It's Sunday and the Honeychurches get ready to go to church. After church, Lucy sees the Emersons smoking in their garden. Lucy formally introduces them to her mother, and the Emersons say they are thinking of leaving because they have heard that the Miss Alans were planning to live there. George says that there is no way to make everyone happy, just as anyone who stands in the sun must cast a shadow somewhere. Mrs. Honeychurch agrees.
Charlotte appears but refuses to speak with the Emersons, bowing at them from the carriage. George somewhat awkwardly accepts an invitation to play tennis with the Honeychurches that afternoon; Lucy finds his awkwardness endearing. Mr. Emerson encourages his son to go, which Lucy takes as a sure sign that George has not told his father about the kisses in Florence. She is delighted at the realization, thinking that the kiss must not have been an exploit, and that George must not love her.
Freddy, Floyd, and George want to play tennis, and need one more to make a set of four. Cecil refuses on the grounds that he is a bad player, Minnie must stay inside and observe the Sabbath, so Lucy plays. Cecil bothers them all by reading and critiquing a bad novel out loud. After the game, he reads to Lucy and George, who realize that the book, which takes place in Florence and concerns a woman named Leonora, must be by Miss Lavish, writing under the pseudonym of Joseph Emery Prank.
George and Lucy are less interested in Cecil's book than the beautiful view from Windy Corner. George explains that all views are alike, made of air and distance, but with something supernatural added that makes them unforgettable to certain people. He remembers his first memory: his mother and father and himself looking out into the distance. Cecil gets frustrated since he cannot direct the conversation the way he wants, but Lucy implores him to stay and read on. He reads part of a chapter about a man embracing a woman standing in a field of violets in spring. Lucy suggests that they have tea, hoping to avert disaster. On the way inside, however, Lucy and George find themselves alone, and George kisses her again.
Lucy feels determined to stifle the love that she hardly realizes is rising between her and George, and excuses herself from tea in order to talk to Charlotte. She accuses Charlotte of telling Miss Lavish the secret of the kiss in the violets, and wants Charlotte to talk to George and set things straight, which Charlotte does not volunteer to do, so Lucy summons George. Lucy insists that he leave and never return to Windy Corner. George urges her not to marry Cecil, who he says is pretentious, materialistic, and concerned only with gaining mastery over Lucy's feelings. George proclaims his love for Lucy and says that he wants to love her but also have her think for herself. George says that if she doesn't understand what he is saying, he must face darkness.
George leaves, and Lucy finds herself torn by strange emotions. Freddy again asks Cecil if he'll play tennis, but Cecil again refuses. Lucy suddenly realizes that Cecil is "intolerable," and decides to break off the engagement.