For days after Ross spent the night with Elizabeth, she stares longingly out the window of Trenwith, waiting for word from him, expecting him to leave Demelza and marry her. The ever-watchful and all-knowing Aunt Agatha will not be fooled by Elizabeth’s insistence that nothing happened. She tells Elizabeth that she never married because she spent her life waiting for “the better man” which is better than the “convenient man”, implying that the latter is exactly what George Warleggan is.
Meanwhile, George is over the moon that he has finally won – not just Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, but the fact that he thinks he has now got everything he believes Ross wants: Elizabeth, Trenwith and his mines. Elizabeth may have wanted a low-key wedding, but there is no way George is going to not show off his victory to all the most important people in town. After the wedding, which Ross avoided, George surprises Elizabeth by saying that he wants to make Trenwith their home. Poor Agatha!
For his part, Ross, appearing repentant about what he did and trying to explain away his black eye to Henshawe as “my wife took exception to something I said”, is still in the dog-house at home. Demelza offers to help him pack for Trenwith, expecting that Elizabeth is busying herself preparing the house for a Poldark to return to it. He tries to explain himself, but the more words that came out of his mouth, the more ridiculous he sounds, as if “I didn’t know what possessed me” would excuse his betrayal of his marriage. (The more he spoke, the more I wished Demelza would punch him again and give him another black eye!)But dear old Ross, ever the luckiest man alive, gets another reprieve. Old friend, Richard Tonkin, is now out of debtors’ prison and meets him in Truro with a proposition. It seems another friend who Ross lent money to many years ago has ventured into shipbuilding and is now in partnership with Tonkin. With the war spreading further, their business is now booming. They offer Ross a share in their business. But instead, Ross decides to simply accept repayment and invest the money into keeping Wheal Grace open. Not only will this keep his mining dreams alive, but will also keep his workers employed.
While Ross is away in town, Demelza decides Ross is not the only one who can have fun (she is convinced he is actually at Trenwith with Elizabeth). She accepts a party invitation from Sir Hugh Bodrugan alone and turned every head in the room when she walks in. Sir Hugh, who had previously already made his intentions clear, wastes no time cosying up to Demelza, while George tells Tankard of her origins as a scullery maid and challenges him to “debauch” her.
But before Tankard has a chance to woo Demelza, Captain McNeil turns up. With revenge on her mind, Demelza accepts an indecent proposal from McNeil but stops short when she realises that despite Ross’s betrayal of her trust and their marriage, she still loves him and cannot do to him what he did to her. She pushes him away, but finds herself suddenly also needing to escape from Tankard and Sir Hugh, fighting over her right outside her bedroom door! Never one to shy away from climbing out a window, Demelza does just that and escapes from the temptations of her infatuated suitors.
When Ross returns home the next day to find Demelza had gone to the Bodrugan party against his wishes and not come home, he goes out looking for her. He finds her walking along the beach, still in her party dress, crying. He goes to meet her . She tells him that he has made her second best, even if he doesn’t think so. He cannot make up his mind what he wants except waiting to stop wanting Elizabeth. (Dude! For someone who doesn’t want to sleep in the library anymore, this is such a bad move!)
Having reopened Wheal Grace, Henshawe finally reports hitting a mother-lode of tin! Although it is not the copper they were hoping for, there is more tin than they expected and is enough to make a good living. Finally, Ross is going to be able to pay off his debts and maybe even become wealthy one day. But will this be enough for him to redeem himself with Demelza?