Dr. Grogan meets Charles on his doorstep. Charles tells him that he has broken off his engagement and Ernestina needs him. Grogan is astonished, but he gets his medical bag and they start walking. He perceives with shock that Sarah is the cause. Charles insists that Sarah is better than Grogan thinks. He says Ernestina knows there’s another woman, but Grogan must not tell her who. Though Grogan asks about that morning he was supposed to meet Sarah, Charles urges him on to Ernestina. Grogan is angry, but they part ways.
Grogan has more or less trusted Charles, but now he begins to see the depth of the deception that Charles has practiced on both him and Ernestina. Grogan has also been Charles’s only real friend in the novel, and his reaction begins to show just how big of an impact this decision is going to have on Charles’s life. Grogan is somewhat less bound to convention than many people are, but he won’t sanction Charles’s actions.
Charles returns to his rooms feeling like a traitor. Sam enters, looking shocked. Charles has him bring brandy, and then Sam asks if it’s true. Charles admits that it is. Sam asks what will happen to him and Mary, but Charles brushes him off. He gets out a sheet of paper, but Sam remains, getting angry. He says he has to take care of himself. He asks whether Charles will live in London, and Charles says he’ll go abroad. Sam says he won’t go with him, and Charles shouts at him. Sam insists he’s quitting. Charles curses at him. Sam wants to punch him, but instead he says he won’t go anywhere he might meet one of Charles’s friends, and he leaves. Charles yells for him to come back, but Sam says he’ll have to get a hotel servant.
Sam realizes that his attempt to thwart Charles has failed. He demands that Charles think about Sam’s life for once, and Charles irrationally feels that this is a lot to ask—he knows that Sam is in love with Mary, but seems to think so little of Sam’s ability to love that he doesn’t think Sam should mind leaving Mary behind to continue in his employ. Charles is also angry, however, because Sam is taking the moral high ground, and Charles doesn’t like feeling that his servant is judging his actions, with all of society to back him up.
Sam grins when he hears Charles slam the door, but he soon feels deserted and knows that he deserves it, as he’s done something else bad. Charles smashes a glass in the fireplace. He doesn’t like being an outcast. He doubts his decision; he almost wants to beg for Ernestina’s forgiveness. But then he thinks that he’ll see Sarah that night, and the vision of her helps him begin writing to Ernestina’s father. Then Dr. Grogan comes to the door.
Even though Sam knows that his judgment of Charles is fair, he knows that he himself isn’t innocent, either, because he stole the letter to Sarah. Charles is having trouble taking the consequences of his actions; he’s beginning to understand what it feels like to be Sarah, and he doesn’t really like it. Sarah is his only hope for happiness now.