Life in Wheatsylvania has its ups and downs until one day, quite by accident, Martin is made a local hero. He decides to go fishing, and on his way he passes a farmhouse out of which a woman runs to him screaming that her baby is choking. Martin performs an emergency surgery with the tools he has readily available and saves the child's life. After this success, the entire town entrusts Martin, and Martin even cures the village's hypochondriac, Agnes Ingleblad. Meanwhile, Bert becomes a town "booster," trying to advertise and praise his home town of Wheatsylvania in everyway possible.
Martin, although it had been said in previous chapters that he had acquired enemies, also acquired friends. He played poker with and talked to the barber, the editor of the Eagle, and the garageman. However, his gambling and drinking with these men was seen in a negative light by the people of the town, and they began to call him a "drinking man" and a "gambler."
Martin begins to feel frustrated since he has no one to talk to about work except Leora. Eventually, he goes to visit Dr. Hesselink, of Groningen because he thinks they will be able to have professional conversations as he had had in medical school. However, Hesselink is content with his life and does not relate to Martin. It is about this time that Martin decides that he is "half- educated" and must further educate himself and Leora and, therefore, goes about reading Conrad and others in order to learn.
Also in this chapter, Martin discovers Gustaf Sondelius, a speaker and one- man army against disease, whose philosophy Martin begins to align himself with.
Leora becomes pregnant and, sadly, has a miscarriage.
Dr. Coughlin of Leopolis and another doctor, Dr. Tromp, are seen talking. Their conversation turns and ends up on the topic of "Martin Arrowsmith of Wheatsylvania." They begin by saying he is intelligent but end by talking of his drinking and his lack of attendance at church. Bert hears about how Dr. Coughlin is speaking of Martin and informs him.