Ursula leaves Pamela and Harold’s house, and when she returns home she tries on the yellow dress that she’d bought earlier that day. She can hear Mrs. Appleyard having an argument with her husband, whom Ursula had only encountered once. She enjoys looking at her figure in the dress, and thinks it unlikely that she would ever have children. Sylvie had asked her recently if she would never marry, and Ursula in turn had wondered if that would be such a bad thing.
Ursula’s second life experiencing the war has a few small but crucial adjustments, demonstrating how the war is changing people’s philosophies about what makes a meaningful life. Whereas before she’d found the yellow dress too extravagant for wartime, now she chooses to indulge, wanting to bring herself some joy during a time of such destruction.
That evening Ursula meets Crighton (summoned by a coy note) for dinner at the Savoy. She wears one of her best evening dresses, but instead of escorting her to the bar Crighton takes her upstairs to a suite. After sex, Crighton pours her champagne and tells her that he’s left his wife and daughters, saying that life is too precious to be unhappy. She says she doesn’t want to marry him; he agrees, instead asking her to move into an apartment with him in Egerton Gardens. She agrees.
Crighton is also inspired by this new guiding philosophy, viewing his life in a new light and choosing to be happy with Ursula instead of unhappy with his wife in these times. The war also provides a reason for them to defy current social norms, choosing to live together but not to marry. Perhaps this is because, in the face of a society under duress, it is easier not to avoid those social norms.