The Occurrence of Circumstance within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club
………………………………………………………Edited with notes by The Founder and President of The Institute for the Study of Slightly Varying Circumstances operating according to its own inscrutable logic and thoughtlessly indifferent to those caught up in it since 2010
A brief historysomething said to be true for those who are interested
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was first issued in monthly installments beginning in April of 1836, and then published as a single volume in December of the following year. The author, Charles Dickens, was born in 1812 in Portsmouth, England.
The ceremony of introductionspecial entertainments primarily intended to convey information
In late November of 20121 with the weather turning cold and my responsibilities being few I took to spending the majority of my days laid out upon the purple couch2 with my feet propped up as near the fire as would be prudent, a copy of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club3 clenched in my hands, and my nose set firmly between its pages. This I did for no other reason than to pass the time pleasantly, merely as an entertainment meant to transport me from my world4 into another which it did quite well. However, as I am me, and as me I am both the Founder and President of The Institute for the Study of Slightly Varying Circumstances I could not help but to take notice of the frequency with which the word ‘circumstance(s)’ occurred within the novel, and in so doing made any hope for peaceful relaxation impossible. At first I simply found these circumstances amusing, as I am interested in the occurrence of all manner of circumstance, yet as the number of circumstances grew, one inevitably following another, I began to form what can best be described as ‘peculiar ideas’5. Pausing from time to time in my reading I would gaze out the front window at the few leaves which still clung to the branches of a large and twisted horse-chestnut tree and sink into various theories on the meaning to be found behind these circumstances. Those that occurred to me, and which were too frightening to contemplate, or too ridiculous to imagine, became what I called earlier, but only recognized later as, ‘peculiar ideas’. These ‘peculiar ideas’ soon transformed into ‘wild imaginings’ which plagued me both night and day, causing me to act furtively whenever asked what it was I was doing, as well as creating no small amount of anxiety in my own mind about the state of my mental health. Luckily, after many restless nights, and quiet mornings6 ,sneaking about in fear of being discovered, I eventually realized that without outside influence I could easily believe almost anything, and so made the decision to approach one of my closest confidants with a few of these ideas in order to gauge her reaction, and in turn estimate how far off the deep end7 I had actually gone. Immediately upon uttering the first few words of my thoroughly thought out explanation of events to my chosen confessor it became clear to me, due to the expression of concern, or possibly terror, crossing her face, that under no circumstance should I make known, until properly prepared, most of what, for good reason, I called ‘peculiar ideas’, and, in so realizing, quickly changed the subject. This my intimate allowed me to do for a time, but then, being that she has had experience with my ability to form ‘peculiar ideas’ in the past, returned our conversation to the subject I was now attempting to avoid. Instantaneously, in my fear of being found out, I came up with the idea of disguising my current obsession, at least on the surface, as a purely intellectual pursuit which I hoped would curb her concern, as well as relieve me of any lingering anxieties; which it did and has seemed to do, for she, possibly sensing that I posed little threat to myself or others, made no effort to further interrupt my ‘wild imaginings’ or disturb my secret fantasies. And fantasize I did, for days I did nothing but, constantly day dreaming8 of the glory as well as monetary compensation that would be mine when, after a small amount of research and a good deal of typing, The Occurrence of Circumstance within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club would be presented to the world.
