"Atones for the Unpoliteness of a Former Chapter, Which Deserted a Lady Most Unceremoniously"
This chapter returns us to Mr. Bumble, who has been waiting patiently in Mrs. Corney’s room all this time. He’s counted all the silver several times, and decides it’s time to go through the drawers of her dresser. He finds clothes tidily folded, and a locked box that jingles with coins when shaken.
Mr. Bumble is very pleased, and declares, "I’ll do it!" (27.3).
Mrs. Corney comes back in all flustered, and Mr. Bumble blames the paupers, as usual.
To calm her down, he gives her some peppermint something-or-other – she doesn’t say what’s in it, but we’re guessing it’s booze.
He asks what upset her, and she says that she’s "a weak creetur" (27.19).
Mr. Bumble takes the opportunity to start hitting on her again, so he says he’s weak, too, and starts fiddling with her apron string (no, really).
Mr. Bumble’s final come-on is, "The board allow you coals, don’t they, Mrs Corney? […] Coals, candles, and house-rent free. Oh, Mrs. Corney, what an angel you are!" (27.32-4).
Mrs. Corney can’t resist such a charmer, and allows Mr. Bumble to kiss her on the nose.
Mr. Bumble has it all planned out: Mr. Slout, the master of the workhouse, is dying, and Mr. Bumble will be able to take his place, marry Mrs. Corney, and live with her there in her comfy rooms.
Mrs. Corney is totally smitten, and calls him "an irresistible duck" (Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up).
Having arranged all that, Mr. Bumble asks what upset Mrs. Corney earlier. She says she’ll tell him after they’re married.
After going on a jealous rant for a moment (he thinks one of the male paupers might have insulted her), Mr. Bumble is satisfied, and heads off to Mr. Sowerberry’s house.
He gets there to find Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry out to dinner, and Noah drunk in the parlor, eating oysters as fast as Charlotte can shell them for him.
Noah offers to kiss Charlotte, and Mr. Bumble bursts in to break it up.
Of course, Noah is terrified, and blames it all on Charlotte, saying she’s always kissing him whether he wants to be smooched or not.
Mr. Bumble gives them a lecture on the evils of kissing and what it leads to (wickedness, if you were wondering), and then leaves an order for old Sally’s coffin and marches home.