposal, which Magnus accepts and puts into practice with success. When he introduces Pickwick to his new fiancée, Miss Witherfield, Pickwick is surprised to find the woman in whose bedchamber he had found himself the night before. Miss Witherfield is equally shocked, which arouses Magnus’s suspicions. He eventually comes to the conclusion that Pickwick made inappropriate advances upon Miss Witherfield. Pickwick and Magnus get into a fierce argument, and they are soon joined by Tupman. Miss Witherfield runs to the Ipswich magistrate and has Pickwick and Tupman arrested on charges of intending to duel. The local constables come to the inn to take Pickwick and Tupman into custody, much to the Pickwickians’ dismay. As the two “duelists” are put into the transporting vehicle, Sam Weller arrives after unsuccessfully capturing Jingle. He sees his employer being arrested and begins to battle the officers, but he is also apprehended.
Nupkins, the magistrate, sets bail for Pickwick and Tupman at fifty pounds each, to be paid by a member of the town. Pickwick protests that they are strangers in Ipswich and so do not know anyone who would be willing to pay the bail. Sam discovers that Jingle is in Ipswich to take advantage of the magistrate’s daughter. He informs Nupkins of this. Nupkins dismisses the charges against Pickwick and Tupman and invites the Pickwickians to his home to confront Jingle and Job Trotter. While Pickwick is confronting Jingle, Sam visits with the servants and confronts Job Trotter. Pickwick tells Jingle that he is content only to expose Jingle’s plans. Jingle and Trotter leave, though Sam resents not being allowed to take care of Trotter. As Sam goes back into the kitchen to retrieve his hat, he encounters the housemaid and manages to kiss her twice.
On his return to London, Pickwick sends Sam to his old lodgings at Mrs. Bardell’s to inform her that he will no longer reside there and to pay the rent. He also wants Sam to arrange to have his belongings removed as well as to find out if Mrs. Bardell is still proceeding with her lawsuit. Sam arrives at Mrs. Bardell’s to find her being comforted by several friends. He gives her Pickwick’s message and the rent. He learns that Mrs. Bardell has every intention of continuing with her case, which should come before the court in February or March. Sam returns to Mr. Pickwick with this news, and the Pickwickians prepare to return to Dingley Dell for Christmas with the Wardles.