After making the decision to present my obsession in the guise of an intellectual pursuit I felt free to follow my ‘wild imaginings’ wherever they would lead, and, with the wish to be thorough in my quest, it became necessary, due to my making only mental notes of the circumstances occurring thus far within the novel, which at that time I had already read a good deal of, that I return to the beginning of the book in order to physically mark each passage containing a circumstance as well as record the chapter and page number within a composition book chosen specifically for that purpose1. This, of course, was tedious work as I could not miss even one of the circumstances if I were to ever, as I mention in footnote 8 from the previous chapter, get to meet Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, or be taken seriously by the scholars who would, as is there want and would possibly be under orders to do so from their corporate handlers, go over my findings like a pack of ravenous wild dogs in the hopes of discrediting me and ultimately keeping this information from the public2 Having finally completed reading the novel3 as well as recording the occurrence of every circumstance within its pages, I entered into a period of intense contemplation in the hopes of discovering how best to present my findings. This I later would call the contemplative mode, and then, thinking better of it, began to call it instead the contemplative process, which I then found myself having to explain, to those who are always wanting explanations, how it was that the contemplative process was different from what they called “sitting around”4. After providing the asked for explanation in what I thought to be easy to understand terms, and having judged them successful by the blank stares I received in return, I was able to once again take my place upon the purple couch and resume the contemplation of the circumstances I had found. Once comfortable, with the pillows arranged to my liking, the contemplative process, in theory, and practice, became essential to my gaining a clearer understanding of the circumstances both individually and as a whole. The possibilities that laid out in front of me while utilizing the process seemed endless, and probably are, for I have yet to reach an end to my speculations and suspect that I never will.
As a brief example of the results achieved through my examination of the circumstances using the contemplative process I will now examine the first three occurrences of circumstance within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club5. The first appearance is as follows:
“‘Singular circumstance that,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘Will you allow me to make a note of it?’”
Could it be that Mr. Dickens, having placed throughout his work these numerous circumstances, for some purpose still unclear to me, was, through the words of Mr. Pickwick, asking the reader to make note of the circumstances? To be sure the character of Mr. Pickwick refers to it as a “Singular circumstance”, but then this statement is (on the very same page!) denied by no less than the author himself in a footnote which reads in part:
“Although we find this circumstance recorded as a ‘singular’ one, in Mr. Pickwick’s note-book, we cannot refrain from humbly expressing our dissent from that learned authority.”
This expression of dissent, I believe (see Special Feature), is a further clue to the enormous number of circumstances to follow, which would only need be provided if the author, for reasons as yet unresolved, wanted the circumstances to be discovered by the reader and then, of course, as only I have, be thoroughly examined on their own and in relation to each other6. Perhaps doubting the readers ability to ‘get a clue’, Mr. Dickens in the next occurrence practically commands not only attention to the circumstances, but also his desire that they be made known by speaking through the character of Mr. Pickwick once again who says the following:
“‘Stay, sir,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘I really cannot allow this matter to go any further without some explanation. Tupman, recount the circumstances.’”
Recount the circumstances! I have, Mr. Dickens, I have, but to what end? What is your game, sir? Even with only this brief example of my findings it should be readily apparent to anyone capable of understanding this that something is definitely going on here. How could there not be? The author, Mr. Charles Dickens, has all but sent each and every reader over the past 170 years a personal invitation to get to the bottom of whatever game it is he is playing, which unfortunately is still, though less so than before my efforts (see footnote 2, notes for chapter II), a mystery. It would be very easy for me to go on with countless well thought out interpretations of the circumstances each as unbelievable as the next, but believed by me to be true nonetheless; for just as one of Dickens’ contemporaries, Daniel Webster7 himself said, “There is nothing as powerful as the truth and often nothing as strange.” It is, in the end, only our own willingness to accept the ‘peculiar ideas’, and develop them using my contemplative process, that this kind of vitally important information, such as I present, will ever be brought to light. However, due to this forum’s limitations I must refrain from going into the details of my investigations any further8, and instead, in the spirit of open inquiry, as well as to show the efficacy of the contemplative process, invite you to examine the circumstances yourself and form your own conclusions . There will be great rewards for those who do, I promise9.
