Chapters 27-30 Summary
Mr. Chester goes to the home of Gabriel Varden. He startles Sim, who is working diligently in a corner. Sim reminds him of the name of Joe Willet and his involvement in Edward and Emma’s continuing relationship. Mr. Chester speaks to Mrs. Varden in the company of Miggs and Dolly; he flatters her by mistaking her for Dolly or Dolly’s sister. He says he is concerned about Edward’s courtship of Emma, but not because of anything amiss in Dolly. He tells Mrs. Varden that Edward is first of all insincere in his attentions to Emma but is also intended to marry someone else. He begs Mrs. Varden to help him put a stop to the relationship. Dolly keeps her distance. She clearly dislikes the man, and she knows she is the one most responsible for maintaining communication between the two lovers.
Mr. Chester returns home late at night to find Hugh asleep on the stairs. He looks at Hugh’s face closely by the light of the candle, intrigued by something he sees in it. Hugh awakens and explains that he has a letter. Dolly had written to Emma to explain that the letter Emma wrote to Edward was stolen. Dolly had given the letter to Joe to deliver, but Mr. Willet would not let Joe leave so Hugh took it to deliver. Mr. Chester chides him for thinking he would want the letter, but he takes it anyway and tells Hugh he will deliver it himself. Hugh leaves and Mr. Chester goes to bed. He is awakened when he thinks he hears Hugh calling him. He goes out to look at the spot where Hugh was sleeping, but it is empty.
Mr. Chester goes to the Warren and meets with Emma. He tells her that Edward plans to break off with her because of her poverty. Emma does not believe him, but Mr. Chester assures her that she will soon receive a letter to that purpose. Mr. Haredale arrives to find out why Mr. Chester has come to his home, and Emma departs in tears. Mr. Chester tells Mr. Haredale what he told Emma, confessing that he twisted the account to achieve their mutual purpose of separating Emma and Edward. Mr. Haredale regrets ever having anything to do with Mr. Chester, who soon leaves, very pleased with himself.
After Mr. Chester departs from the Maypole, Joe Willet is the target of his father’s continual insults. Mr. Cobb, a frequent guest, joins Mr. Willet, and soon Joe’s patience breaks. He attacks Mr. Cobb and then rushes to his room, barricading himself in. He realizes that he has ruined whatever chance he had of getting Dolly to like him, and he decides the time has come for him to leave the Maypole.