Part 2, Chapters 4-6 Summary
The Lammles still live in Alfred’s bachelor lodgings, saying to their friends that they are looking for a larger home. This invites everyone to suggest places, which do not seem to satisfy the Lammles. Mrs. Lammle intensifies her efforts to make friends with Miss Podsnap. Over tea one day, Miss Podsnap says that Mr. Lammle is her idea of the perfect lover, though she assures Mrs. Lammle that she has no romantic notions about her husband. Alfred Lammle arrives and suggests that Miss Podsnap has an admirer in “Fascination” Fledgeby, a lanky, insecure youth who is even more shy than Miss Podsnap. He has arranged for Fledgeby to join Miss Podsnap and the Lammles for dinner and the opera the following day, which horrifies Miss Podsnap. When the quartet meets together, Fledgeby and Miss Podsnap avoid looking at and talking to each other, despite the Lammles' best efforts to get them to connect. After the opera, Mrs. Lammle chides her husband for finding such an idiot as Fledgeby. Mr. Lammle states that it will work out, assuring his wife that it must, as both of their “friends” have money.
The next morning, Mr. Lammle asks Fledgeby his opinion of Miss Podsnap, but Fledgeby refuses to give it. Fledgeby views Miss Podsnap as not being violent in the sense of standing up to anyone. After a quarrel over this, Fledgeby says he does not want to be an object of manipulation by the Lammles and leaves. He goes to his money-lending office in Pubsey and Co., where he finds his front man, Riah, to whom he shows contempt for being Jewish. Riah takes Fledgeby to his roof garden, where Lizzie Hexam and Jenny Wren are waiting. Jenny mysteriously tells Fledgeby to “Come up and be dead!” This haunts Fledgeby as he goes home.
Mortimer Lightwood asks Eugene Wrayburn his intentions toward Lizzie Hexam. Wrayburn denies that there is anything. As they are speaking, Charley Hexam and his schoolmaster, Bradley Headstone, arrive. Charley also demands to know why Wrayburn is seeing his sister. He knows that Wrayburn is supposedly tutoring Lizzie, but he is outraged that it seems that Wrayburn himself is paying for the education. Charley warns Wrayburn to stay away from his sister and leaves, waiting on the stairs for Mr. Headstone. The schoolmaster also confronts Wrayburn, who refuses to give any answers and questions whether Mr. Headstone also has designs on Lizzie. After Headstone leaves, Lightwood drags the truth out of Wrayburn. He questions Wrayburn’s motives, but Wrayburn swears he does not intend to seduce or marry Lizzie, having no plans for her whatsoever.