Notes for chapter I1 Coincidentally, as you may have noticed if at all interested, 2012 marks the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, who you may remember just happens to be the author of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. 2 The purple couch is relatively new to my private residence having replaced the yellow, or ‘thinking’ couch which had previously occupied the same space. In the replacing of the couch it was my hope that my leisure time spent on this new couch would be free of any thinking, but as will become apparent this was not to be. 3 The novel was actually purchased some 5 years before at a small port side book store primarily frequented by men of the sea some of whom I became acquainted with and can tell you that while on land are usually in a state of great intoxication. The fact that the novel went unread for a period of 5 years, I believe, though I have certain doubts (as all researches should), was for the reason that the novel was waiting until I became more receptive to the circumstances which could not have happened before my founding of the Institute in 2010.(see footnote 5)
4 My world being unbelievably hectic even for the standards of the early 21st century and therefore in need of escaping from whenever an opportunity arises. 5 ‘Peculiar ideas’ in the practice of the contemplative process, is the center, the yolk of the egg if you will, with ‘wild imaginings being the white, and the shell, holding it all together as one, being what is called, ‘crazy thinking’. (for further description of the contemplative process see the Special Feature below) 6 These mornings were not a completely solitary time as I often had the company of a cat by the name of Carmen who, while unable to make her thoughts known to me, is, if you allow her to rub against your legs, a very good listener. 7 By ‘the deep end’ I mean both, ‘to act irrationally, following one’s emotions or fantasies’, as well as, ‘to become deeply involved (with someone or something) before one is ready’ each of them being figurative definitions as opposed to the literal definition of ‘to jump into a swimming pool where the water is over one’s head and one needs to be able to swim’ which having grown up with a swimming pool in my backyard I am easily able to do, and so, although I was genuinely worried about whether or not I was in fact ‘losing it’, there was never actually any danger. 8 The receiving of an honorary doctorate from either Oxford or Cambridge was a brief day dream I had which also included an audience with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge who, of course, would enjoy my company immensely and give me, on the sly, her private cell or as she would call it ‘mobile’ phone number.
Notes for chapter II1 All of this was done with the use of a Ticonderoga HB #2 pencil “The World’s Best Pencil” as well as the official pencil of The Institute for the Study of Slightly Varying Circumstances. 2 This is an instance of the ‘peculiar ideas’ I refer to in chapter I. Though not all ‘peculiar ideas’ are pursued in the contemplative process those that point toward or prove one’s own importance should always be considered first. 3 Which is no small feat considering the novel runs 754 pages and that doesn’t even include the appendix at 11 pages or the notes at 28 which if you were to add them up would equal 793 pages! That is 793 pages without even the mention of the introduction, preface, or notes on the text and illustration which I left out on purpose due to the number of pages after all the addition was done being nothing short of a mind boggling 815 pages! 4 In all honesty my contemplative process did on several occasions (accidentally) result in my falling asleep for sometimes between 3 and 4 hours, which still is not just “sitting around”. 5 What follows illustrates a complete immersion into the very heart of the contemplative process where ‘peculiar ideas’ take off at a frightening clip, and then quickly begin to spin out of control into ‘wild imaginings’ finally coming to rest in a twisted, fiery heap of ‘crazy thinking’. 6 This statement relates directly to footnote 8 from the previous chapter in that it is meant to stir feelings in the reader of admiration for my ceaseless dedication to intellectual inquiry. 7 Charles Dickens and Daniel Webster met in England shortly after the publication of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club which Webster had read and enjoyed very much. It is my belief that the quote from Daniel Webster included above was directly influenced by his being ‘let in on’ the secret of the circumstances, though I could very likely be wrong, but which should never hinder the contemplative process. 8 As I explain in the Special Feature below the posting of ‘crazy thinking’ to a web site, while not discouraged, does not convey any benefit upon the author in regards to membership within The Society of Contemplatives, but can be, and often is a good place for one to develop their insane theories. 9 This assurance of something favorable to come, in this case from the study of the circumstances found within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, is only a guarantee for those who actually immerse themselves totally and to the exclusion of all else (including family and friends) in the study of these circumstances (using the approved contemplative process), which, because of the time and effort involved, will not be a great number of people, if any, which is why I am the Grand Master of The Society of Contemplatives and the President and Founder of The Institute for the Study of Slightly Varying Circumstances.‡ ‡ There is an ‘honorary’ member of the Institute, but, due to his living on a windswept hill above the black lake (which according to the locals is not home to a monster, and is why they could never be members of either the Institute or the Society), and as the term ‘honorary’ implies, he is not expected to fulfill the usual requirements, or duties, and does not enjoy any of the privileges, emoluments, etc.
