Chapters 30-32 Summary

Two medical students arrive at Manor Farm the day after Christmas: Benjamin Allen (Arabella Allen’s brother) and Bob Sawyer. Ben has come to escort Arabella home, which saddens Mr. Winkle very much. Before dinner, the two students discuss dissections they are currently working on, much to the disgust of Mr. Pickwick, who warns them to stop before the ladies arrive.

Mr. Wardle invites everyone to go ice skating. Bob Sawyer asks Mr. Winkle if he knows how to skate. Winkle replies that he does, though he is out of practice and has no skates. The house is stocked with more than enough skates to go around, so Mr. Wardle leads the way to a frozen pond. Mr. Winkle is completely unable to remain upright on the skates, even with Sam Weller helping him. He eventually falls with a crash. Mr. Pickwick orders someone to take off Winkle’s skates and march him off the ice. Pickwick confronts Winkle as a “humbug” (imposter). Pickwick demonstrates his own skating skills until he falls through the ice. Soaking wet and in danger of freezing, he is ordered to run as fast as he can back to the house. Once he has reached his own room, he covers himself with blankets while Sam makes up a large fire and plies him with punch. The next day the party breaks up, as Arabella and her brother, along with Bob Sawyer, leave Dingley Dell. Bob Sawyer invites Pickwick to visit him at his lodgings in London, which are near Pickwick’s own.

Mr. Jackson, a clerk from the firm of Dodson and Fogg, appears at the George and Vulture, where Pickwick is now living and where he is entertaining his fellow Pickwickians. Jackson presents subpoenas to Winkle, Tupman, and Snodgrass, announcing that the trial is set for February 14th; Sam sees the irony that such a case is tried on Valentine’s Day. Pickwick hurries off with Sam to see Mr. Perker, who tells Pickwick that he has hired Serjeant Snubbin to help with his case. Pickwick goes with Perker to see Serjeant Snubbin, who does not seem optimistic. Perker tells him that Mr. Phunky will be assisting him. The party then goes to visit Mr. Phunky.

Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen are preparing for their party with Mr. Pickwick and company when Bob’s landlady appears, demanding rent. Bob makes excuses and promises, but the landlady leaves unsatisfied. The Pickwickians, along with the other guests, appear and the party commences. After a great deal of drinking, the landlady appears and demands that all the guests leave, which they shamefacedly do.