Old Martin Chuzzlewit travelling in Wiltshire with his companion Mary Graham, is suddenly taken ill. Lying at the Blue Dragon Inn, he finds himself surrounded by grasping relatives anxious to inherit his money. They have learnt that his grandson, Young Martin has been disinherited. His cousin Seth Pecksniff, secretly takes young Martin on as an apprentice with hopes of making a match with one of his daughters (Charity or Mercy). Young Martin joins the simple Tom Pinch as an apprentice. Pecksniff is summoned to London lodging with his daughters at Mrs Todgers' boarding house. Old Martin confides to Pecksniff that against his wishes young Martin intends to marry Mary Graham.
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