The Circumstanceseverything concerned in order of which they appear
The following circumstances were found within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club published by The Penguin Group edited with an introduction and notes by Mark Wormald, 1999
The circumstances have been italicized and highlighted in red for the reader’s convenience
‘Singular circumstance that,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘Will you allow me to make a note of it?’
chapter 2 page 26
Although we find this circumstance recorded as a ‘singular’ one, in Mr. Pickwick’s note-book, we cannot refrain from humbly expressing our dissent from that learned authority.
chapter 2 page 26
‘Stay, sir,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘I really cannot allow this matter to go any further without some explanation. Tupman, recount the circumstances.’
chapter 3 page 56
We are merely endeavouring to discharge, in an upright manner, the responsible duties of our editorial functions; and whatever ambition we might have felt under other circumstances to lay claim to the authorship of these adventures, a regard for truth forbids us to do more than claim the merit of their judicious arrangement and impartial narration.
chapter 4 page 58
The ‘poor fellow’ was proof against flattery; the more Mr. Winkle tried to get nearer him, the more he sidled away; and, notwithstanding all kinds of coaxing and wheedling, there were Mr. Winkle and the horse going round and round each other for ten minutes, at the end of which time each was at precisely the same distance from the other as when they first commenced—an unsatisfactory sort of thing under any circumstances, but particularly so in a lonely road, where no assistance can be procured.
chapter 5 page 76
Coupling together many circumstances which had at first escaped his observation, he thought I had not treated her well.
chapter 11 page 154
We are confirmed in this belief by a little circumstance, apparently slight and trivial in itself, but when considered in this point of view, not undeserving of notice. In Mr. Pickwick’s note-book, we can just trace an entry of the fact, that the places of himself and followers were booked by the Norwich coach; but this entry was afterwards lined through, as if for the purpose of concealing even the direction in which the borough is situated.
chapter 13 page 165
It’s eighty years ago, since the circumstance happened to a traveller for that house, but he was a particular friend of my uncle’s; and my uncle told the story to me. It’s a queer name; but he used to call it
THE BAGMAN’S STORY
and he used to tell it, something in this way.
chapter 14 page 185
Like all Mr. Pickwick’s determinations, this was the best that could be made under the circumstances; but, unfortunately, it was founded upon the assumption that they would not venture to open the door again
chapter 16 page 223
‘The circumstance which directed his thoughts into a new channel was a loud knocking at the street door, and the person who made this loud knocking at the street door was no other than old Lobbs himself, who had unexpectedly returned, and was hammering away, like a coffin-maker; for he wanted his supper.
chapter 17 page 233
‘Is it not a wonderful circumstance,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘that we seem destined to enter no man’s house without involving him in some degree of trouble?
chapter 18 page 242
‘Gracious powers!’ ejaculated Mr. Pickwick, as the recollection of the scene in question struck forcibly upon him; ‘what a dreadful instance of the force of circumstances!
chapter 18 page 244
‘Ah,’ said Mr. Pickwick, half aside to Sam, ‘it’s a curious circumstance, Sam, that they call the old women in these inns, laundresses. I wonder what’s that for?’
chapter 20 page 270
‘It’s a wery remarkable circumstance, Sir,’ said Sam, ‘that poverty and oysters always seem to go together.’
chapter 22 page 294
Now, taking this, as an isolated fact, unaccompanied by any attendant circumstances, there was nothing very extraordinary in it; because in many parts of the world men do come out of gardens, close green gates after them, and even walk briskly away, without attracting any particular share of public observation.
chapter 23 page 308
Mrs. Bardell felt it proper to be agitated; and as none of the three exactly knew whether under existing circumstances, any communication, otherwise than through Dodson & Fogg, ought to be held with Mr. Pickwick’s servant, they were all rather taken by surprise.
