Pinkie walks home to Paradise Piece to find that his childhood house has been demolished. He sent Rose back to Nelson Place the night before and now he’s joining her. The neighborhood is even shabbier than he remembered. A child’s dusty coffin hangs in the window of a shop. The Salvation Army butts up against the walls of where he used to live with his parents. Pinkie knows he’ll have to marry Rose. The streets are cramped and ugly. He had thought that when he returned to his home, he would judge it wanting. Now he feels as if he’s the one in need of forgiveness.
As he returns to the scenes of his youth, Pinkie’s pride is at a low. The shabbiness and ugliness of the neighborhood remind him of his innocence as a boy and his sinfulness as a man. Having murdered Hale and Spicer, he is forced to return to a place he’d hoped never to see again, and now it’s as if the streets and housing are judging him and finding him unworthy.
Pinkie finds Rose’s house. Rose throws open the door, thrilled to see him. The hall smells like a lavatory. Rose warns him that her parents are unhappy with her over losing her position at Snow’s. She’d been sending them money. Also, they “get moods.” Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Wilson are most definitely in a mood, and they cherish their bad humor like it’s a possession. They wouldn’t let Rose clean the house or light a fire. Pinkie tells Mr. Wilson he would like to marry Rose, but they need his permission. Mr. Wilson refuses. Pinkie offers him ten shillings, then twelve, then fifteen. Mr. Wilson is offended and says he won’t let Rose go for so little. Also, he’s too young. Mrs. Wilson says they don’t want his money. Mr. Wilson tells Pinkie to make it fifteen guineas and he’ll think about it.
It is now clear why Rose does not want Ida to save her from Pinkie. Her life before she met him was drudgery. Living at home meant being a slave to her parents’ moods. She is used to ugliness and lack and suffering. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have very little, so they cling to their moodiness and to their daughter, for whom they have very little real affection. This becomes clear when Mr. Wilson, having refused Pinkie’s offer of money in exchange for Rose’s hand, considers giving her away for a higher price. One guinea was worth around 21 shillings—a much higher price than Pinkie offered.
Pinkie looks around the dirty and cramped basement room and thinks he was right to get out of such squalor, even if it meant committing crimes. He feels sorry for Rose that she can’t murder to escape like he has. He gives in and tells Mr. Wilson he’ll send his lawyer over with the money. Rose is overcome with gratitude. Pinkie says he would do more for her but is filled with a desire to die when he thinks of his husbandly duties. Rose says she’s never known one of her parents’ moods to pass so quickly, and they must have liked him.
Pinkie is torn between pity for Rose and a desperate desire to be free of her. He knows, though, that he is trapped—but not as trapped as Rose, who, as a woman with a conscience, was not able to murder her way to the top as he has. What Mr. and Mrs. Wilson saw in Pinkie is a mystery. It was most likely the money he offered them.