The judges and lawyers are on vacation, making Chancery Lane a veritable ghost town though a forlorn suitor with his eternal worries can be seen now and then flitting about to no purpose.
One evening, law-stationer Mr. Snagsby gets ready to recieve guests who have been invited at Mrs. Snagsby's prompting. When the guests are late in arriving, Mr. Sangsby makes a remark to the effect only to be chided by Mrs. Snagsby.
Presently, Guster, the Snagsby's house servant, announces the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Chadband. Mrs. Sngsby has invited the Chadbands because Mr. Chadband is a minister by profession and because Mrs. Snagsby "likes to have her religion sharp" to quote Mr. Snagsby.
To Mrs. Snagsby's great satisfaction, Mr. Chadband waxes eloquent upon his arrival and continues in the same vein until dinner time at which point Mr. Chadband proves that his appetite for food rivals his verbosity for Biblical pronouncements.
There are two interruptions during the evening of entertaining guests. The first occurs prior to dinner as Guster reminds the Chadbands of their unpaid cab fare, which Chadbands reluctantly settle though pretending otherwise. The second occurs during dinner as Guster draws Mr. Snagsby's attention to a conflict involving a local constable and the homeless boy Jo.
Presemably, Jo has been loitering around Mr. Snagsby's law-stationer shop for which the constable would have Jo incarcerated but for Jo's claim that he's acqainted with Mr. Sangsby. Mr. Snagsby vouches for Jo's claim, securing Jo's liberty on the condition that Jo vacates the premises. Eventually, Jo does as he's told, carrying with him a provision of food that Mr. Snagsby has secretly managed to procure on his behalf. (Had she known, Mrs. Snagsby wouldn't have allowed the charitable gesture.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Guppy, who has dropped by, makes the acquaintance of the Chadbands. As it turns out, for a brief time, the Chadbands had acted as Esther Summerson's guardians, and this news greatly interests Mr. Guppy who remains madly and foolishly in love with Mr. Jarndyce's ward whom Ada and Richard have dubbed Dame Durden.