Chapters 39-41 Summary

Tom and Ruth Pinch settle into their life in Islington. Tom is trying to write a resume in preparation for searching for a position, and Ruth is trying to make a beefsteak pudding, her first attempt. They are surprised when John Westlock walks in. Tom introduces him to his sister, and John is immediately taken with Ruth, despite her flour-covered hands. To Ruth’s horror, Tom invites John to dinner that evening, which John accepts. He tells Tom that he has come for the specific purpose of conveying a job offer to Tom. A Mr. Fips had approached him that morning, asking if he knew a Thomas Pinch. John tells Tom that he is being offered a position as a secretary to an unknown person, at the salary of one hundred pounds a year. Tom is overjoyed and agrees to go with John to meet Mr. Fips. He is told that the particulars of his job include the cataloging of books in a library, but Fips does not say the name of the person to whom the library belongs. Tom is overjoyed at his good fortune, and he and John return home to find that Ruth’s beefsteak pudding is a success. John asks Tom several questions about Ruth, clearly indicating that he is interested in her.

Tom and Ruth walk along the wharf, watching the ships arrive and leave. They are interrupted by Mrs. Gamp, who asks them which ship is the one going to Antwerp. They point it out to her, as she watches a lady board, accompanied by a man in a long cloak. Tom’s landlord (who happens to be Mr. Nadgett) arrives and asks him to deliver a letter to the man in the long cloak. He does so and is surprised that it is Jonas Chuzzlewit with Mercy. Jonas reads the letter, grabs Mercy, and leaves the ship. He leaves in a separate carriage, and Mercy asks Tom why he has interrupted her journey. Tom tries to assure her that he knows nothing about it but was asked only to deliver the letter.

Jonas is escorted back to Tigg, who confronts him with his attempt to escape. He warns him that he must give him the money he promised or face the consequences. Mr. Jobling, the medical officer, hints at the consequences as he shows Jonas his lancets, which can cut a neck cleanly. Jonas prepares for a journey on which he will take young Bailey and Tigg to see Pecksniff.