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David gets a reply from Dora's aunts: they ask him to come and meet them, and to bring a friend.
He replies that it would be an honor and invites Traddles.
David is disappointed because his old confidant, Miss Mills, has gone to India with her father.
He worries endlessly over what to wear.
David feels a little annoyed (though he loves Traddles) that his companion for the day keeps brushing his hair so weirdly.
Traddles apologizes: his hair just won't stay down.
Traddles's hair has given him a lot of trouble: his girlfriend, Sophy, doesn't mind it, but her oldest sister, "the Beauty," does.
Sophy is so necessary to her family that, when Traddles asks her parents if he can marry Sophy, Sophy's mother (Mrs. Crewler) faints.
Finally, her father (the Reverend Horace Crewler) agrees.
But Sophy's sister Sarah (who has some sort of problem with her spine) eats nothing but toast and water for two days at the news.
They've all become resigned to it, but they all resent Traddles for taking Sophy away from them.
Traddles and David arrive at the home of the Missses Spenlow.
David feels like he's on display.
He looks around for Dora, but doesn't see her – though he does hear the sound of Jip somewhere.
The two Miss Spenlows are older than Mr. Spenlow was.
The younger of the two, Miss Clarissa, addresses David – she thinks – but she's actually looking at Traddles.
David corrects her mistake, but he feels weird right off the bat.
The older of the two sisters, Miss Lavinia, is supposed to be experienced in the ways of the heart.
This experience arises from a (possibly imaginary) relationship Miss Lavinia had long ago with a Mr. Pidger.
Dora's aunts acknowledge that, with their brother's death, Dora's position in the world has changed.
They also agree that David seems genuinely to love Dora.
(There's a little digression about the source of the quarrel between Lavinia, Clarissa, and Mr. Spenlow: apparently, the issue was that Mr. Spenlow's wife didn't find room for the Dora's aunts at a dinner party long before.)
(Miss Clarissa adds that it was no problem at all if Mr. and Mrs. Spenlow wanted to have their own friends; she and Lavinia could make do on their own, she's sure.)
Miss Clarissa and Miss Lavinia are both undecided about what to do with David, since young love is so uncertain.
David and Traddles both chime in to talk about how honest and faithful David has been with his love for Dora.
The Spenlow sisters seem impressed with Traddles because he is a lawyer.
Miss Lavinia asks Traddles to confirm that David's love is the real thing.
She then tells Traddles that they want to put these feelings to the test by getting to know David.
Still directing her attention to Traddles and not David, Miss Lavinia clarifies that these visits will be to Miss Lavinia and Miss Clarissa, not to Dora.
Dora's aunts don't want an official engagement between David and Dora yet.
Traddles agrees that this is reasonable and considerate, and David chimes in positively.
Miss Lavinia also makes David promise that he won't try to contact Dora secretly outside of these visits.
David promises happily.
But Miss Lavinia insists that David talk over these conditions with Traddles for fifteen minutes before he agrees.
So, they leave David and Traddles alone for a quarter of an hour, they come back, and David still agrees to all of their terms.
Miss Clarissa invites David to come to dinner at 3 PM every Sunday, and to tea twice a week at 6:30 PM.
They would also like to meet Miss Betsey Trotwood.
Miss Lavinia guides David into the house to see Dora, who has been listening at the door.
Dora tells David that she's frightened of his friend and wants him to leave – she's talking about Traddles, and she thinks he has no business being there.
David pleads that Traddles is the best guy around.
He also tells her that Miss Betsey will be visiting soon, but Dora doesn't want to meet her either.
The two of them play with Jip and (as usual) avoid practical matters.
David suggests that Dora come and meet Traddles, but she runs off to her room and locks herself in instead.
Traddles congratulates David: he's sure that David will be married long before Traddles himself will.
Miss Betsey is pleased to see David so happy, but David notices that she paces back and forth in her room almost until dawn.
David also writes to Agnes to thank her for advice, and she replies happily.
He gets even busier than usual, with lots of work and now these extra visits to Highgate.
David is relieved to see that Miss Betsey seems to be getting along with the Spenlow sisters, even though they think Miss Betsey is a bit eccentric.
Sadly, Jip hates Miss Betsey, and growls whenever he sees her.
The one thing that does worry David is that everyone seems willing to treat Dora like a toy or a doll.
He brings it up with her one afternoon, telling her that, after all, Dora isn't a child.
David tells her that she could still be happy and treated as an adult.
Dora starts to cry and tells David that he shouldn't find fault with her.
Dora eventually asks him to show her that cookbook he wanted her to learn.
But she gets a headache from reading the cookbook, and trying to learn to add and subtract makes her cry.
David asks her, if they were married and he wanted an Irish stew for dinner, if she would know what to do.
Dora answers that she would ask the servant for one.
So, David and Dora go back to being happy with playing their guitar and songs and painting flowers.