Leonora is pained. She tries to do good deeds for Edward so that he will come back to her. She wonders why he needs to turn to women like Mrs. Basil and Mrs. Maidan, and why he cannot find solace with her. But Leonora thinks it fortunate that they have found someone like Maisie Maidan. She does not think that Mrs. Maidan and Edward will ever have a physical relationship, and she hopes that when Edward tires of Maisie, he will be grateful for the joy that his wife has allowed him. She longs for him to return to her. But when Florence enters the picture, Leonora loses all hope of winning back her husband.


Dowell's reference to "good people" is an important recurring term in the novel. In these two sections, Dowell explores the backgrounds, secrets, and desires of two of the "good people": Edward and Leonora Ashburnham. By "good," Dowell does not refer to their charity toward others or to their principled stances, he instead refers to their position in society. Because the Ashburnhams are well- dressed, well-groomed, and well-mannered, they are assumed to be "safe," a kind of couple very similar to the Dowells. It is evident that the Ashburnhams are wealthy, and their wealth makes Dowell feel more comfortable with them. He is satisfied, knowing very little about them, to take it for granted that the Ashburnhams are upright and trustworthy.

Dowell's misperception of who are "good people" is his ultimate and life-long mistake. By trusting people based on first impressions, Dowell places too much weight on his poor insight into others. "Good people" are the very ones who betray, deceive, and make a fool of him. He is wrong to necessarily link good appearances with good people. "Goodness" after all, is an arbitrary quality. Edward considers himself good as long as his affairs are backed by passion and affection. In contrast, Leonora cannot consider herself to be good unless she is living a holy and upright life. This difference in their conceptions of goodness accounts for much of the marital conflict in the novel.