Summary and Analysis
Silas is spending too much on additions to the house, and Mrs. Lapham objects. She is greatly relieved when he reveals he has loaned the remaining money he planned to spend on the house to Rogers, who wishes to invest in some business venture.
Persis also objects to Silas' plot to match Tom Corey with Irene and has forbidden him to bring Tom home; however, Lapham uses her good mood over the Rogers loan to tax her patience and brings Corey home to dinner.
As Tom leaves after a talk with Penelope and Irene, he finds himself saying, "She's charming!" and laughing out loud.
Lapham's loan to Rogers is the beginning of his financial downfall and his moral rise. His loaning the money that would have been put into the house is not accidental. He is investing in his moral salvation by drawing from his material welfare.
Corey's condition after talking with the Lapham girls indicates that he is enchanted with one of them. Howells is careful not to reveal which one, giving the reader an opportunity to be deceived by the Laphams' notion that he loves Irene. The reader does not definitely know of Tom's true feelings until the Laphams do.