chapter 26 page 348
An interview with Mr. Perker, next day, more than confirmed Mr. Weller’s statement; and Mr. Pickwick was fain to prepare for his Christmas visit to Dingley Dell, with the pleasant anticipation that some two or three months afterwards, an action brought against him for damages sustained by reason of a breach of promise of marriage, would be publicly tried in the Court of Common Pleas; the plaintiff having all the advantages derivable, not only from the force of circumstances, but from the sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg to boot.
chapter 26 page 351
Many of the hearts that throbbed so gaily then, have ceased to beat; many of the looks that shone so brightly then, have ceased to glow; the hands we grasped, have grown cold; the eyes we sought, have hid their lustre in the grave; and yet the old house, the room, the merry voices and smiling faces, the jest, the laugh, the most minute and trivial circumstances connected with those happy meetings, crowd upon our mind at each recurrence of the season, as if the last assemblage had been but yesterday!
chapter 28 page 361
The ceremony of introduction, under such circumstances, was very soon performed, or we should rather say that the introduction was soon over, without any ceremony at all.
chapter 28 page 366
‘My wishing to wait upon you, for such a purpose as this, Sir, appears, I have no doubt, to a gentleman who sees so much of these matters as you must necessarily do, a very extraordinary circumstance.’
chapter 30 page 413
I really believe that to this circumstance may be attributed the vulgar but very general notion of your being, as a body, suspicious, distrustful, and over-cautious.
chapter 30 page 413
Conscious as I am, sir, of the disadvantage of making such a declaration to you, under such circumstances, I have come here, because I wish you distinctly to understand, as my friend Mr. Perker has said, that I am innocent of the falsehood laid to my charge; and although I am very well aware of the inestimable value of your assistance, Sir, I must beg to add, that unless you sincerely believe this, I would rather be deprived of the aid of your talents than have the advantage of them.’
chapter 30 page 413
A low tap was heard at the room door. Mr. Bob Sawyer looked expressively at his friend, and bade the tapper come in; whereupon a dirty, slipshod girl in black cotton stockings, who might have passed for the neglected daughter of a superannuated dustman in very reduced circumstances, thrust in her head, and said—’Please, Mister Sawyer, Missis Raddle wants to speak to you.’
chapter 31 page 418
Having given this instruction, the handmaid, who had been brought up among the aboriginal inhabitants of Southwark, disappeared, with the candle in her hand, down the kitchen stairs, perfectly satisfied that she had done everything that could possibly be required of her under the circumstances.
chapter 31 page 421
The establishment boasted four: we do not record the circumstance as at all derogatory to Mrs. Raddle, for there never was a lodging-house yet, that was not short of glasses.
chapter 31 page 424
He enlarged at some length and with great minuteness upon divers collateral circumstances, distantly connected with the anecdote in hand, but for the life of him he couldn’t recollect at that precise moment what the anecdote was, although he had been in the habit of telling the story with great applause for the last ten years.
chapter 31 page 424
‘Dear me,’ said the prim man in the cloth boots, ‘it is a very extraordinary circumstance.’
chapter 31 page 424
When in better circumstances, owns to having been in the constant habit of drinking ale and beer; says he is not certain whether he did not twice a week, for twenty years, taste “dog’s nose,” which your committee find upon inquiry, to be compounded of warm porter, moist sugar, gin, and nutmeg (a groan, and ‘So it is!’ from an elderly female).
chapter 32 page 440
But you have not heard from my learned friend, inasmuch as it did not come within my learned friend’s province to tell you, what are the facts and circumstances of the case.
chapter 33 page 450
Those facts and circumstances, gentlemen, you shall hear detailed by me, and proved by the unimpeachable female whom I will place in that box before you.’
chapter 33 page 450
Thought Mrs. Bardell fainted away on the morning in July, because Pickwick asked her to name the day: knew that she (witness) fainted away stone dead when Mr. Sanders asked her to name the day, and believed that everybody as called herself a lady would do the same, under similar circumstances.
chapter 33 page 462
‘I had a reg’lar new fit out o’ clothes that mornin’, gen’l’men of the jury,’ said Sam, ‘and that was a wery partickler and uncommon circumstance vith me in those days.’
chapter 33 page 464
I courted her under singular circumstances.
