After several weeks of serious illness, Esther recovers but is left with a scarred face. Richard has become hostile to Mr. Jarndyce, mistakenly suspecting that his guardian is somehow competing with him in the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. Esther wants a week in the country to grow more accustomed to her new appearance before she sees Ada. Boythorn has written to Mr. Jarndyce, insisting that Esther visit his estate at Chesney Wold. Before they leave for Boythorn's, Miss Flite visits them, tells much of her family history, and mentions that a veiled lady (Lady Dedlock) has visited Jenny (the brickmaker's wife), asked about Esther's condition, and that she took from the cottage the handkerchief Esther left. Esther believes that the veiled visitor was probably Caddy Jellyby. Miss Flite also tells Esther that Allan Woodcourt has heroically saved many lives in a shipwreck.
Accepting her facial scarring without self-pity or bitterness, Esther becomes an even more likable heroine. Richard continues to make self-destructive moves. We are not allowed to lose sight of Allan Woodcourt or of Lady Dedlock's difficult situation.