Esther hears that Caddy, who has recently given birth to a little girl, is ill and goes to visit her friend in London. When she returns, Mr. Jarndyce proposes that they go to stay in London so Esther can be near Caddy. He asks if Caddy has a doctor and, although Esther says yes, Mr. Jarndyce suggests that they employ Mr. Woodcourt. When Caddy is feeling a little better, Esther tells her that she is engaged to Mr. Jarndyce.
Mr. Jarndyce is keen to give Mr. Woodcourt work and trusts him to do a good job with his patients. Both men are similarly compassionate and put others first.
Ada often comes to visit Caddy, as does Mrs. Jellyby—although she only talks about her mission during these visits. Mr. Turveydrop is also very attentive, but Esther notices that the household is strictly arranged according to his pleasure and that the utmost care is taken not to inconvenience the old man at all. Peepy has become his attendant and accompanies him around the city. Esther sees Mr. Woodcourt often now because he is Caddy’s doctor. She picks up from his manner that he still feels very sorry for her.
Mrs. Jellyby is still very selfish and does not enquire about her daughter’s health, even though Caddy is ill. Although Mr. Turveydrop pretends to be very attentive, he still manages to arrange things so that Caddy and Prince are always thinking about and waiting on him, rather than the other way around.
Around this time, Esther notices that there is a new distance between herself and Ada. Esther wonders if Ada is upset because of the new relationship between herself and Mr. Jarndyce. One night, Mr. Jarndyce and Esther discuss Mr. Woodcourt, and Mr. Jarndyce says that he seems like a man who has suffered some large disappointment. Esther asks if Mr. Woodcourt will return to sea, and Mr. Jarndyce says that he hopes not.
Esther thinks that Ada might disapprove of her engagement to Mr. Jarndyce. Mr. Jarndyce picks up on the fact that Mr. Woodcourt has been disappointed somehow—perhaps at Esther’s tragic loss of beauty. Mr. Jarndyce sincerely likes Mr. Woodcourt and likes to have him around.
Ada sits in the corner and watches Esther during this conversation and Esther is startled to see that she begins to cry. Esther embraces her and asks what the matter is, but Ada seems unable to explain. Ada goes to bed before her and, when Esther comes upstairs, Esther notices that Ada has fallen asleep with her hand under her pillow, as though she is hiding something.
Esther has no idea what has upset Ada, or what she can be hiding from her.