The only regular occupants of the office of Kenge and Carboy during the summer are Richard Carstone and Mr. Guppy. These two are visited by Bartholomew (Bart) Smallweed, a thin, precocious fifteen year old, and by Mr. Jobling, a law writer currently unemployed. Assisted by Guppy, Jobling finds work and takes the room at Krook's, formerly occupied by Nemo.
Chapter 21 introduces Bart Smallweed's grandparents and Bart's twin sister, Judy; also introduced is Charley (Charlotte) Neckett, who is badly treated as a servant girl in the Smallweed household. Grandfather Smallweed receives Mr. George Rouncewell, who comes to make a payment on a high-interest loan he contracted with the old man. Phil Squod, the attendant at George Rouncewell's shooting gallery, is depicted as an odd and misshapen but not unlikable man; he is intensely loyal to George.
In these two chapters, minor characters who have appeared — or been mentioned — earlier are further characterized and begin now to be linked with the plot involving Lady Dedlock and Nemo. The Smallweeds are another of the numerous families dominated by its most disagreeable member and reeking with unhappiness.