Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy go to visit the Alans in London, in preparation for the Greece trip. The Alans think that Cecil and Lucy are still together, and Lucy doesn’t correct them. Afterwards, Mrs. Honeychurch says that Lucy should tell her friends about what has happened, but Lucy says that both the Alans are “such gossips,” and that she doesn’t want the news spreading. Mrs. Honeychurch doesn’t understand why Lucy wants to keep the news a secret (in reality, Lucy doesn’t want George to find out), but Lucy insists.
Lucy does not explicitly lie to the Alans, but fails to tell them the whole truth. She does, however, lie to her mother about why she doesn’t want news of her broken engagement spreading. The fact that she doesn’t want George to know that she is no longer engaged to another man may suggest that, on some level, she realizes she does have romantic feelings for him.
Mrs. Honeychurch is sad that Lucy is leaving Freddy and her for the Alans, and comments that Lucy must be tired of Windy Corner. Not wanting to reveal the truth about George, Lucy does not provide any reason for her trip, and she tells her mother that she may move away from home within a year. This brings tears to Mrs. Honeychurch’s eyes. Lucy tries to explain by saying that she wants “more independence,” and to see more of the world. She apologizes and says, “perhaps I spoke hastily.” Mrs. Honeychurch says that Lucy now reminds her of Charlotte, always taking back her own words.
Lucy continues to keep the truth from her mother. Lucy claims that she wants independence from her home and from her family, but—while this may be true—the real reason she wants to get away from home is to put distance between George and her. Again, the very fact that she thinks spending time near George is dangerous or risky suggests that she does sense there is a romantic connection between them without fully realizing it.
Lucy and her mother talk little on the way back home, and they head to pick up Charlotte from the church. On the way, they pass the Emersons’ home and see that it is locked up and has no lights on. They learn from a servant that the Emersons have moved out. As Lucy and Mrs. Honeychurch go to the church to get Charlotte, Lucy thinks of what a wasted effort the whole Greece trip is, now that George is no longer around Windy Corner.
The real reason for Lucy’s eagerness to go to Greece is revealed as her desire to run away from George. Try as she might to deny her love for him, it still exerts a strong unconscious power over her, driving her to leave her home for a foreign country.
At the church, Charlotte wants to stay for a service, so Lucy waits in Mr. Beebe’s study while Charlotte and Mrs. Honeychurch go into the church. There, Lucy is surprised to find Mr. Emerson, who immediately apologizes on behalf of George. (George has apparently told his father about what happened with Lucy.) Mr. Emerson is apologetic and says that he always taught George to follow his heart and “to trust in love.” He is still under the impression that Lucy is going to marry Cecil, and Lucy does not correct him.
As with the Alans, Lucy does not tell an outright lie, but does not divulge the entire truth about Cecil and her. Mr. Emerson presents George’s behavior as the result of his upbringing, as he has taught George to believe in love. This is in stark contrast to Lucy, who is expending all of her effort in resisting her true feelings, who has been taught that propriety and following traditional custom is most important.
Mr. Emerson says that George has “gone under,” and is in a sort of depression, just as his mother was when George was a baby. The Emersons had not baptized George, and then George got typhoid. Mr. Eager convinced Mrs. Emerson that the typhoid was the result of George’s not being baptized, and she felt so guilty that she became severely depressed, and eventually sick, so much so that she died. Lucy realizes that this was what Mr. Eager had meant by saying that Mr. Emerson had murdered his wife.
Mr. Emerson’s story reveals Mr. Eager’s rumor as essentially a deceptive and slanderous falsehood. Lucy already disliked Mr. Eager, but this is further evidence that social class does not guarantee virtue. Religion here is presented as vicious and narrow-minded, prioritizing following strict rules rather than focusing on promoting kindness and good works.
Lucy feels bad and tells Mr. Emerson that he doesn’t have to leave his home, since she is going to Greece. But Mr. Emerson says that he must go to London to take care of George. He again mentions Cecil, and speaks as if Cecil and Lucy are still engaged. Lucy evades the topic, and acts as if the engagement is still on. Just then, Mr. Beebe comes in, and before leaving makes a comment that makes it clear that Cecil is not going to Greece. Mr. Beebe exits, and Lucy finally admits to Mr. Emerson that she is no longer engaged to Cecil.
Lucy is finally completely honest and forthright to Mr. Emerson, but only because she is forced to be by Mr. Beebe. While no longer deceiving Mr. Emerson, she is still deceiving herself in thinking that she can run away from her love for George.
Lucy tries to explain to Mr. Emerson that she left Cecil for her own reasons, but he tells her that she is “in a muddle,” and says, “You love George!” He says that this is clearly why she broke off her engagement, and says that she must marry George, or else her “life will be wasted.” He says that even if Lucy should go to Greece, she won’t be able to forget about George, since “love is eternal.” Lucy is overwhelmed and starts to cry. Mr. Beebe re-enters the room and Mr. Emerson tells him that Lucy has deceived him and pretended not to love George, but really does.
Mr. Emerson doesn’t care about politeness, and speaks his mind to Lucy. He confronts Lucy with what he knows is the truth about how she feels. Mr. Emerson is a firm believer in the power and importance of love, which for him transcends any issues of social class or pride. Mr. Beebe accuses Lucy of lying in pretending not to love George, but she was lying to herself, as well, and may have convinced herself that she didn’t love him.
Lucy still thinks that she cannot marry George, and she stammers, “I have misled you—I have misled myself.” Mr. Beebe tells Lucy to marry George, saying, “he will do admirably.” Lucy looks to Mr. Emerson and thinks that his face is “the face of a saint who understood.” Mr. Emerson tells her to remember “the mountains over Florence and the view.” He encourages her to fight not only for love, but for truth. She feels as if Mr. Emerson has strengthened her and “shown her the holiness of direct desire.”
Lucy finally admits her feelings for George. But, she does not think that she can follow her heart and marry George because of their different social backgrounds. Mr. Emerson helps persuade her by invoking both love and truth, but also by reminding her of the beautiful view she once shared with George, perhaps symbolic of their potential freedom together.