Chapters 11-12 Summary

Bailey announces to the Pecksniff daughters that a gentleman has come to see Charity. He had told the visitor to go on up as a joke, so he had become lost. Charity finally finds him in the parlor, and it is Jonas Chuzzlewit, the son of Anthony. Charity is disappointed and speaks bluntly to him. Jonas constantly asks questions about “the other one,” meaning Mercy, until Charity offers to go fetch her. Jonas invites his two cousins to go for a walk and to dine with him and his father afterward. Mercy is reluctantly dragged along, even though Jonas is obviously more interested in Charity. After visiting all the free sights in London, the trio arrives at the Chuzzlewit home. Anthony is waiting for them, and Jonas refers to him disrespectfully as a “ghost,” having told Charity that he is eighty and should have died a long time ago. They are joined by Anthony’s clerk, Chuffey. Jonas explains that although he appears to be blind and deaf, the clerk twenty years previously had had a high fever during which he counted up to a million and has never been the same since. Now he answers only to Anthony. Charity and Mercy are blatantly bored with this event and make no pretense of hiding their dislike for Jonas.

Back at Mrs. Todgers’ boarding house, Bailey comes to bid them good-bye and tell them that he is leaving, tired of being physically and verbally abused. The lodgers come in the middle of the night and serenade the ladies. In the morning, they bid each other good-bye as the coach takes the three Pecksniffs back home.

Tom Pinch and young Martin Chuzzlewit continue enjoying each other’s company. Martin promises (a bit condescendingly) to make Tom’s fortune one day. Tom receives a letter from John Westlock, who announces that he has at last come into his inheritance and would like to meet Tom and Martin in the finest restaurant in Salisbury for dinner. Martin agrees, though he expects little from the former student of Pecksniff. John and Tom are delighted to see each other again, and Martin is unexpectedly taken with John. As Tom steps out to talk to the organist’s assistant, Martin and John laugh at Tom’s devotion to Pecksniff, whom John presents to Martin as a scoundrel. When Tom returns, John makes a remark about Pecksniff and upsets Tom. After peace has returned, they continue to enjoy their visit. Mark gives money to Tom, saying it is from Montague Tigg in repayment for the loan. The next day, Martin and Tom return home to learn that Pecksniff is also returning. When Pecksniff and the girls arrive, they ignore Martin. When Martin demands an explanation, Pecksniff ignores him. Martin rises suddenly and Pecksniff falls over on the floor. Martin leaves, with Tom chasing after him, announcing that he intends to go to America. Tom gives him a book and sadly watches his new friend walk away.