chapter 34 page 471
I hope that ‘ere trial hasn’t broke his spirit, but it looks bad, wery bad.’ Mr. Weller shook his head gravely; and it is worthy of remark, as an illustration of the manner in which he took this circumstance to heart, that he did not speak another word until the coach reached the Kensington turnpike.
chapter 34 page 472
Mr. Dowler related a variety of anecdotes, all illustrative of his own personal prowess and desperation, and appealed to Mrs. Dowler in corroboration thereof; when Mrs. Dowler invariably brought in, in the form of an appendix, some remarkable fact or circumstance which Mr. Dowler had forgotten, or had perhaps through modesty, omitted; for the addenda in every instance went to show that Mr. Dowler was even a more wonderful fellow than he made himself out to be.
chapter 34 page 473
A couple of tables were put together in the middle of the parlour, covered with three or four cloths of different ages and dates of washing, arranged to look as much like one as the circumstances of the case would allow.
chapter 36 page 497
Sam called the greengrocer a ‘desp’rate willin,’ and ordered a large bowl of punch—two circumstances which seemed to raise him very much in the opinion of the selections.
chapter 36 page 501
‘I feel a great delicacy, gentlemen, in coming for’ard,’ said the man in the long coat, ‘having the misforchune to be a coachman, and being only admitted as a honorary member of these agreeable swarrys, but I do feel myself bound, gentlemen—drove into a corner, if I may use the expression—to make known an afflicting circumstance which has come to my knowledge; which has happened I may say within the soap of my everyday contemplation.
chapter 36 page 501
The anxiety of his mind, and the numerous meditations which Arabella had awakened, prevented his share of the mortar of punch producing that effect upon him which it would have had under other circumstances.
chapter 37 page 514
‘Circumstances were suspicious. They have been explained. I respect your bravery. Your feeling is upright. Conscious innocence. There’s my hand. Grasp it.’
chapter 37 page 515
Mr. Weller was a gentleman of great gallantry in his own way, and he no sooner remarked this circumstance than he hastily rose from the large stone, and advanced towards her.
chapter 38 page 522
In a short time Mr. Mivins returned, bearing the sherry, which Mr. Smangle dispensed in two little cracked mugs; considerately remarking, with reference to himself, that a gentleman must not be particular under such circumstances, and that, for his part, he was not too proud to drink out of the jug.
chapter 40 page 556
Mr. Pickwick thought so also; but, under all the circumstances, he considered it a matter of sound policy to be silent. Mr. Simpson mused for a few moments after this, and then, thrusting his head out of the window, gave a shrill whistle, and pronounced some word aloud, several times.
chapter 41 page 561
At this point of the conversation, a sound, indecorously approaching to a laugh, was heard to proceed from the chair in which the elder Mr. Weller was seated; upon which Mrs. Weller, on a hasty consideration of all the circumstances of the case, considered it her bounden duty to become gradually hysterical.
chapter 44 page 598
Chapter 46 is chiefly devoted to matters of business, and the temporal advantage of Dodson and Fogg – Mr. Winkle reappears under extraordinary circumstances – Mr. Pickwick’s benevolence proves stronger than his obstinacy
chapter 46 page 621
Taking advantage of these symptoms of indecision, Mr. Perker (to whom, it appeared, the young couple had driven straight that morning) urged with legal point and shrewdness that Mr. Winkle, senior, was still unacquainted with the important rise in life’s flight of steps which his son had taken; that the future expectations of the said son depended entirely upon the said Winkle, senior, continuing to regard him with undiminished feelings of affection and attachment, which it was very unlikely he would, if this great event were long kept a secret from him; that Mr. Pickwick, repairing to Bristol to seek Mr. Allen, might, with equal reason, repair to Birmingham to seek Mr. Winkle, senior; lastly, that Mr. Winkle, senior, had good right and title to consider Mr. Pickwick as in some degree the guardian and adviser of his son, and that it consequently behoved that gentleman, and was indeed due to his personal character, to acquaint the aforesaid Winkle, senior, personally, and by word of mouth, with the whole circumstances of the case, and with the share he had taken in the transaction.
