Despite the fact that she rarely leaves Lowick Manor without Casaubon, Dorothea goes into town to ask Lydgate for the truth about her husband’s health. Arriving at Lydgate’s house, she asks to see Rosamond. Rosamond, who looks stunning in a pale blue dress, tells Dorothea that Lydgate is at the New Hospital. Dorothea suddenly notices that Will is also in the room; he asks if he should go to the hospital and tell Lydgate that Dorothea wants to see him. Dorothea says she will go herself. Will is devastated that this rare opportunity to see Dorothea is over already. Talking about her with Rosamond, he calls her a “perfect woman.”
Will doesn’t bother to hide his obsessive love for Dorothea, which adds to the potential danger of their proximity to each other. In a community that is obsessed with rumor, gossip, and scandal, Will’s evident adoration of Dorothea could prove dangerous, particularly considering that Casaubon is already paranoid about the two of them.
When Lydgate comes home that evening, Rosamond tells him that Will is totally enraptured by Dorothea. Rosamond has been surprised to discover that married women can still cast this kind of spell over men. She then protests that Lydgate works too much, saying that he obviously prefers medicine to her. Lydgate replies that he knows Rosamond would not want to interfere with his ambition, which will allow them to move up in society.
This passage illuminates Rosamond’s naivety in two ways. Firstly, she is only now realizing that romantic desire is not simply repelled as soon as someone is married. Secondly, her complaints about Lydgate’s commitment to medicine indicate that she wasn’t really prepared to marry a man like him.