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Summary Chapter 9

CHAPTER 9

Mrs. Todgers and Pecksniff’s daughters are good friends by the second day. Todgers passes on her wisdom and shares stories of her disappointed love affairs—including how her last husband had deserted her to live in another country as a bachelor.

Mrs. Todgers will be accompanying them when they go to call on Tom Pinch’s sister. Mercy is imagining that she will have a problem not laughing, for she pictures Ruth Pinch to be a horrible ogre. Mr. Pecksniff, much to Mrs. Todgers disapproval, has agreed to Mr. Jinkins invitation to allow his daughters to dine with the gentlemen lodgers.

Ruth Pinch is a governess with in a wealthy family that deals with brass and copper. She is a pretty, petite woman who resembles her brother in disposition. The Pecksniff girls are angry that she isn’t what they had expected. The Pecksniff family is condescending, but Ruth regards them highly. Her pupil watches them all.

Pecksniff tells her that Tom is well, and that they bring a letter from him. He has no talent in his profession, but he has the will to do well. Ruth says they both know how much they owe the Pecksniffs. She also expresses her gratitude in their coming to see her. She hopes they will tell Tom how happy she is in her position so he doesn’t fret.

The Pecksniffs and Mrs. Todgers are impressed by the pupil, hoping they can meet her parents through her. Pecksniff gives his card to her and instructs her to give his praises to her parents for their house. The footman appears, and he gives the card to him instead. Realizing they are interrupting the girl’s studies, they leave. Todgers gives her own card, but Pecksniff—aware of a suggestive footnote at the bottom—retrieves it. Pecksniff assures Ruth of his continue protection of her brother. He loudly states his appreciation for the building, hoping the family overhears. Finally, a gentleman yells at Pecksniff to get off his grass and orders the footman to show them out.

The Pecksniff girls burst into tears in the carriage, saying the family rudely dismissed them because they thought they were friends of Ruth Pinch. This is what comes from being kind to people like the Pinches. Pecksniff tells his daughters that a good deed is its own reward. The girls attack Mrs. Todgers, blaming her appearance and calling card for their dismissal as well.

The pupil had reported the visitors as soon as they left to her parents, offended that they had been presumptuous to give her a message that was then given to the footman. Miss Pinch gets yelled at for having vulgar acquaintances, causing her to retire to her room in tears.

Sunday dinner is postponed until a later hour because that is the night the Pecksniff girls will join the other lodgers. The girls enjoy the attention and feel for the first time they are in London. After dinner, the women excuse themselves to the drawing room. The men continue to drink. The youngest of the men feels left out and misunderstood. He resents the popularity of Jinkins. Jinkins praises the establishment and Mrs. Todgers. Gander praises Bailey.

They rejoin the ladies. Mercy breaks all the mens’ hearts. Charity gets all the men that can’t get close to Mercy. The youngest man sits apart from the group. Pecknsiff cries to Mrs. Todgers about how his daughters are growing up, and the more he tries to shelter them, the more they try to break free. He reminisces about Mrs. Pecksniff, who had been beautiful and had a small property. He says he has a chronic illness that is carrying him to his grave. He thinks Mrs. Todgers is very much like his wife. He wants to hold her hand, but she is worried about what the gentlemen will think. He admits he is lonely. He enjoys making young people happy and dotes on his students. Some dote on him, but some lie. He prefers to take in orphans with money.

He tries to stand and falls into the fireplace. The youngest gentleman rescues him. They carry him to his room. Pecksniff keeps getting out of bed and following them out, expressing many moral sentiments. They keep returning to put him back into bed, only to have him come out again a few minutes later. Finally, they lock him in his room and make Bailey stand guard.

Charles Dickens