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Summary Chapter 6


Martin Chuzzlewit the younger helps himself to Mr. Pecksniff’s private stores for breakfast, much to Mr. Pinch’s embarrassment. Mr. Pecksniff and his daughters, though, don’t react negatively as they might have because they are all excited about their trip to London. Mr. Pecksniff has been summoned on some business, and he is taking his daughters with him. They will be gone a week.

Pecksniff mentions John Westlock’s slight while comparing Martin Chuzzlewit—whom he trusts enough to give him automatic liberties—to his former pupil. Pinch is uncomfortable, knowing that Pecksniff is fully aware that he got a letter from the disgraced pupil that morning. Pecksniff tells Martin he is leaving him in charge of the house while he is gone. He assigns architectural homework and projects Martin is to do while Pecksniff is away, relying on Pinch to teach some of the skills. Martin Chuzzlewit, after having a private talk with Pecksniff, comes back quiet. Pinch fails to draw him into conversation that reveals his thoughts.

Mr. Pinch helps the Pecksniffs prepare for their journey. He is glad that he had time to write to his sister Ruth. He reflects on his good luck of having come across Mr. Pecksniff early in life, and how his fortunes continue to be good in providing him a new friend.

Pinch asks Mr. Pecksniff to post his letter. Pecksniff acts like Pinch has asked him a great deal, but he agrees. Pinch shows his gratitude. The Pecksniff daughters tease Pinch about his having a sister, which he takes in good humor—considering their condescension a mark of favor.

When they leave, Pinch asks Martin why he is melancholy—but Martin doesn’t reveal the reason right away. Pinch is pleased that John Westlock took the time to write him. He happily eats the remainder of the previous night’s feast and enjoys the wine—even though it is mostly vinegar. Martin cheers up watching Pinch’s pleasure.

Martin begins talking about himself. He says that he had grown up with great expectations of one day being rich, but he finds himself now disinherited by his grandfather. His parents died when he was too young to remember them, and he has no affection for them. His grandfather reared him. Pinch is able to identify, having a similar story of being reared by a grandmother after his parents died.

Martin says that his grandfather has many good points, but he has two major flaws that make him difficult to get along with. One, he is obstinate. Two, he is selfish. Martin observes that both are family traits he is trying not to inherit. He tried to obey his grandfather’s wishes out of affection and obligation, but they quarreled when he found it impossible to do so.

Martin is miserable because he is in love with Mary, his grandfather’s companion. If the grandfather ever found out that Mary’s feelings are mutual, she’d lose everything. The grandfather is aware of Martin’s feelings, which is how he got disinherited. He doesn’t want Martin taking away his one companion. He ordered Martin to either renounce Mary or be renounced. Martin, failing in not acquiring the Chuzzlewit obstinacy (though he denies that it is obstinancy), refused.

He saw Pecksniff’s advertisement in the paper and decided to become an architect. He didn’t realize Pecksniff was a relative right away, for his grandfather had severed ties will all relations. However, the fact that his grandfather dislikes Pecksniff made the advertisement even more appealing. His engagement to Mary is going to be long since neither have prospects. He reveals to Pinch that the beautiful woman he saw in the church was Mary.

Pinch consoles Martin, saying all will be well. Their difficulties will only make them love each other more. Pinch has heard many love stories that have claimed this to be true.

Martin asks Pinch to read him to sleep, which Pinch gladly acquiesce.  

Charles Dickens