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Summary Chapter 48


Tom mentions what a mysterious person their landlord is to Ruth. Mr. Nadgett hasn’t been back since that morning on the wharf. Tom wants an explanation from him. He worries that the landlord is caught up in some shady business.

There is a knock at the door, and Tom is overjoyed to see Mark and young Martin. Martin tells Tom and Ruth about the meeting he had with his grandfather. He also details the trials he and Mark underwent in America. Martin thanks Tom for looking after Mary. Tom finds it difficult to speak about Mary and changes the subject. He asks Martin what his plans are.

Martin says he is hoping Tom can advise him on how to earn his livelihood. Tom tells him he should talk to John Westlock. He offers to take Martin to see John. When they arrive, John seems embarrassed to see them. He tells them he has a visitor and leads them to another room. Martin offers to come at another time. John explains that his visitor, though, has news that concerns Martin.

Tom asks what Mark plans to do. Mark says he is thinking of marrying Mrs. Lupin. Tom is surprised since Mark had once said it wouldn’t suit him. However, Mark says he isn’t certain that is true anymore. Mark explains that he was always seeking bad circumstances because he believed there was merit in trying to be happy in them. The situation with Mrs. Lupin was too agreeable. However, after his experiences in the U.S., he realized that every bad situation quickly becomes good. He has decided he might as well marry a good woman who cares for him. Tom asks if the lady has accepted, but Mark says he hasn’t asked her yet.

Martin suspects that Westlock thinks he is going to impose on Pinch’s kindness. Westlock admits that he considered Martin thoughtless rather than mean, but felt he didn’t appreciate Tom. Martin admits he didn’t understand or care to understand Tom before, and he is sorry for that now.

John tells him two seemingly unrelated stories about caring for a patient at The Bull, and Tom’s tale about the incident on the wharf. John introduces Martin to Mr. Lewsome, his visitor. He tells Martin that Lewsome confided a secret to him about Anthony Chuzzlewit.

Lewsome believes that Anthony Chuzzlewit was murdered, and that he is indirectly responsible. He is a surgeon, and he used to play cards with Jonas Chuzzlewit. He owed Jonas a great debt. Jonas constantly complained about his father and wished he would die. One night he talked about putting something in his cough medicine. The next week, he asked Lewsome to get him two types of drugs. He refused to tell him what they were for. He agrees to write off a debt that Lewsome owes him and give him five pounds for the drugs. Lewsome got the drugs for Jonas. Anthony Chuzzlewit died soon after that. Lewsome has been miserable with guilt.

Westlock suspects that Jonas’ crime is known to other people, and they are blackmailing him. He thinks this is what Tom witnessed on the wharf. The landlord is involved, but they don’t expect him to answer their questions.

Westlock admits that Anthony Chuzzlewit could have died a natural death, and that Lewsome’s story could be the fiction of an ill man with a diseased brain. However, when Westlock heard Tom’s account of what Mr. Chuffey said, he considered the man a potential witness. Mr. Lewsome never talked to Chuffey. He thinks they should contact him. The only problem is contacting Chuffey without alarming him and having Jonas find out. They don’t want to use Mercy. They think Mrs. Gamp is a good liason. They plan to go to see her.

They have Mr. Lewsome sign a confession. They sign it as witnesses and lock it away.

John advises Martin to write to the trustees of the grammar school to tell them that it was his design and to accuse Pecksniff of stealing it. Martin then goes to get lodgings for himself and Mark.

Charles Dickens