After tending to Rosamond, Lydgate reads Dorothea’s letter. Will arrives and Lydgate tells him that Rosamond has had a “nervous shock” and is in bed. Lydgate then explains that Will is implicated in the scandal surrounding Bulstrode. Will makes a dark joke about his own reputation but refrains from mentioning the fact that he refused Bulstrode’s money, as he doesn’t want to embarrass Lydgate. Lydgate mentions that Dorothea is his only supporter; Will’s reaction convinces Lydgate that he has come to Middlemarch to see her.
At this point in the novel, most of the chapters become much shorter, with each one containing less action than some of the previous chapters. This builds up suspense, leading the reader to expect a series of climactic events or resolutions before the novel’s end.