Upon awakening to a new day, Mr. George performs his morning ablutions with cold water, while his partner Phil prepares breakfast consisting of coffee and rashers of bacon. A leisurely smoke of his pipe, and then Mr. George eats his breakfast. Phil joins Mr. George, and as they have their coffee and bacon, they converse about this and that. The reader learns that Phil has no idea what his age is, and that he was once destitute and unemployed when Mr. George took him up as his assistant. Their breakfast concluded, Mr. George gets some exercise wielding a broadsword, while Phil attends to the rifles, taking them apart, oiling them, and reassembling them.
Presently, Grandpa Smallweed, who is seated in a sedan of sorts, arrives at George's shooting gallery. He is accompanied by his granddaughter Judy. Having paid and dismissed the hired worker who had carried the sedan, Grandpa Smallweed takes note of Mr. George's assistant Phil who could have serviced him for free (after all, Mr. George owes Grandpa Smallweed). He asks to be placed by the fire to warm his feet. The request is instantly obliged by Phil who is as strong as an ox but not before Grandpa Smallweed has Phil put down the rifle. Grandpa Smallweed requests Mr. George to do likewise with regard the broadsword. Mr. George obliges Grandpa Smallweed and takes up his pipe before asking the old, withered man about the purpose of his visit.
It takes a while for Grandpa Smallweed to get to his point. He eventually does, and it involves the death of Captain Hawdon who Grandpa Smallweed believes wasn't a derelict of no account. Grandpa Smallweed has a hunch Captain Hawdon was integrally involved in the case Jarndyce and Jarndyce, and he wants to have his hunch substantiated by having Mr. George's private papers examined by his associate. (Apparently, the verification of his hunch will make Mr. Smallweed and his associate very rich.) Mr. George agrees to meet with Grandpa Smallweed's associate on the condition Grandpa Smallweed will pay for the expenses the process of meeting the associate will incur. Grandpa Smallweed agrees to the condition. Opening a safe, Mr. George thus secures those private papers within his person and suffers to be led by Smallweed to his associate's place of business.