Chapters 27-29 Summary
Bailey has come into the employment of Montague Tigg, now known as Tigg Montague. Tigg, along with the pawnbroker David Crimple, has formed the Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company. Tigg and David argue as to who first came up with the idea of the Anglo-Bengalee. The medical officer of the company is Mr. Jobling, who had been the physician of both the late Anthony Chuzzlewit and the patient for whom Mrs. Gamp had served as the night nurse. Jonas Chuzzlewit is introduced into the meeting of the board. He explains contemptuously that he has come for information only, with no commitment to join the company. He is thinking of insuring the life of his wife, although she is young. He does not want Mercy to have any knowledge of this exchange, stating that women, once they start thinking about death, most likely die soon. Jonas suddenly recognizes Tigg Montague as Montague Tigg and comments on the remarkable change from the scruffy-looking con man to the present respectable businessman. Tigg invites Jonas to join the company, since it is easier to take in insurance premiums (their main business) than to pay them out (which they avoid). Jonas promises to consider it. After Jonas leaves, Tigg calls in Mr. Nadgett and instructs him to find out as much as he can about Jonas Chuzzlewit.
The next day, Tigg and company throw a feast for Jonas, who becomes very drunk and agrees to join the company. Tigg has Bailey take Jonas back home. Bailey is shocked when he sees Mercy and the change that has come over her since he last saw her. Jonas becomes verbally abusive to Mercy as Bailey leaves. The boy stops at the bottom of the stairs and listens to Mercy trying to calm Jonas down. Soon he hears Jonas physically abusing his wife. The next morning, Bailey goes to talk to his friend, Poll, along with Mrs. Gamp. Although he is asked about Mercy, he does not want to tell them about what he had seen and heard. Mrs. Gamp prepares to take her patient, Mr. Lewsome, out to the country at John Westlock’s instruction. When John arrives, Lewsome says that he has something very important to tell him, but he should perhaps wait until later, since he has waited this long. Lewsome and Mrs. Gamp finally get loaded into the coach and head off to the country. As they leave, Tigg’s spy Nadgett watches them ride off.