Captain Lydgate, Lydgate's cousin and son of Sir Godwin, comes to visit. The captain takes Rosamond out riding. Lydgate forbids her to go riding again because of her pregnancy. Rosamond defies him; she suffers an accident and miscarries.

Lydgate gives a bill of sale on his furniture to his creditor as security for his debt. Rosamond wants to ask her father for money, but Lydgate forbids it. She tries to persuade him to sell everything and leave Middlemarch, but he refuses. He asks her to choose some of their dishes and her jewelry to return. She sullenly places all of her jewelry in front of Lydgate and tells him to choose everything himself. Lydgate relents and tells her to keep her jewelry.

Gossip concerning the codicil to Casaubon's will spreads throughout Middlemarch. Rosamond mentions it to Lydgate, who knows more than most. He advises Rosamond not to mention it to Will. Will knows nothing of the codicil until Rosamond defies her husband's advice and teases him about it. She is surprised to find that Will knew nothing of it. She is unhappy with her marriage, and she has already unsuccessfully tried to get money from her father.

Bulstrode hires Will to attend an auction and bid for a painting that Mrs. Bulstrode wants. Will meets John Raffles there. Raffles says he knew Will's mother and that her parents made a fortune by selling stolen goods.

Bulstrode returns home from work, and his wife tells him that a strange, disagreeable man came to their house. He knows Raffles has returned to Middlemarch and fears losing his wife's love and respect. Raffles visits him at the bank the next day and continues to blackmail him.

In his youth, Bulstrode met Mr. Dunkirk, a pawnbroker, at church and befriended him. He became a partner in the business and slowly discovered that they were selling stolen goods. He did not resign, however, and continued to behave publicly as a deeply religious man. Dunkirk died, leaving his wife a wealthy woman. Her son died. She wanted to marry Bulstrode, but she asked him to locate her missing daughter before she would consent. Bulstrode hired Raffles to find her. The daughter, Sarah Ladislaw, and her small child, Will, were found, but Bulstrode bribed Raffles to keep silent. He married Mrs. Dunkirk and received all of her wealth upon her death.