Martin and Mark are greatly cheered to finally be back in England. They notice the small changes in the otherwise familiar sites that have occurred over the year they have been gone. They are poorer men coming back, but they are comforted by the fact that they are home.
They eat at a cheap tavern and try to form their next plan. Mark suggests seeing Mary first, but Martin doesn’t know where she is. They both stopped writing to her after their circumstances became distressing, not wanting to upset her. Mark suggests going to the Dragon. Mrs. Lupin and Tom Pinch are two people that can probably tell them what they need to know. Once they see Mary and learn elder Martin Chuzzlewit’s frame of mind, they can formulate their next plan.
Just then, they see Mr. Pecksniff pass by. His presence creates a stir outside the inn. Mark calls the landlord in, who has went out to talk to a bystander. Martin asks the landlord about Pecksniff. The landlord tells him that Pecksniff is a great architect who has come down to lay the first stone of a public building he has designed. Martin asks when the ceremony is going to take place, and the landlord says it is happening now. Mark and Martin hurry to the destination.
They watch the ceremony. Martin presses closer to look at the unrolled plans of the school. He is enraged when he realizes that they are the same plans he had drawn. Mark restrains him from doing something foolish. Meanwhile, Pecksniff is being praised, admired, and cheered by the crowd.
Martin is embittered. Mark tells him they have a great deal to do. Martin has to believe that everything will right itself in the end. Martin, wanting to be a good student to Mark’s philosophy, agrees.