Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary
After they returned from Nauheim, Leonora and Edward both suffered from depression. Leonora's depression arose when she realized Edward was in love with Nancy, a love different even from that for Florence. Leonora desperately wanted to know why Fate never gave her a chance to win her husband's heart. Leonora also knew Nancy was in love with Edward. Nancy and Edward, however, sensed their relationship would never be consummated. Nancy had too much respect for Leonora. Edward, after declaring his love, forced himself to stay away from her. Although his feelings for Nancy were of the purest form, he would wait for Nancy to make the first move.
The differences between Nancy's and Leonora's impressions of Edward become clear with one incident. The captain was out on his horse, checking on residents who lived on his land, when he encountered the grown son of a tenant Ashburnham had known all his life. The young man needed a horse, and the captain immediately dismounted and offered his horse to the boy, even offering to pay the expenses.
Nancy witnessed this event and rushed home to tell Leonora, hoping she might appreciate the captain. However, the story made Leonora angrier. Leonora saw him as a fool who could not handle money. Seeing Nancy's admiration for Edward, Leonora became even more depressed. Leonora screamed Nancy should be married to Edward, not her. Leonora also imagined scratching Nancy's face, creating deep scars. It was not fair that Nancy should enjoy so much affection and youth while she was getting old and was so alone. It was also not fair that it was Nancy who made Edward happy.
On the same day Ashburnham shocked Nancy and Leonora with his announcement that he was sending Nancy to her father in India, Nancy received a letter from her mother. The letter confirmed that her mother was in dire straits, living in very poor conditions. Her mother wrote that life was very cruel, forcing her to suffer poverty while her daughter lived in luxury. Later that evening, when Leonora could speak to Nancy alone, she told the girl that she could not leave. She confessed that she knew Edward loved Nancy and needed to have the young girl there in their home. Though Nancy told Leonora that she loved Edward in return, she insisted that she could no longer live there. She needed to leave to care for her mother.