A very dejected Jack arranges to return to London. Just before his departure, he encounters Henrietta Stuart. He asks whether she is happy with her choice of husband, but she declines to answer, stating only that she must do her duty. It is clear, however, that she still has strong feelings for him.
Jack resumes his art lessons and tries to distract himself from his recent trials. He receives a letter from home mentioning that Winifred has left the village and gone into service in a neighbouring town. An allusion to Leofric causes Jack more stress, and he falls seriously ill. He recalls the tender ministrations of Sister Catherine and wishes she were there. She, meanwhile, reads of Rowney’s marriage and sets off to find him. She nurses him through many weeks of fever, from which he eventually emerges. The sudden appearance of his old ally Tom Cornicutt makes him realise he is over Rowney.
Although he is successful in forgetting her, she keeps intruding into his life by writing letters asking for money. She and Leofric are seriously in debt and she has no other means. She makes a particularly importunate request for £200, and with it asking that Jack visit her in Hounslow. He decides to go in order that he might assess the situation for himself.
When Jack arrives at the lodgings in Hounslow he finds Rowney in a room full of men. She dismisses them and explains how badly she needs the £200. Jack reluctantly agrees to give it to her on the understanding that it will be the last such “loan”. Rowney tries to work her old magic on Jack and confides that she made a mistake in favouring his brother. She grows increasingly desperate, but Jack is resolute in deflecting her protestations. She asserts that he is rejecting her because he is in love with Henrietta, an idea he rejects as absurd.
Meanwhile, the people of Sutton Valence are perplexed as to the reason for Winfred’s departure. Her family are primarily displeased that they no longer have a cook and cleaner. Her youngest brother falls seriously ill with whooping cough, and a series of letters finally persuades her to visit home. Her father becomes abusive when she reveals that she cannot stay, and he threatens to lock her up. She refuses to answer questions and maintains than she must pop out at regular intervals.
A neighbour reminds here that it is her duty to care for her father and brothers, and Balchin himself echoes those sentiments. Winifred becomes increasingly agitated, especially so when she senses there is a thunderstorm on the horizon. She absents herself for a while and returns to her father’s wrath, but is more concerned with the weather. They attempt to physically restrain her from leaving the house again until she shouts that she must go to her baby.
They follow her up to the castle ruins, the scene of her late night trysts with Leofric. Balchin is incensed, threatening to kill her and dash the “bastard’s” head against the walls. He has to be forcibly prevented by his sons, who know only too well that he would carry out his threat. Despite repeated demands, Winifred refuses to reveal the identity of the baby’s father, so Balchin half drags her to the home of Mr Stuart, believing he’ll be able to elicit the truth from her.