Back at the Deanes, after the boat-ride, Mr. and Mrs. Pullet are visiting so that Mrs. Pullet might donate a formal dress to Maggie. The group openly discusses the beauty of Maggie's arm shape and the tragedy of her unsophisticated brown skin.
After an evening of Stephen's singing, Maggie goes up to her bedroom, too excited by the music and the vague atmosphere of romance to sleep. Lucy comes in and asks her opinion of Stephen. Maggie teases that he is too self- confident—"a lover should not be so much at ease." At Lucy's mention of more music with Philip Wakem, Maggie remembers to tell her that she, Maggie, has promised Tom not to see Philip. Lucy offers to speak to Tom, but Maggie insists upon going herself. Maggie explains the story of her relationship with Philip to Lucy. Lucy is enthusiastic about Maggie and Philip—she vows to find a way for them to be married.
Maggie goes to Bob Jakin's house, where Tom now lives. Bob's new wife greets Maggie, and Bob soon comes in. Bob speaks to Maggie of Tom's glumness and drops a hint that Tom might be in love with Lucy, for whom Tom just acquired a new dog.
Tom comes in, and Maggie asks him to absolve her from her promise not to see Philip. Tom coldly agrees, and Maggie reassures him that she will only see Philip in the company of others— "There will never be anything secret between us again." Tom reminds her that his feelings about Philip remain the same and that if she means to make Philip a lover, she must give Tom up. Tom tells Maggie that he has "no confidence" in her, and Maggie begins to cry. Tom explains to Maggie that she is always acting in extremes and assuming she knows best. Maggie inwardly critizes Tom for being "narrow and unjust." Tom brings up the scene between their father and Wakem just before Mr. Tulliver's death as a reason for Maggie to forget a relationship with Philip, and Maggie again reassures him that she has given up thinking of Philip as a lover.
The two reconcile before Tom must return to work.
There are two tragedies in The Mill on the Floss. Mr. Tulliver's tragedy ended with his death at the end of Book Fifth. Maggie's tragedy takes over the novel beginning with Book Sixth. Several years have passed between the end of Book Fifth and the beginning of Book Sixth, and Maggie is now nearly a grown woman at nineteen. Descriptions in the opening of Book Sixth of the grown Maggie emphasize her newly sensuous body—she is tall and broad, with curvaceous arms and fleshy, red lips. Maggie has become a figure of longing—we learn that in the years between Book Fifth and Sixth, Maggie has given up her pious self-denial and has allowed herself to wish for things in her life. These physical and emotional markers of the young adult Maggie are integral to understanding her actions later in the novel.