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Summary Chapter 3


The next evening, an old gentleman and a young lady arrive at the Dragon. The gentleman took ill on the road and had to stop at the Dragon. He refuses to have a doctor sent for or to take the remedies in the young lady’s bag. They only suggestion he agrees to is to go to bed.

Though he has a strong constitution and an iron will, he is very ill. He becomes more bull-headed and inflexible the sicker he gets. He threatens to walk out if anyone is sent for, even if it means his death. Mrs. Lupin sends for the apothecary, who isn’t home. She then sends for Mr. Pecksniff, who also isn’t at home.

The old gentleman starts improving once he is in bed. He takes to writing. Mrs. Lupin asks the young lady if the attacks are frequent. The young lady replies that he’s been ill, but it has never been this bad. They never go anywhere without his prescriptions. The landlady presumes they must travel frequently. She inquires on their relationship to each other. The younger woman says she is not a relative. The Mrs. Lupin is embarrassed, thinking they are married—but then notices the young lady doesn’t have a ring on her finger.

Mary (the young lady) asks the man if he called her. He says no—and comments on how she is staying away like he has the plague. Everyone is afraid of him—he has a curse upon him. Mrs. Lupin dismisses this as sick fancies. The old gentlemen thinks the landlady has been sent by someone. Mary points out they haven’t been here long enough for anyone to know them. He burns the paper he has been writing and goes to sleep. Mary bids the landlady goodnight and says she doesn’t need anyone to relieve her.

Mr. Pecksniff greets Mrs. Lupin when she comes out. Mrs. Lupin tells him about the old gentleman, saying he is better—but his mind is disordered, and he could use some advice from a proper person. The landlady thinks his conscience is troubled by not being related to the young lady he travels with, though she seems proper enough to avoid suspicion. Mr. Pecksniff peeks into the room and says it looks artful.

Mary sees Mr. Pecksniff and asks who he is. Mr. Pecksniff says he has been sent for, as an influential person, to sympathize for the ill. He sits down next to the bed. Pecksniff recognizes the old gentleman as Martin Chuzzlewit, his cousin. Chuzzlewit accuses him of being there because he wants something. Pecksniff denies this—saying nothing Chuzzlewit has brings happiness. The old gentleman agrees. Pecksniff says he came here to offer his services to a stranger and is quite indifferent to him. After a brief silence, Pecksniff rises up and says he is of no use here. Mr. Chuzzlewit signs that he wants to talk and gestures for the women to leave him.

Chuzzlewit tells Pecksniff that he is wealthy, though not as much as some suppose. He isn’t a miser like many believe. He doesn’t like his wealth, which has only brought him unhappiness. He can’t figure out whom to bestow his money to, who will benefit from it and use it well. When he was poor, people were honest with him. The minute he became wealthy, people deceived him and turned on each other—even his own family. Seeing how people become around him, he avoids them—only having this one girl as a companion. Mary is an orphan that he’s adopted. He gives her a satisfactory annual allowance, but he will not leave her anything once he is dead.

Mr. Pecksniff tells Chuzzlewit he understands his reasoning, but he is wrong in his conduct. He doesn’t approve of him disinheriting young Martin Chuzzlewit, his grandson, who has the greatest claim. However, seeing the writing implements on the table, Pecksniff assumes that Chuzzlewit has secretly made younger Martin his heir.
Chuzzlewit thinks his grandson sent Pecksniff to him. He laments on the discord money brings.

Charles Dickens