Dorothea visits Lydgate's home to ask if Casaubon consulted him because of new health problems. Lydgate is not home, but she discovers that Will is there visiting with Rosamond. Will offers to go to the New Hospital to fetch Lydgate, but Dorothea chooses to go to the hospital herself. She does not want to speak with Will, because she knows she could not tell Casaubon about it without upsetting him. She also doesn't want to hide things from her husband. She wonders why Will visits Rosamond in Lydgate's absence. Dorothea's abrupt departure mortifies Will, and he suspects he has fallen in her opinion. Rosamond teases Will by saying he worships Dorothea. Rosamond wonders at the possibilities of having male admirers even as a married woman.

Lydgate sets Dorothea's mind to rest about Casaubon's health. He converses with her about the petty politics hindering his fund-raising efforts for the hospital. He names Bulstrode's unpopularity as the chief reason. He regrets wasting time on political differences when he'd rather be working on medical issues. Dorothea donates some money to the hospital.

Public opinion of Lydgate's support of reform of the medical profession is divided. Lydgate's sparing use of drugs arouses distrust in potential patients, professional jealousy in other doctors, and anger in the local apothecaries. His habit of sometimes contradicting other doctors' methods angers and embarrasses his colleagues. However, Lydgate's successful treatment of some serious illnesses balances the public distrust somewhat.

Bulstrode would be happy to pay for everything at the hospital in return for the exclusive right to manage it, except for the fact that he wishes to purchase Stone Court from Joshua Rigg Featherstone. Therefore, he must secure large donations for the hospital. He gives Lydgate full authority over the treatment of the patients. Other doctors can consult, but they cannot contravene Lydgate's decisions. Every medical man in town refuses to visit the Fever Hospital.

Rosamond tells Lydgate that she wishes he weren't a medical man. She says that his titled relatives feel that he has sunk below them in his choice of a profession. Lydgate tells her that she cannot love him if she can't love the medical man in him.

Public opinion of Ladislaw generally conforms to Casaubon's. The rumor has gotten out that they are relatives, but that Casaubon will have nothing to do with him. Many find him brash, ridiculous, and perhaps a little dangerous. However, he is friendly with some households, including Farebrother's, where he is a favorite of the ladies, especially Miss Noble. He visits the Lydgates frequently and alleviates Rosamond's boredom. Lydgate is out of temper because he has been unable to pay the debt he owes on his furniture, and Rosamond is pregnant.