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Summary Chapter 26

CHAPTER 26

Paul—called Poll—Sweedlepipe is a barber. He is very bird-like in his manner, and it seems fitting that his house should be filled with birds of all kinds. He is reputed to be a sinner because he isn’t christened. However, he has a benign manner. His cheap barber services make him popular even though his establishment smells of birds.

As he is going down the street, he accidentally runs into a young gentleman. The gentleman begins insulting him. When the gentleman recognizes Poll, though, he becomes friendly. The gentleman is Bailey, who has left Mrs. Todgers establishment. He shows off his new clothes to Paul. Bailey comments that Mrs. Todgers will soon be bankrupt.

Poll explains that he is helping a nurse—Mrs. Gamp—move from the house of Mr. Jonas Chuzzlewit. Mrs. Gamp had been a housekeeper there, but Mr. Jonas has married and no longer needs her services. Bailey remembers the Pecksniff sisters. He assumes Jonas has married Charity, saying she was good-looking enough. However, he says Mercy was a lot of fun and very merry.

Bailey goes with Poll to Jonas Chuzzlewit’s house. He is introduced to Mrs. Gamp. He learns from her that Jonas Chuzzlewit married Mercy, not Charity.

The newlyweds arrive. Mrs. Gamp notices that Mercy looks unhappy and tired, but blames it on the trip. Jonas tells Mrs. Gamp her services are no longer needed. Mrs. Gamp gives Mercy her card, saying she will need it in the future. Mrs. Gamp accompanies this statement with a wink. As she leaves, she comments again on what a miserable bride Mercy is.

Jonas is irritated by Mercy’s sulkiness. She finds the house very dreary looking. He orders her to ring for supper. Chuffey comes up and asks her if they are married. Mercy said they got married a month ago. Chuffey curses the wickedness of the house.

Charles Dickens