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Summary Chapter 8


Pecksniff philosophies on the trip that if suffering were alleviated, there would be nothing to admire in humanity’s ability to endure. There would also be no opportunity to develop gratitude. He compares people to coaches—some are fast, and some are slow. His daughters listen attentively and agree with him, though they don’t like the coach remark.

He falls asleep but wakes up stiff and irritable. An old man and his son strike a deal with the driver to pay outside prices, though they are riding inside the coach. When the man reveals he has a cold, Pecksniff complains there isn’t enough room in the coach for someone with a head cold. The old man says the cold is in his chest, and acknowledges Pecksniff by name. Pecksniff realizes that he is talking to Anthony Chuzzlewit and his son Jonas.

Pecksniff refers to the incident where Anthony called him a hypocrite. Anthony admits everyone is a hypocrite, but what bugs him about Pecksniff is that he doesn’t have a partner in it. Jonas, who Anthony claims is his partner in hypocrisy, asks Pecksniff if he is traveling to London. Pecksniff affirms this. After watching the sale of their investments, Anthony and Jonas are returning home.

Jonas was brought up by his parents to constantly over reach—and to view everything and everybody in terms of gain. Even with his own father, Jonas is impatient for him to die so that he can inherit his estate.

Jonas transfers his attentions to his cousins, noting their different attributes and discussing how many beaux can be found in London. He admires both—Charity for her sensibility and Mercy for her beauty. They stop to eat and then resume their trip.

Pecksniff and his daughters leave their relatives at their final stop and go to a boarding house. The owner is not up yet, but the boot boy answers. Pecksniff gives the boot boy his card to give to the owner, then waits in the parlor with his daughters. The boarding hosue is very grim, smells of cabbage, infested with rats, and hasn’t been fixed up in a long time.

Mrs. Todgers welcomes Mr. Pecksniff, who has stayed with her before. Pecksniff introduces his daughters, who she embraces. Pecksniff says he knows she only takes in gentlemen lodgers, but he was hoping she would make an exception to his daughters. He knows they can share her room and avoid the general table. Madame Todgers is happy to oblige. She repeatedly embraces the girls and tries to figure out which one resembles her mother, though she never met her.

Madame Todgers tries to figure out how to accommodate the girls, since she is full to capacity. She decides to put a sofa bedstead in the room next to her parlor. She shoos them into her room since the gentlemen are about to come down. She prepares breakfast for them.

Charles Dickens