Simon walks home, feeling “a curious tension” in his arms, “as though he’s been pulling hard on a heavy rope.” He’s disappointed that he hasn’t gained access to Grace’s “missing memory.” He wonders, “How much of her story can he allow himself to believe? Does he need a grain of salt, or two, or three?” He wonders if he is using the right methods with Grace, and he strongly considers encouraging—even attending—Dr. DuPont’s hypnosis session with Grace.
It’s important to note that Simon is essentially claiming ownership of the hard work of telling Grace’s story, by making the act of his listening seem equally strenuous. The fact that he is willing to consider allowing DuPont to hypnotize Grace is evidence of his desire to reach a concrete conclusion about Grace and her story; unlike Grace, Simon is unwilling and perhaps even unable to allow for the existence of multiple and conflicting meanings.
Simon arrives home, and Dora greets him coldly at the door. Mrs. Humphrey invites Simon to dine with her, but he declines, as he has “half accepted” an invitation to go rowing on the lake with Miss Lydia. Upstairs, Simon realizes that Mrs. Humphrey has been stealing laudanum from him, and he feels angry at having “been taken.” That night, Simon goes on the rowing trip and considers proposing to Lydia to appease his mother. But, he thinks, he’s “not that lazy, or weary; not yet.”
Simon’s sense of anger at having been robbed by Mrs. Humphrey reflects his surprise at the fact that she is capable of agency, since he has consistently conceived of her as being helpless and passive. The fact that he frames Mrs. Humphrey’s theft in vaguely sexual terms (he’s been “taken” by her) suggests that while he is annoyed by her assertion of power over him, he still thinks of her with a degree of sexual desire.