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Summary Chapter 24

CHAPTER 24

Pecksniff tells Tom to go up to his daughters’ room and tell them about their guests. Pecksniff closes the door to the room Jonas is in, explaining that he has to see a visitor about professional matters. Pecksniff feigns surprise at seeing Elder Martin Chuzzlewit and Mary Graham at the door.

He escorts them into a vacant parlor. Martin Chuzzlewit says he is surprised that Tom didn’t arrive before them. Pecksniff says he did, but before Tom could tell him about them coming, Pecksniff had sent him to check on Charity—who isn’t feeling well.

Martin Chuzzlewit claims he was shocked by his brother’s death. Pecksniff admits he was with him when he died, for Anthony had summoned him. Martin says that his brother was greedy, and he passed that trait on to his son. The last time Martin had visited them, Jonas acted like he counted the days for his father’s demise. Pecksniff claims that is not true. Jonas has come to stay with him, finding it painful to stay at his own house. Everyone at the funeral had remarked on how devoted he was to his father. Martin asks to see Jonas.

Pecksniff prepares Jonas for the interview. Jonas acts very sullen and nervous when he meets his uncle. Martin says he heard that Jonas was a good son. Jonas says he wasn’t the best son, but he wasn’t the worst either.

Pecksniff tries to make the party pleasant. However, Charity is still jealous and hateful about Mercy’s engagement. Mercy is arrogant over her conquest and provokes her sister—forcing Charity to retire. Jonas becomes more outspoken and condescending towards Tom and Mary. Pecksniff is relieved when Martin Chuzzlewit decides to leave. He informs Pecksniff they are staying at the Dragon. He insists that Pinch escort them home.

Martin asks Tom Pinch if he likes his situation. Tom says he is very indebted to Pecksniff. They fall into an uncomfortable silence. Tom thinks Martin Chuzzlewit has snubbed him, not realizing a remark was a jab at Pecksniff. Mary, realizing Tom isn’t the most quick-witted person and might reveal more if provoked, keeps quiet. Martin Chuzzlewit assumes that Pinch is just like the others since he worships a deceitful fawner like Pecksniff.

On his way home, Tom sees Jonas and realizes the man was following them. Jonas tells Tom he had better steer clear of his relations when he marries Mercy, or he’ll be whipped. Jonas is resentful that Tom was chosen to walk with Martin Chuzzlewit, rather than behind him like a servant should. Tom tries to leave, but Jonas blocks his way. Jonas says Tom can’t leave until he is dismissed. He goes to hit Tom in the head with his walking stick. Tom instinctively defends himself, and it is Jonas that winds up getting injured.

Tom assists Jonas home, saddened by how this will upset his benefactor. However, Jonas lies about how he got the injury. Charity, though, has guessed what has happened. She later confronts Tom. Tom admits he did cause the injury, though he was provoked—and he didn’t mean to hurt Jonas that badly. Charity is sorry he didn’t do more damage, but promises to be his friend from now on. Tom is distressed by the division that is occurring in the Pecksniff family. He is also feeling guilty for being even more in love with Mary Graham.

Elder Martin Chuzzlewit comes across Mercy one day and asks when she will marry. Mercy hopes it won’t be anytime soon. She claims she hates the monster she is engaged to. However, she denies she is being forced into the marriage. Martin asks her if she is worried about being unhappy in her marriage. She says no, because she won’t be. She expects to quarrel with her husband, and she intends to make Jonas her slave. Martin Chuzzlewit wishes her joy and leaves.

Jonas asks Mercy when they should marry. He wants to do it next week. Mercy refuses. She will choose when they marry, and it will be another month at least. She won’t marry him at all if he continues to follow her around, and she won’t marry him if he doesn’t do what she says. When she walks away, Jonas vows he’ll get even with her once they are married.

Charles Dickens