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Summary Chapter 21

The Smallweed household consists of Grandpa and Grandma Smallweed, the house servant Charley, and Bart's twin sibling Judy who has, like Bart, absorbed the traits of old age--grim resolve;ceaseless harping on the failings of others; et cetera--despite being young. (Both Bart and Judy are no older than 18.)

Presently, a Mr. George, who correctly sumises that Grandpa Smallweed, who had helped him get his credit line, will hang him out to dry if cerain conditions aren't met, pays Grandpa Smallweed a visit. During his visit, Mr. George praises the house servant Charley, whose naive innocence is at odds with the Smallweed's' conniving money-grubbing ways; censures Grandpa Smallweed for his incessant abuse of Grandma Smallweed (Grandpa Smallweed makes a habit of throwing cushions at his wife while dressing her down with invectives); and Mr. George flatly refuses to comply to his creditor's demands to give up the names of two relations who would be responsible for Mr. George's debts should Mr. George default.

His business with Grandpa Smallweed having concluded, Mr. George spends a few hours being entertained at a theater before returning to his place of business and present lodgings. There, he is greeted by Phil, Mr. George's physically deformed assistant, who has bad news: Business has been slack; no money has been made. Resigned to his fate, Mr. George has Phil close shop and pull out two mattresses. Despite the grim circumstances, Mr. George indulges in some lighhearted banter with Phil before turning in for the night. Phil joins his boss after a moment of contemplation of their failing enterprise, a gallery where customers can practice rifle-shooting, fencing, and boxing.

Charles Dickens