There is rumor that Sir Leicester had paid a bribe to have the truth concerning Lady Dedlock’s past hushed up, but that is neither here nor there. Lady Dedlock is peacefully housed in the Dedlocks’ mausoleum where Sir Leicester, accompanied by George Rouncewell, makes a habit of visiting now and then.
When Laurence Boythorn hears about Sir Leicester’s loss, he goes out of his way to yield to Sir Leicester with regard their disputed portion of property in Chesney Wold. However, Sir Leicester interprets the generosity as condescension, compelling Boythorn to flagrantly trespass on Sir Leicester’s property to renew their old rivalry. Boythorn remains silent about the fact that he and Sir Leicester share a common grief: Boythorn’s beloved, who is dead, was Lady Dedlock’s sister.
Meanwhile, George Rouncewell gets along well at Chesney Wold. He is the steward of the house that was formerly in care of Chesney Wold's Keeper. There George often entertains guests, his friends the Bagnets. Phil Squod is employed in the house as a sort of jack of all trades. On Sundays, Goerge is seen attending church arm-in-arm with his mother.
In the Dedlock manor, despite the emptiness and gloom, Sir Leicester maintains his high state. He is often accompanied by his cousin Volumnia who reads to him the affairs of state, which irrevocably bores Volumnia, and which Sir Leicester doesn’t really pay much mind to. However, whenever Volumnia stops reading, Sir Leicester grows alarmed, compelling Volumnia to continue reading. Volumnia’s one consolation, in this dull life, is attending public balls. Otherwise her life at Chesney Wold is as blank, bleak, and depressing as the empty manor which is deprived of people and life.