Mark Tapely is glad to be with someone like younger Martin Chuzzlewit, who is rather inept. It forces Mark to bring out his best qualities.
Mark goes up to a cabin. He is joyful to see the woman he had been kind to on The Screw. The family is also glad to see him. The youngest child is ill.
Mark explains that he and Martin came by the steamer the night before last. He tells them that Martin has fallen ill, and he was wondering if they would take a look at him. Normally, they would have refused—but since Mark had helped them, they comply. Mark holds the youngest child and sees that it is close to death.
The husband diagnosis the fever Martin has, saying it will get worse and is potentially deadly. He gives Mark some medicine and tells him how to care for Martin. During the night, the couple’s child dies. Mark helps them bury it the next day. During the day, Mark tries to do something with the land.
Mark and Martin are visited by Hannibal Chollop. Martin is worried Chollop is going to spit on him, but Chollop says he can control where he spits. He asks Martin how he likes his country, and Martin says he isn’t fond of it. Chollop says it takes a certain type of intellect to embrace freedom, and only Europeans would view this place as an inhospitable swamp.
Chollop continues to praise America while making England out to be a place of dues and execution blocks. Mark brings up the bad points about America. Chollop enjoys that Scadder screwed over the two Britishers. He finally leaves, but tells Mark he speaks too freely. That sort of thing will get him into trouble. Mark finds it ironic that he can’t speak freely in the Land of the Free.
Martin finally recovers, but then Mark falls ill. Martin becomes reflective. He considers Mark to be a better man than himself, and wonders how that is when he had less advantages. Martin had never considered himself selfish, but he realizes he is. He had discouraged the friendship with the woman on The Screw, and now that friendship has proven very helpful in this place. He regrets not being a better friend to Mark and vows to become a better person.
When Mark starts recovering, Martin discusses their situation. Their enterprise has failed, and they can’t sell their property. Martin thinks they should give up and go back to England. He thinks Mr. Bevan will help them if they explain the situation to him. Mark agrees, and Martin writes to Bevan.
They work on the land while waiting for a response. Mark has some knowledge of farming, and the other inhabitants help. They discuss Pinch and how he is put upon. Martin says he ran away from his problems, but Mary has to face the vipers. He knows now that she bought the ring.
The couple loses all their children to the fever. Martin and Mark finally get a letter from Bevan, who has sent them money. They tie up their possessions and leave on the next boat.