Dickens /Major /Martin Chuzzlewit

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Martin Chuzzlewit – 1843-1844 – a monthly serialised novel

Martin Chuzzlewit was first published by Chapman & Hall. It was in installments that began in Jan 1843 and ran until Jul 1844.

The novel was written after Dickens had travelled to America in 1842. The trip left Dickens with a very unfavourable impression of the United States, and he showed some of his ill feelings in Martin Chuzzlewit.

The disappointing sales led him to develop A Christmas Carol as a seasonal boost,
Old Martin Chuzzlewit raised an orphan girl, Mary Graham to be his nursemaid and companion. He had an arrangement where she would receive an income from him for as long as he lived. In this way he trusts she will do all she can to keep him alive, a marked contrast from his relatives who seek to inherit.

He also raises his namesake grandson. Young Martin falls in love with Mary and wishes to marry her, but the old man argues and the two fall out. Young Martin has to leave and live alone, as old Martin disinherits him.

Young Martin obtains an apprenticeship with Sam Pecksniff an architect. He is said to be a relative, a cousin of old Martin, with whom he is seeking to get closer. In fact he lives off his apprentices’ tuition fees, and passes their draughting work off as his own.

He has two spoiled daughter Cherry (Charity) and Merry (Mercy).

Young Martin befriends a fellow apprentice, Tom Pinch. Tom’s late grandmother gave all she had to Sam to make an architect and a gentleman of him. But instead, he exploits him, working him hard for low wages. Yet Tom will have nothing bad said about Sam, he believes he is the recipient of Sam’s charity and care.

Young Martin is showing promise, designing a school in a week while Sam is away. But Old Martin learns of his role and insists Sam should get rid of him, Sam and Young Martin argue and he leaves.

Old Martin and Mary arrive in the area and he falls under Sam’s influence. Mary likes to listen to Tom Pinch playing an organ, and Tom falls in love with her but does not declare this as he knows of young Martin’s attachment to her. However, Pecksniff decides he should marry Mary and courts her.

Anthony Chuzzlewit, old Martin’s brother, is in business with his son, Jonas. Jonas is keen to take over the business and does when Anthony dies abruptly and suspiciously.

Jonas woos Cherry as a wife and is promised a £4,000 dowry by her father, But Jonas switches his affection to Merry demanding a further £1,000 because, he argues, Cherry is better able to seek another match.

Jonas has connections to the petty thief Montague Tigg, who had previous relationships with a relative called, Chevy Slyme. Tigg cheats young Martin of the true value of his pocket watch and uses the money made to transform himself into Tigg Montague, and rents an office that will convince potential investors that he will deliver them good profits. Jonas joins him in the enterprise.

Sam Pecksniff, in the presence of Old Martin, fires Tom Pinch, who finally realises the truth of his employer’s character and leaves for London. He meets there with a good friend John Westlock. He learns of the mistreatment of his sister, Ruth, in her role as a governess. He rescues Ruth and they take rooms in Islington. He is employed by a mysterious employer through the help of a Mr Fips.

Young Martin falls in with Mark Tapley, cheerful in his work at an inn. He declares it easy to be cheerful when one has good fortune. He quits his role and joins Young Martin, to test his cheerfulness.

The city of Eden

The pair decide to go to America to seek their fortunes. They are intrigued by the stories of Eden, land alongside a river, thinking architects would be of value in this new development. A Mr Bevan cautions them, but they travel there, and find it is in fact a swamp, and disease-ridden to add to its allure.

They help a couple who lose their children, then in turn contract malaria. In nursing each other back to heath, Mark convinces young Martin to try to apologise to old Martin and reconcile. They borrow their fare home from Mr Bevan. They return and find old Martin still in thrall to Pecksniff, but he agrees to repay Bevan for their fares.

Martin meets up again with Tom Pinch, who learns that old Martin was Mr Fips, his mysterious employer. Tom introduces young Martin to John Westlock. John has learned that Jonas killed his father with drugs but a more thorough investigation uncovers that Chuffey had seen the drugs and prevented their use, Anthony had died of natural causes and Jonas is released from the murder charge.

Tigg Montague is found dead, but bis investigator, Nadgett, reveals the name of the murderer. Pecksniff is ruined, both Jonas and Montague had taken all his funds. He remains with his eldest daughter who, since being jilted, has become something of a shrew.

