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Summary Chapter 10


On the fourth day, Mr. Pecksniff receives a letter, which pertains to his business in London. He comes back and has an audience with his daughters for two hours.

Elder Martin Chuzzlewit receives a letter from Pecksniff and tears it up. He goes to the boarding house.

Chuzzlewit inquires about the health of Pecksniff’s daughters. Pecksniff replies they are well. Chuzzlewit thanks Pecksniff for coming so promptly. He regrets his behavior and suspicions of Pecksniff at their last meeting. However, he now wants to make Pecksniff an ally, since he has no one else he trusts. He wants to serve out justice onto the right people. Pecksniff is pleased.

Chuzzlewit asks if Pecksniff’s daughters are like him. Pecksniff assumes he means physically, but Chuzzlewit clarifies that he means morally. Pecksniff says he has done his best. The old man wishes to see them. Though they are listening at the door, they return quickly to another room when their father comes out to call for them. They greet Chuzzlewit with much gushing affection. Chuzzlewit asks their names.

The elderly gentleman then says that though Pecksniff might mean well, he may not be able to adapt to the difficult humors of an old man. Pecksniff says that though people often misjudge him, he is always confident that the truth will reveal itself. Chuzzlewit refers to their first conversation, where Pecksniff had promoted young Martin Chuzzlewit’s claim. The elder Martin Chuzzlewit was grateful when Pecksniff withdrew the other members of the family from the inn, earning their anger in the process. Chuzzlewit says that though he wasn’t there, he knows what went on.

Chuzzlewit then says that Martin must quit Pecksniff’s house. He claims Pecksniff has been deceived. Pecksniff says he’ll renounce him if it can be proven. Chuzzlewit says that Martin has made his choice in a wife without his grandfather’s approval. Pecksniff and his daughters are outraged by this, and Pecksniff agrees to get rid of Martin as soon as he returns.

Chuzzlewit then turns the subject onto his companion Mary. Pecksniff claims that his daughters had been moved by Mary’s sad story. The elder gentleman asks the daughters if they would welcome her, and they promise to open their arms in sisterly affection.

Chuzzlewit is quiet for a while. He tells Pecksniff that he puts himself in danger of being slandered by angry, disappointed people. Pecksniff will be accused of taking advantage of a senile old man. Pecksniff assures him that while it will be difficult, he can handle it.

Chuzzlewit then explains his scheme. To show his contempt for his relatives, he chose to pamper and enrich one of the group whom he considers to be the worst of them. This person is doing his bidding. Meanwhile, he has severed ties with the one he loved and respected the most.

He asks Pecksniff if he will return home by the end of the week. Pecksniff agrees. Chuzzlewit reimburses his expenses in coming here. He says that as soon as he gets lodgings, he’ll let Pecksniff know. They’ll be seeing him again. In the meantime, keep what he has told them in confidence. Be sure to evict his grandson—but don’t bother telling him about it or ever refer to it.

Pecksniff offers refreshments. His daughters hurry to serve the old man. Pecksniff praises their virtues to Chuzzlewit. Chuzzlewit takes his leave, though he has to endure the affectionate goodbyes of both girls before he can escape.

The girls are very happy and tease their father about his maneuvering. He disapproves and reproaches them, which causes them to laugh harder. A fight between Mrs. Todgers and the youngest gentleman interrupts their conversation.

The youngest gentleman refuses to be dominated by Jinkins—who constantly leaves him out, insults him, and steals his friends. He gives his notice. Mrs. Todgers wants him to reconsider. It isn’t as bad as he thinks. The other gentlemen do look up to him. He is too sensitive. As for Jinkins, she doesn’t approve of him. In the end, the youngest gentleman withdraws his notice.

Once he is gone, Mrs. Todgers complains that he is the most ridiculous young man. He is horribly jealous of Mr. Jinkins. Mr. Pecksniff is angry and asks what the man contributes. Mrs. Todgers says he pays eighteen shillings. He disapproves of her wearing a double face for a measly amount. She states she has to keep the peace. He continues to reproach her, causing her to cry. He storms out for a walk.

Charles Dickens