Meanwhile, Rosanette has given birth to a son. Frédéric visits and guiltily spends several days with her at the maternity home. He gets a letter from Deslauriers telling him that there’s no longer any point in running for the Assembly. When he returns to Paris and Madame Dambreuse, she reads the letter and accuses him of not going to Nogent as he said he would; she had seen Deslauriers, who had been at Nogent for a reason unknown to Frédéric. He tells Madame Dambreuse he has been sick.

Frédéric begins living two lives: one with Madame Dambreuse and one with Rosanette. It turns into a game for him. But one day Madame Dambreuse gets an unsigned letter telling her that Frédéric is living with Rosanette. She trusts him when he says it isn’t true. She asks if he goes to see Madame Arnoux anymore, and he says no. He realizes she knows all about his life while he doesn’t know much about hers. He begins to notice her flaws.

People in Paris have different political viewpoints but most agree about the need to decentralize the government. Courtesans begin hosting gatherings at their homes, which people view as neutral territory. Rosanette follows suit, and Frédéric moves them to a new house and buys new furnishings. Rosanette dreams of being a society lady, and Frédéric realizes she is hoping he will marry her. Although he is angry at the thought, he is still jealous about her old lovers, and he begins hating her.

Rosanette attempts to pay the rest of her debts to Mademoiselle Vatnaz before the latter takes her possessions, but she cannot come up with the funds. Maître Athanase Gautherot, a process server, comes to claim the money and asks for the paintings. Frédéric intervenes, sends the collector away, and vows to find some money. Rosanette tries to cash in some shares Arnoux had promised her, but they are worthless, which infuriates Rosanette. Frédéric vows to see Arnoux.

Frédéric visits Regimbart, who tells him Arnoux sells religious objects. But when he finds the shop, he spots Madame Arnoux and flees. Rosanette is angry and decides to sue Arnoux. But Maitre Gautherot’s collector comes to the house, drunk, and tells them the sale of possessions must go forward. However, he accepts a few francs to tear the corners off the notice he had posted on the door, a notice that named Rosanette. Rosanette is stunned by Mademoiselle Vatnaz’s hatred.

Mademoiselle Vatnaz had met Dussardier when she worked in a business house. Dussardier had covered up her thieving ways, and she fell in love with him. She gave up everything for him, including her political diatribes, and asked him to marry her, but he said no. He finds out about her actions against Rosanette and asks her to drop them, but she refuses. Dussardier leaves her and tries to apologize for her actions to Frédéric. Dussardier claims that he is unhappy now that the revolution is over and things have gotten worse, not better.