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Fred receives Bulstrodeís letter and promptly takes it to Stone Court. Featherstone receives it with much sarcasm. He has obviously been unwell and being nasty to Mary Garth. Fred is depressed about the situation, but docile because of is need of the money. He gets a hundred pounds, and is full of self-pity. He leaves Featherstone to visit Mary in another room. She is unhappy and talks sharply, and later relents. She laughingly rebuffs Fredís attempts to confide his love. When he still insists, she bluntly says, "My father would think it a disgrace to me if I accepted man who got into debt, and would not work!"
Fred is disconsolate. He returns home and gives eighty pounds to his mother for safekeeping. He is serious about paying a part of his loan, especially as Maryís father stands security for him.
The author moves away from Lydgate into Fred and Maryís story. The differences between them relate to work and ethics Mary is not ashamed of her poverty and scorns to depend on her parents, even if it means bearing Featherstoneís shabby treatments. Fred, though born of a business family, has been pampered and raised as a "gentleman" to be idle and extravagant. This makes him a helpless parasite, tolerating a rich manís insults and hoping to profit from his death. His family sees nothing wrong in it.