Cecil’s plans for the Emersons to move into Sir Harry’s villa are successful. The Alans are offended and write Lucy “a dignified letter.” Not long after, Sir Harry dies. Lucy gradually settles into the idea of the Emersons living nearby, but is nonetheless glad when she happens to be in London visiting Cecil’s mother when the Emersons finally move in. In London, Lucy becomes fonder of Cecil.
Lucy is glad she isn’t there when the Emersons move in, but she doesn’t realize why—she is relieved not to have to confront her feelings for George. She is gradually convincing herself to like Cecil, whereas her connection with George was more automatic and sudden. Apparently Cecil is less unpleasant when he’s in his own social circle and not always critical of his inferiors.
Lucy receives a letter from Charlotte. Since the two parted after their trip to Italy, “a coolness had sprung up,” between them. In the letter, Charlotte says that Miss Lavish recently stopped by Lucy’s neighborhood and happened upon the Emersons. Charlotte says that she is worried and warns Lucy that she should tell Mrs. Honeychurch about her history with George Emerson.
The coolness that’s appeared in Lucy and Charlotte’s relationship seems to be a result of Charlotte’s interference in Lucy’s relationship with George. Lucy seems not to realize that as the source, though. Meanwhile, Charlotte shows concern for Lucy here, but it will be revealed that Charlotte’s concern is in fact an effort at self-preservation. Charlotte’s efforts to help Lucy are actually hypocritical.
Lucy is annoyed by Charlotte’s letter, and writes a reply in which she says that she promised not to tell her mother about the kiss, and will keep that promise. She reiterates that she thinks the Emersons are “respectable people,” and says that she will not complain about them. Lucy is unsure whether the secret of George kissing her is “a great thing which would destroy Cecil’s life if he discovered it,” or a “little thing which he would laugh at.” She thinks again about how she mistakenly told Cecil and her mother about a Mr. Harris that was actually Mr. Emerson.
Lucy’s changed relationship with Charlotte shows her increased maturity and independence, as she no longer listens to Charlotte’s every word and is willing to defend the Emersons to her. Despite Lucy’s attempts at honesty, she is now caught keeping a secret from her family and fiancé, and has also unintentionally spread a lie about a fictional Mr. Harris.
In London, Lucy attends a dinner party “consisting entirely of the grandchildren of famous people.” She is surprised by their world-weariness and jaded attitude, so different from the atmosphere at Windy Corner. She plays some music on the piano, and Cecil requests to hear Beethoven, but she declines and plays only Schumann. After the party, Lucy goes to bed and Cecil talks with his mother.
Lucy is now introduced to Cecil’s London high society. Music offers Lucy a small realm of autonomy, where she is in control of what she plays, and is able to produce beauty while being absorbed in her own temporary world of music.
Mrs. Vyse tells Cecil, “Make Lucy one of us,” and enthusiastically says that Lucy is “purging off the Honeychurch taint,” and becoming more and more acceptable. Cecil agrees and exclaims that Lucy was entirely right not to play Beethoven. He says that he wants all his children “educated just like Lucy”: first in the country, followed by a trip to Italy, and only then London. As Lucy falls asleep, she cries out at a nightmare. Mrs. Vyse goes to her room and comforts her, telling her Cecil, “admires you more than ever.”
The Vyses’ comments reveal the importance of upbringing and education in maintaining social hierarchy, suggesting that Lucy can be taught to be “one of us,” and that Cecil’s children will need to be brought up properly. Lucy’s ominous nightmare just at the moment when she and Cecil seem to be moving closer together bodes ill for her forced romantic relationship with him.