Featherstone's funeral is large and impressive in accordance with his wishes. Dorothea and the Brookes watch the funeral from a window. They observe a frog-eyed stranger in attendance. Celia informs Dorothea that Ladislaw is staying at Tipton Grange. The news displeases Casaubon. He believes that Dorothea asked Mr. Brooke to invite Ladislaw to Tipton Grange. Mr. Brooke praises Will, but only Dorothea can discern the signs of displeasure on Casaubon's face. She cannot explain in front of the others that she had nothing to do with his presence in Middlemarch. Mr. Brooke leaves to invite Will to come inside.

All of Featherstone's relatives attend the reading of the will, as does the frog-eyed stranger. Rumor has it that his name is Mr. Rigg and that he is Featherstone's illegitimate son. Featherstone's lawyer, Mr. Standish, reads the earlier will first. Featherstone leaves small bequests to his siblings, which causes a flurry of indignant outbursts. The first will leaves ten thousand pounds to Fred, but the land is left to Joshua Rigg, who is to take the name of Featherstone.

The second will revokes everything except some small bequests. Joshua Rigg receives everything else excepting some property to be used for the erection of some almshouses in Featherstone's name. Mary wonders if her decision to refuse Featherstone's last request deprived Fred of his ten thousand pounds. Fred laments that he will have to become a clergyman after all.

Mr. Vincy regards Fred's idleness with increased severity and determines to send Fred back to school to pass his examination. Mr. Vincy resolves to revoke his consent to Rosamond's marriage. However, Rosamond is determined to have her way. Vincy inquires into Lydgate's finances and requires him to insure his life. Vincy also makes it clear that he won't advance any money should he and Rosamond get into financial straits.

Lydgate arranges to rent a nice home in preparation for married life. Lydgate decides to hasten the marriage and the purchase of furnishings for his new home. His savings begin disappearing rapidly, so he begins buying on credit. Rosamond insists on visiting Lydgate's uncle, Sir Godwin, during their wedding journey. She begins planning to have Lydgate leave Middlemarch and find a practice elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Mr. Brooke hires Will Ladislaw as editor of the Pioneer, a newspaper he has purchased. Brooke wants to be a political man, so he hops onto the Liberal reform platform. Ladislaw believes Casaubon wronged Dorothea in marrying her, so he resolves to stay near her and watch over her. He sets out to visit Dorothea. Dorothea regrets that Casaubon will not hire a secretary. Will replies that Casaubon is too uncertain and insecure to allow anyone else to poke around in his work. He also states that Casaubon doesn't like him merely because he disagrees with him. This assertion distresses Dorothea, so Will changes the subject. He reveals that his grandmother's family disowned her because she married a poor Polish man. Will's own mother ran away from her family to marry someone not to their liking.