In chapter 2 we meet the stranger who manages to extricate Mr Pickwick from an altercation with a cab-driver. The stranger joins Mr Pickwick's party in the coach and they set off for Rochester. Here they enjoy a good meal and plenty of liquid refreshment.
When they become aware of a ball upstairs in the tavern, the stranger expresses a wish to attend but unfortunately does not have any suitable clothing. However Mr Tupman comes to the rescue by suggesting he borrow Mr Winkle's coat as he has fallen asleep by this stage. The stranger and Mr Tupman go to the ball where the stranger annoys a local worthy, Doctor Slammer surgeon to the 97th, by stealing his dance partner. This leads to a difficult situation for Mr Winkle the next day when he finds out that Doctor Slammer has challenged him to a duel. However everything works out well and Doctor Slammer is invited back to the inn to meet the other members of Mr Winkle's party. Will the stranger also be there?
I have enjoyed the introduction to the book and am keen now to read on and see if we find out who this stranger is. So far The Pickwick Papers has been an easy read and not as dark and depressing as Dickens' later novels. I am enjoying the humour and Dickens' keen observations of character.
This illustration is by Robert Seymour who did some the early illustrations in the book.