chapter 46 page 630
Bob Sawyer intimated his recollection of the circumstance last alluded to, by a melancholy frown; and the two friends remained for some time absorbed, each in his own meditations.
chapter 47 page 634
‘Yes,’ rejoined the one-eyed man. ‘I mentioned a little circumstance to them about a friend of mine of the name of Tom Smart. Perhaps you’ve heard them speak of it.’
chapter 47 page 643
I mention the circumstance, to show what a very uncommon sort of person this beautiful young lady must have been, to have affected my uncle in the way she did; he used to say, that as her long dark hair trailed over his arm, and her beautiful dark eyes fixed themselves upon his face when she recovered, he felt so strange and nervous that his legs trembled beneath him.
chapter 48 page 657
You may judge of the importance of your decision to your son, and his intense anxiety upon the subject, by my waiting upon you, without any previous warning, at so late an hour; and,’ added Mr. Pickwick, glancing slightly at his two companions—’and under such unfavourable circumstances.’
chapter 49 page 671
In which Mr. Pickwick encounters an old Acquaintance, to which fortunate circumstance the Reader is mainly indebted for matter of thrilling interest herein set down, concerning two great Public Men of might and power
chapter 50 page 674
Which latter circumstance he begged Mr. Perker to note, with a glowing countenance and many marks of indignation.
chapter 52 page 705
There was a coolness about all this, which, to a gentleman of an excitable temperament, had, under the circumstances, rather an exasperating tendency.
chapter 52 page 706
‘I have communicated, both personally and by letter, with the club,’ resumed Mr. Pickwick, ‘acquainting them with my intention. During our long absence, it has suffered much from internal dissentions; and the withdrawal of my name, coupled with this and other circumstances, has occasioned its dissolution. The Pickwick Club exists no longer.
chapter 56 page749
Communicating his intelligence to the old lady with characteristic impetuosity, she instantly fainted away; but being promptly revived, ordered the brocaded silk gown to be packed up forthwith, and proceeded to relate some circumstances of a similar nature attending the marriage of the eldest daughter of Lady Tollimglower, deceased, which occupied three hours in the recital, and were not half finished at last.
chapter 56 page 750
In addition to these points of distraction, Wardle was intrusted with two small letters to two small young ladies who were to act as bridesmaids; upon the receipt of which, the two young ladies were driven to despair by having no ‘things’ ready for so important an occasion, and no time to make them in—a circumstance which appeared to afford the two worthy papas of the two small young ladies rather a feeling of satisfaction than otherwise.
chapter 56 page 750
From the circumstance of two sturdy little boys having been repeatedly seen at the gate of the back garden, there is reason to suppose that Sam has some family.
chapter 56 page 753
Special Featureadded to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, and extend or strengthen it as a whole or The Fragile shell of the egg
Examining the circumstancesa look at the contemplative process
Having many times been accused of “just sitting around” I will now, though I have attempted to do so before, albeit in a less formal manner and without the desired results, explain the contemplative process as it was first developed and applied to the occurrence of circumstance within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.
The contemplative process itself is deceptively simple requiring the user only to completely submerse themselves in deep reflective thought about any subject of their choosing1. That is, the user first chooses a physical location (I prefer the purple couch) from which to begin their contemplations, followed by the relinquishing of all desires for the accomplishment of anything, including but not limited to chores to be done, books to be read, meetings to attend, appointments to keep, dances to dance, ladies to woo, or, as the case may be, men to beguile. After having done this, to the best of their ability, the user should then, beginning slowly, start to think up what are called in the process ‘peculiar ideas’.
The ‘peculiar ideas’ are only required to be odd or strange, and, at this point in the process, they only need seem odd or strange to the user. After having arrived at some satisfactorily strange ideas one or two should be chosen ( though I am, as a Contemplative Master, able to take on up to seven) before entering the next step of ‘wild imaginings’.
