Short summary - The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Containing a Faithful Record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members
A meeting of the Pickwick Club was held on May 12, 1827, dedicated to a report by Samuel Pickwick, Esq., Entitled: "Reflections on the origins of Hamstead Ponds, with the addition of some observations on the stickleback theory." A new department was established under it called the Pickwick Club Correspondence Society, consisting of: Samuel Pickwick, Tresie Tapman, Augustus Snodgrass and Nathaniel Winkle. The purpose of creating society is to push the boundaries of Mr. Pickwick's travels, thereby expanding the scope of his observations, which will inevitably lead to the progress of science; members of the company are obliged to submit reliable reports about their research, observations of people and customs to the Pickwick Club, paying their own travel expenses and postage.
Mr. Pickwick worked tirelessly all his life, increasing his fortune, and retired, he devoted himself to the Pickwick Club. He was the guardian of Mr. Snodgrass, a young man with poetic inclinations. Mr. Winkle, also a young man from Birmingham whom his father sent to London for a year to gain life experience, had a reputation as an athlete; and Mr. Tapman, a gentleman of respectable age and size, retained, despite years, youthful fervor and a predilection for the fair sex.
The next morning, the Correspondence Society sets out on its first journey, and adventures begin immediately, back in London. Having scrupulously recorded his observations in the notebook, Mr. Pickwick was mistaken for a spy, and the coachman decided to beat him and his friends who had joined him. The coachman has already begun to carry out his intention - pickwickers are saved by not too well-dressed, but very self-confident and talkative gentleman, who turned out to be their companion.
Together they reach Rochester, and as a sign of gratitude, friends invite him to dinner. The dinner was accompanied by such a plentiful libation that for three picquickers it flowed smoothly and imperceptibly into a dream, and Mr. Tapman and the guest went to the ball, which was taking place here at the hotel, and the guest borrowed the coat of the sleeping Mr. Winkle. At the ball, they were so successful that they provoked the jealousy of the regimental doctor, who had serious views of a certain widow who was very willing to dance with them; as a result, the regimental doctor found himself offended, and the next morning Mr Winkle woke him up for a second (the guest did not give his name to either the doctor or the picquickers, so the jealous man was looking for the owner of the tailcoat). Winkle, unable to recall the events of last night, accepts the challenge. He is terrified, because, despite the reputation of an athlete, he is completely unable to shoot. Fortunately, at the fatal line it turns out that the doctor is not thirsty for his blood, and the case ends with a decision to drink together a glass of wine. In the evening, duelists find in the hotel those who they need: Tapmen and a guest of the picquickers, who turns out to be the itinerant actor Alfred Jingle. Having not received satisfaction, they leave - a duel with the actor is impossible!
Military maneuvers are being held in Rochester - an event that picquickers cannot miss. During the maneuvers, the wind took away Mr. Pickwick's hat, and, catching up with it, he collides with Mr. Wardle's carriage. While in London, Mr. Wardle attended several meetings of the Pickwick Club and remembered his friends; he cordially invites them to the carriage, and then to his menor Farm estate to visit.
Mr. Wardl's family consists of his mother, his unmarried sister Miss Rachel, and his two young daughters Emily and Isabella. The house is full of many guests and household. This hospitable family carries the spirit of good old England. Guests are entertained by shooting at crows, and Mr. Winkle, who had previously shown his unfamiliarity with equestrian sport, confirmed his complete inability to shoot, injuring Mr. Tapman. Miss Rachel takes care of the wounded; love flares up. But at a cricket match in Muggleton that Mr. Wardle and the pickwickers decided to attend, they meet Jingle again. After the match and plentiful libations, he accompanies them home, captivates the entire female half of Menor Farm, seeks an invitation to stay and, by eavesdropping and peeping, begins to weave an intrigue with the goal or to marry Miss Rachel and take over her condition, or get compensation. Having borrowed money from Tapman, he persuades the old maiden to flee to London; her brother and the pickwickers chase and catch the fugitives at the last minute: the marriage license has already been obtained. For one hundred and twenty pounds, the Jingle easily abandons Miss Rachel and thereby becomes Mr. Pickwick's personal enemy.
Returning to London, Mr. Pickwick wants to hire a servant: he liked the wit and quick wit of the hallway from the hotel where they found Miss Rachel. When he spoke about this with his landlady, Mrs. Bardle, she somehow reasoned that Mr. Pickwick was proposing to her and, with consent, immediately wrapped him in a hug. This scene was spotted by the ripening pickwickers and Mrs. Bardle's little son, who immediately roared and rushed to butt and pinch the gentleman. Mr. Pickwick hires a servant that very evening, but at the same time finds himself the defendant in a case of breaking a marriage promise, the damage from which Mrs. Bardle estimated at 1,500 pounds.
Unaware of the clouds gathering over his head, he and his friends go to Etonswill to observe the election campaign and mayoral elections, and there, being invited to a costumed breakfast, Mrs. Leo Hunter, the creator of Ode to the Dying Frog, meets Jingle. He, having seen the Pickwickers, hides, and Mr. Pickwick and his servant Sam Weller search for him to expose. Sam gets acquainted with Jingle's servant (or friend acting as a servant) Job Trotter and learns from him that Jingle is preparing to kidnap a young lady from the hostel and secretly get married to her. You can expose him only by standing at the crime scene, and Mr. Pickwick spends the night in the guesthouse's garden in the pouring rain, waiting fruitlessly for the scammers to come for the lady. Of course, he did not wait for anything but rheumatism and an extremely awkward situation, arose when he knocked on a guesthouse door in the middle of the night. The jingle mocked him again! It’s good that Mr. Wardle, who came to this region for hunting, with his future son-in-law, Mr. Thrandl, confirms his identity and clarifies the misunderstanding to the hostess of the guesthouse!
