During breakfast at the shooting gallery, Phil Squod reminisces about his early years and explains how he got to be so ugly. Unexpectedly, Grandfather Smallweed arrives, accompanied by Judy, his granddaughter. He mentions that Richard Carstone has an army commission. "Mr. George" (Rouncewell) suggests that Richard has no future in the army. The old man then asks George if he has a sample of the handwriting of Captain Hawdon (Hawdon borrowed money from Smallweed, who thinks that the captain may still be alive). A "friend in the city" has a document which he wants to compare with a specimen of Hawdon's handwriting. George agrees to accompany the old man to see the "friend" (Tulkinghorn) but will make no other promises until he learns more about the matter. He takes a paper from his cabinet and goes off with the old man and Judy to Lincoln's Inn Fields.
This chapter draws George Rouncewell into the line of action involving Tulkinghorn's hounding of Lady Dedlock. The chapter is typical of Dickens' serio-comic art in general: it mixes Dickens' humorous treatment of Phil Squod with the ominous note sounded by Tulkinghorn's obsession.