The two Martins become reconciled, old Martin revealing that he was wanting to connect young Martin and Mary, thus they marry. Jon Westlock marries Ruth Pinch.

Tom Pinch, still hiding his love for Mary, remains unmarried, though a firm friend to Martin and Mary, and John and Ruth.

Mr Peckinsniff, Cherry and Merry


Seth Pecksniff – a self-styled teacher of architecture
Charity Pecksniff – daughter, known as Cherry
Mercy Pecksniff – daughters, known as Merry
Old Martin Chuzzlewit – the wealthy patriarch
Young Martin Chuzzlewit- the grandson of old Martin
Thomas (Tom) Pinch, a former student of Pecksniff’s
Anthony Chuzzlewit is the brother of Old Martin
Jonas Chuzzlewit – the son of Anthony Chuzzlewit
Mr and Mrs Spottletoe – nephew and niece of Old Martin
George Chuzzlewit – bachelor cousin of Old Martin
Ruth Pinch – Tom Pinch’s beautiful sister
Mark Tapley- employee of the Blue Dragon Inn
Montague Tigg – a rogue, a hanger-on to a Chuzzlewit
Chevy Slyme – Chuzzlewit cousin, embroiled in schemes
John Westlock – ex- Pecksniff trainee, friend to Tom Pinch
Mr Nadgett – Tom Pinch’s landlord, Montague’s investigator
Sarah Gamp (Sairey/Mrs Gamp) – an alcoholic midwife
(her popularity led to Gamp becoming slang for an umbrella)
Mary Graham – the companion of Old Martin Chuzzlewit
Mr Chuffey – Anthony Chuzzlewit’s old clerk
Bailey – a boy employed by Mrs Todgers and Montague Tigg
Mrs Todgers – owns inn where the Pecksniffs stay in London
Jefferson Brick – war correspondent New York Rowdy Journal
Mr Bevan – American man who aids Young Martin trip home
Bib, Julius Washington Merryweather
Brick, Mrs Jefferson
Buffam, Oscar
Choke, General Cyrus
Chollop, Hannibal
Chuzzlewit, Diggory
Chuzzlewit, Mrs Ned
Chuzzlewit, Toby
Codger, Miss
Crimple, David
Diver, Colonel
Dunkle, Dr Ginery
Fips, Mr
Fladdock, General
Gander, Mr
Gill, Mr and Mrs
Groper, Colonel
Harris, Mrs
Harris, Tommy
Hominy Family
Izzard, Mr
Jinkins, Mr
Jobling, Dr
Jodd, Mr
Kedgick, Captain
Kettle, La Fayette
Lummy Ned
Lupin, Mrs
Moddle, Augustus
Mould, Mr
Mullit, Professor
Norris family
Pawkins, Major
Pawkins, Mrs
Perkins, Mrs
Pip, Mr
Piper, Professor
Pogram, Elijah
Prig, Betsy
Scadder, Zephaniah
Simmons, William
Slyme, Chevy
Smif, Putnam
Smivey, Chicken
Sweedlepipe, Paul (Poll)
Todgers, Mrs
Toppit, Miss
Whilks, Mr
White, Mrs
Wolf, Mr
I – December 1842 (chapters 1–3)
II – February 1843 (chapters 4–5)
III – March 1843 (chapters 6–8)
IV – April 1843 (chapters 9–10)
V – May 1843 (chapters 11–12)
VI – June 1843 (chapters 13–15)
VII – July 1843 (chapters 16–17)
VIII – August 1843 (chapters 18–20)
IX – September 1843 (chapters 21–23)
X – October 1843 (chapters 24–26)
XI – November 1843 (chapters 27–29)
XII – December 1843 (chapters 30–32)
XIII – January 1844 (chapters 33–35)
XIV – February 1844 (chapters 36–38)
XV – March 1844 (chapters 39–41)
XVI – April 1844 (chapters 42–44)
XVII – May 1844 (chapters 45–47)
XVIII – June 1844 (chapters 48–50)
XIX-XX – July 1844 (chapters 51–54)

Forward to Dombey and SonHis LifeHis WorksHis Characters – Go to Bob Denton.com

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