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Summary Chapter 37


Tom loses his way and gets more lost trying to find it again. Being distrustful of London’s citizens, he won’t ask for directions. He hopes to come across a respectable establishment like a bank.

He runs into Charity Pecksniff on the street. He tells her that he has left her father’s employ. Charity asks if her father has married yet. Tom says no, and he probably isn’t likely to since Mary Graham despises him. Charity finds the idea of a stepmother her age disagreeable.

Charity invites him back to Mrs. Todgers. He tells her that he has an appointment at Furnival Inn, and he is lost. Charity tells him a friend of hers will take him there. She takes him to Mrs. Todgers boarding house, commenting that he will see her sister there. Tom doubts Mercy will be glad to see him since he had that scuffle with her husband. Charity says Mercy doesn’t know anything about that, and even if she did—Charity doubts she would harbor a grudge. Charity makes some rather vague comments that interest Tom, though it troubles him too.

Tom is shocked by Mercy’s appearance and changed personality. Charity goes to fetch Mr. Moddle. Mercy tells Tom she is surprised that he would want to see her. Tom, feeling pity, says they never quarreled—and if he ever offended her, he is sorry. Mercy bursts into tears, saying she always believed him to be forgiving. Tom realizes that she doesn’t believe he means what he says, but he convinces her that he is genuine. She is comforted.

She tells him she will never be the merry creature that she was. She wants him to pass a message along to elder Martin Chuzzlewit. She wants him to tell the gentleman that she bore in mind what he told her in the churchyard. She comments that she always thought Mr. Chuzzlewit liked Tom, though he hid the fact that he did.

Mercy realizes that back then she was unworthy of Mr. Chuzzlewit's help. However, she feels if he had put more effort into helping her, he could have saved her. She doesn’t blame him, but she hopes that maybe he will become more merciful to people who are foolish and ill-advised as she was.

Mrs. Todgers appears after Mercy leaves. She guesses that Tom is an old friend of the family, and that Mercy did not tell him her troubles. Tom confirms this. Mrs. Todgers tells him that Mercy never complains to anyone. She comes to Mrs. Todgers frequently to seek solace, since she considers Mrs. Todgers’ a friend.

Charity appears with Mr. Moddle, who seems to be in low spirits. He remarks on how much Mercy has altered since her marriage. When they are walking to Furnival Inn, Tom wishes Mr. Moddle joy. The other man scorns this, saying that he cares little for his fate. Tom is rather glad to part company with him at the inn.

Tom is late when he arrives, and John Westlock has been worried. Tom tells him that he cannot stay with him. He tells him everything that happened with Ruth. John asks if he needs money, but Tom says no. Tom agrees to meet with him the next day.

John drives him back to his house and admires Tom’s sister from afar. Tom is happy to be at home with his family.

Charles Dickens