Pickwickers also receive an invitation to hunt, and then to the wedding of Thrandl and the daughter of Wardl Isabella, which will be held at Christmas time in Menor Farm. The hunt ended for Mr. Pickwick with an awakening in the barn for the cattle of a neighbor landowner. Sam drove him suffering from rheumatism all day in a wheelbarrow, and after a picnic, giving credit to a cold punch, he was left to sleep right in a wheelbarrow under a picturesque oak growing in the neighbor’s territory, and slept so sweetly that he didn’t notice how he transported.
Mr. Pickwick learns from Sam’s father, the coachman, that he drove Jingle and Trotter to Ipswich, and they cheerfully recalled «how they worked on the old firecracker,» as they certainly called Mr. Pickwick. Craving revenge, Mr. Pickwick and Sam go to Ipswich. The hotel where they stayed is vast and neglected, its corridors are confused, and the rooms are like two drops of water similar to each other - and, having lost his way, Mr. Pickwick is in the middle of the night in the lady's room in yellow papillots. This circumstance almost played a fateful role for him, because the gentleman who proposed to her the next morning was jealous, and the lady, afraid of a duel, rushed to the judge with a request to preventively arrest Mr. Pickwick - but, fortunately, the situation is saved by Sam, who is just as passionate wants to take revenge on Trotter, as his master - Jingle. Sam managed to find out that the Jingle, under the name of Captain Fitz-Marshall, is «processing» the judge’s family; Mr. Pickwick warns the judge, where in the evening they will be able to meet with the vagabond actor face to face. Sam in the kitchen awaits Trotter, who, just as his master seduces the daughter of a judge, is engaged in a cook who has accumulated money. It is here that Sam gets acquainted with the maid Mary and finds her perfect perfection. In the evening, Jingle and Trotter are exposed, Mr. Pickwick angrily throws the words "scoundrel" and "scammer" into their faces.
Meanwhile, Christmas time arrived, and friends went to Mr. Wardle. The holiday was so successful that Mr. Pickwick changed his regular leggings to silk stockings and took part in dancing, as well as in ice-skating, which ended up swimming for him in an ice hole; Mr. Winkle found his love - Miss Arabella Ellen was a bridesmaid; and the whole community met two medical students, one of whom was Miss Ellen's brother.
The day of trial of Mr. Pickwick in the case of breaking a marriage promise came. Mrs. Bardle defended the interests of Dodson and Fogg, and Mr. Pickwick defended Perkins. Although it was clear that everything was sewn with white thread, and these threads stick out, Mr. Pickwick catastrophically loses the process: Dodson and Fogg know their job. They are so self-confident that they invited Mrs. Bardle to take the case at her own risk and not demand legal fees if they couldn’t get anything out of Mr. Pickwick, about which Mr. Pickwick's servant, allegedly innocently told the audience, was summoned by a witness. The case was decided in favor of the plaintiff. However, not wanting to indulge injustice, Mr. Pickwick flatly refused to pay legal fees, preferring a debt prison. And before you get into it, he invites friends to make a trip to Bath, on the waters.
In Bath, Mr. Winkle becomes a victim of a ridiculous misunderstanding, as a result of which, fearing a duel, he flees to Bristol and accidentally discovers former medical students, now practicing doctors, one of whom is his lover’s brother and the other is his rival. From them he learns that his Arabella lives with his aunt in the same city. Mr. Pickwick wants to bring Winkle back to Bath with Sam’s help, but instead goes to Bristol himself and helps Winkle and Arabella meet. And Sam in the next house finds his Mary.
Upon returning to London, Mr. Pickwick is escorted to a debt prison. What a scope for observing people and morals! And Mr. Pickwick listens and records numerous court and prison stories, as he had previously collected and recorded the stories of an itinerant actor, a priest from Dingley Dell, a sales agent, coachman, his servant Sam; the legends about Prince Bladead and how underground spirits stole the sexton ... However, the conclusion he comes to is not encouraging: "My head hurts from these scenes, and my heart hurts too."
In prison, Mr. Pickwick meets Jingle and Trotter, ragged, exhausted, and hungry. Shaking their generosity, he gives them money. But Mr. Pickwick himself was shocked by the generosity of his servant, who went to prison so as not to part with him.
Meanwhile, without drawing out anything from Mr. Pickwick, the cunning Dodson and Fogg forced Mrs. Bardle to perform an «empty formality»: to sign a debt obligation in the amount of the costs of the lawsuit. So Mrs. Bardle, too, ended up in Fleet. Sam and Pickwick Perker’s attorney took a written statement from her that from the very beginning this case was started, inflated and conducted by Dodson and Fogg and that she deeply regrets the disturbance caused to Mr. Pickwick and the slander against him. It only remained to persuade Mr. Pickwick to make a generous gesture - to pay legal costs for himself and for Mrs. Bardle, and the prison can be left. The newlyweds, Mr. Winkle and Arabella, who plead with him to be their ambassador to both Arabella’s brother and Winkle’s father, help him persuade him to announce their marriage and receive a belated blessing.
After all these adventures, Mr. Pickwick closes the Pickwick Club and retires, renting a house in the quiet and picturesque surroundings of London, where he settles with his faithful servant Sam, the maid of Mary (two years later Sam and Mary got married), and the ceremony «sanctified» this house the weddings of Mr. Snodgrass and Emilia, the daughter of Mr. Wardl.