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Summary Chapter 49


Mr. Sweedlepipe, who lives below Mrs. Gamp, calls to her. She goes down to find him sitting in a chair, pale. He tells her Bailey is dead. He talks about the time he once overcharged Bailey, but the boy hadn’t beat him up over it. He reminisces about what a clever boy Bailey was. He talks about the time Bailey asked for a shave just for the fun of it, though he didn’t actually need it.

He tells Mrs. Gamp he heard about it in the papers. The carriage they were riding overturned. Bailey never regained consciousness. Mr. Montague can’t be found. Mr. Crimple has ran off with the money. Some people believe Montague is with him. The company has been revealed as a scam.

Mrs. Gamp philosophizes that Bailey grew up in bad circumstances and turned to a certain life, and his death was the consequence of that. She asks about Jonas Chuzzlewit. Poll says nothing can be proven against him. Some say he was a victim, others believe he was an accomplice. Jonas did willingly go down to testify that he was swindled. He just found out Montague’s name is merely an alias.

Betsy Prigg comes down wanting tea. She keeps making snide comments. First she criticizes how Mrs. Gamp puts snuff into her tea. Then she ridicules Mrs. Harris, which really upsets Mrs. Gamp.

Mrs. Gamp tells her that they are needed to take care of Mr. Chuffey. She says that Mr. Chuffey is not as weak in the mind as people think. Betsy Prigg finally says that there is no such person as Mrs. Harris. Mrs. Gamp says that Mrs. Harris would not lower herself to associate with the likes of Betsy Prigg. Prigg says she won’t work under Mrs. Gamp, and she wants nothing to do with Mr. Chuffey. Mrs. Gamp orders her to get out.

Poll comes up to tell her two gentleman want to see her. Mrs. Gamp is more upset about how Mrs. Prigg abused Mrs. Harris rather than her. John and Martin console her. She says she’ll no longer refer any more work to Mrs. Prigg. She tells them that Mr. Chuffey needs protecting. Mrs. Prigg would have blabbed. She falls asleep. John tells Martin to let her rest. He comments that when rogues fall out, honest people get what they want. They will triumph in the end.

Charles Dickens