This is the step that separates the men from the boys, by which I mean only who is competent to complete the process and who is not, for the process is available to all manner of users regardless of the usual things people use to exclude other people. The reason for the ‘separation’ is that at this point the user must overcome their discomfort or fear about having imaginings that, if they were known to others, could be perceived as indicating the instability of their mental health2. ‘Wild imaginings’ can last anywhere from a moment to several hours (there have been reports of them lasting for countless decades, being passed down through the generations), yet it is not the duration, but instead the quality3 of ‘wildness’ that matters for preparing to enter the third and final step called ‘crazy thinking’.
‘Crazy thinking’ is best described, when a practitioner is lucid enough to do so, as the fully fleshing out of a ‘peculiar idea’ in such a way that the practitioner believes it wholly, or at least can feign belief in a way that is convincing to others4. The ‘convincing to others’ should not be confused with ‘convincing others’, as there is no requirement within the process to recruit followers either by trickery or force and its practice will result in its user never attaining the rank of contemplative master5 . The reason for, at least the appearance of, conviction on the part of the practitioner is that the main obstacle between them and the achievement of truly ‘crazy thinking’ is their ability to share it with others, especially those unknown to them in some public setting such as any manner of public transportation, on any urban thoroughfare, in waiting rooms, at coffee shops, the list goes on and on, basically just anywhere there is an audience to be had. With this said it must be emphasized that accosting strangers is unacceptable6 for the art of subtlety is always in the tool box of a contemplative master. Also, while the posting of your ‘crazy thinking’ to the internet is fully encouraged it does not fulfill the above requirement, due to there being available no direct confrontation to those subjected to the ‘crazy thinking’, as well as the fact that they have voluntarily subjected themselves by choosing to even visit the site, and finally that the ease of anonymity does not allow for the experience of true scorn.
It matters little to me whether you choose to try the contemplative process, though I do believe if more people did the world would be an unimaginably beautiful place of peace and happiness7.
Notes1 It is not always necessary to choose (although it may be easier for first timers to do so) a subject if one is receptive to potentially ‘peculiar ideas’ that surround us at all times. After the regular use of the contemplative process© the practitioner will find that recognizing a subject’s peculiar potential™ becomes easier. Being that I am what is called “a natural” the ‘peculiar ideas’ about the occurrence of circumstance within The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club occurred to me without the slightest effort on my part. 2 Even after the formation of countless ‘peculiar ideas’ I did experience some hesitation in taking my ‘wild imaginings’ about the circumstances too far. This is not unusual, and can be overcome if the practitioner would only try. 3 The quality of ‘wild imaginings’ can be difficult to ascertain for the novice, and if the practitioner finds him or herself unable to make the call it is permissible to try them out on friends or family in order to make a final decision. 4 In order to convince oneself of their ‘crazy thinking’ it is sometimes helpful to make the thinking physical. This is exactly what I did while examining the occurrences of circumstance. After entering each and every circumstance into a personal computer I then printed them out (8 full pages/see below) and with the aid of colored pencils edited them in a way conducive to convincing. As a result I was not only able to believe my ‘crazy thinking’ but also created something to keep in a memory album or sell as artwork over the internet.‡ 5 Contemplative masters are those persons who have properly followed the three steps of the contemplative process, and having presented their ‘crazy thinking’ to the Council of Contemplative Masters is then accepted into The Society of Contemplatives which is a subsidiary of the Institute for the Study of Slightly Varying Circumstances, and therefore ultimately presided over by me, the President and Founder. 6 No one likes pushy people, and those who behave so in the practice of the process are entered into a composition book listing the names of undesirables and forever shunned by The Society of Contemplatives. 7 Does not qualify as truly ‘crazy thinking’ for the simple reason that I would never dream of saying that to anyone in person, though I do believe it’s true. ‡ Beautifully scanned limited edition facsimiles of the edited pages are available for purchase. 25$ for pages stapled together. 20$ for pages held together with a paperclip. Both paperclip and staples applied by the author personally. All proceeds to benefit The Society of Contemplatives and their ongoing work benefiting mankind. . . the edited circumstances .th . . .