Well, I had to put dear Pickwick down for a while, but I’ve just picked it up again in the past few days—and am enjoying it immensely!
The powerfully written scene with the trial of Pickwick is, in its satire, one of the clearest indictments of how the legal profession can be misused for evil. For “chops and tomato sauce” and “slow coach” to be damning evidence of Pickwick’s wickedness does show the way words can be manipulated to serve whatever purpose one chooses—and we see plenty of evidence for that today.
Fortunately, there are lawyers whose purpose is different and much more noble than that of Dodson and Fogg, but in his work as a court reporter Dickens saw a great deal, and was a valuable social critic.
Now, Mr. Pickwick is in debtors’ prison because, on principle, he will not pay damages to Mrs. Bardell when he has done nothing wrong, despite the guilty verdict. And I love dear Sam Weller who will not desert Pickwick—even arranging to be imprisoned himself to be near him as an encouragement.