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Summary Chapter 54


Mrs. Todgers is in a flurried state of preparation. It is the day of Charity’s wedding to Augustus. Though Charity hasn’t forgiven her father, she invites her other relatives. She believes Jonas’s death was punishment for their dissensions. She makes some of the female relations her bridesmaids. She behaves very much like her father.

Mark and Elder Martin Chuzzlewit arrive. Mrs. Todgers says she didn’t agree with the wedding happening now, but Charity insisted. Todgers does agree it is high time Charity married.

She tells elder Martin that Mercy has not left her apartment since Jonas’ death, but she is prepared to see him. He enters the room. Mercy is mourning. Chuffey sits with her.

Chuzzlewit tells her he judged her hastily and asks for her forgiveness. She kisses his hand and thanks him for his kindness since then. He tells her that Tom did give him her message, and he promises to be more compassionate to the ill-advised natures in the future. Mercy doubts the end would have been different even if he had inspired her confidence then with greater kindness. She was totally thoughtless. Her heart and mind developed through her suffering. She says she is grateful for it because it changed her.

Jonas’ property is going to be seized by the law to pay the people he defrauded. Pecksniff lost his money in the same scheme, and whatever he has left will also be seized. Mercy says she can’t return to him after he forced her into the marriage. Martin invites her to come live with him. She can have a place of her own until her health improves. Her future is still bright. Charity neglects her and is interested in hurting her. Mrs. Todgers doesn’t want to part with her, but she agrees with Martin. Mercy prepares to leave.

Charity enters the room half-dressed. Old Martin tells her she chose a bad time to marry. Charity says she has nothing to do with her father’s deceptions, and she wishes to be on good terms with her relations. Martin tells her Mercy is going with him. She says she is happy for her sister. She realizes the wedding is painful for Mercy, but that isn’t her fault. He wishes they’d part better—it would make him her friend, and she may need one in the future.

Charity says she has Augustus and needs no one else. She goes to finish dressing. Chuzzlewit and Mercy leave. They come across Mark, who is extremely happy that the couple from Eden who lost their three children have come back. They are staying rent free with Mark at the Jolly Tapely.

Mr. Jinkins is the only boarder invited to the wedding. The relations arrive. The groom, however, is not there. Many of the relatives form a bad opinion of him for not being there to receive them. Charity tearfully defends him. She begins to worry that he went to the altar. Jinkins and George Chuzzlewit go to the church to see if he is there. They return and tell her that he isn’t, and the clerk sent a message that she had better hurry if there is going to be a wedding.

Charity becomes alarmed. Jinkins plans to go to their home to see if Augustus is there. Just as he is about to leave, a postman gives him a letter for Charity. Charity reads the letter, cries out, and faints. The relatives pick it up and read it.

The letter is from Augustus. He tells her he has given up suicide and has instead abandoned his former life. He loves someone else, and she belongs to someone else. He asked her why she didn’t leave him alone. He hopes the furniture will make amends—but he will never be hers.

Many years later, Tom has gone prematurely gray. He plays the organ. He lives a happy, quiet life. Pecksniff often begs him for money, reminding him that he built his fortunes. When Tom gives him the money, Pecksniff spends it on drink. He tells everyone what an ingrate Tom Pinch is. His daughter Charity has become a shrew.

Mary’s daughter is very fond of Tom and spends much time with him. She prefers him to nurse her when she is sick. Elder Martin Chuzzlewit has died, and Tom often remembers the last words he spoke in which he blessed Tom.

Charles Dickens