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The Vincys send their smaller children elsewhere to be safe from infection. Rosamond insists on remaining at home ostensibly to help her parents. In fact, says the author she believes providence has arranged Fred’s illness and Wrench’s mistake just no that she should come closer to Lydgate!
Mrs. Vincy is so much affected by Fred’s suffering that Lydgate and Rosamond collaborate to ensure her comfort and rest. They are thrown together and become conscious of a mutual attraction. Lydgate is dismayed and tries to keep away but as Fred improves, the Vincys return to their hospitable ways and Lydgate relaxes. He has no idea of the elaborate plans for her future imagined by Rosamond. Outwardly she seems composed and does not show her feelings.
Lydgate brings messages from old Featherstone asking after Fred and saying he misses his visits. The Vincys put their own optimistic interpretation on this. Only Fred is sad at having no word from Mary.
Meanwhile, Rosamond spins dreams about Lydgate. Ignorant of his own dreams, she sees merely his sophistication and confidence before the young local men. She even includes an elegant house and furniture, visits to his rich relatives in her fantasies. Her thoughts say the author, "had nothing sordid or mercenary. In fact, she never thought of money except as something necessary which other people would always provide." In this, she is similar to Fred, without his rashness. Lydgate is complacent, finding her "sweet to look at as a half opened blush rose and adorned with accomplishments for the refined amusement of man."
He antagonizes a keen admirer of hers with critical comments on a fashionable magazine he has offered Rosamond. Rosamond who enjoys stirring up jealousy enjoys this episode and is sure of Lydgate’s interest in her.
Lydgate was getting interested in an unspoken feud between himself and the other medical men. Bulstrode’s new policy in the administration of the new hospital was about to be announced, and he knew the feud would intensify. Meanwhile, his personal career was on the upswing, as even the gentry, like Sir James Chettam, had begun to consult him.
Rosamond is one major character who is allowed no redeeming qualities by the author. In her relationship with Lydgate, she is the pursuer he the victim. But while the author is favorable in portraying his many talents and good qualities, Rosamond is presented as a selfish, petty and somewhat manipulative young woman. Yet it is also shown that according to her social milieu she was raised to believe that her beauty and refined manners deserved a higher status than that of her family. Given the lack of employment opportunities and the social restrictions on women, marriage became the sole means for an ambitious young "gentle woman" to achieve worldly success.
Lydgate’s complex character includes a blind complacency, which sees her as a beautiful object, one to be admired and enjoyed and which cannot influence or harm him! Thus he is compared to "a jelly fish which gets melted without knowing it.