Uncle Deane calls Tom in to talk about a trip Tom is to make for the firm. He goes on to speak of the increasingly good trade opportunities, the seven years Tom has served the firm, and his general satisfaction with his nephew. Finally he tells Tom that he and Mr. Guest have decided to offer Tom a share in the business. Tom is properly grateful, but he takes the opportunity to state his belief that Dorlcote Mill would be a good investment for the company. He requests that, if it can be bought, he be given the management of the mill and the chance to buy it by working off the price. Tom says that Wakem may part with it, since the present manager, Jetsome, has taken to drinking. Mr. Deane promises to see what can be done.
The chapter is mainly preparation for events to come — Tom's recovery of the mill and the bargain between Philip and his father to help Philip marry Maggie by returning the mill to Tom. However, Mr. Deane's discourse throws light on Tom's character and on Stephen's. Tom, like Mr. Deane, is efficiently practical, but his interests have narrowed to the exclusion of all but business. Stephen is clever, "considering he's seen nothing of business." He is clever in an idle refined way.