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We learn immediately that the young man with the umbrella's name is Leonard Bast. He's not exactly poverty-stricken yet, but he's also certainly not in the same class as the Schlegels. He's undernourished in every possible way – physically, intellectually, emotionally.
Leonard feels like his pride is a little bruised as he walks away from the Schlegel's house; he decides that they're not real ladies after all.
Leonard runs into a colleague from his job (he's a clerk), and walks home to the rather miserable-sounding street where he lives. He runs into another acquaintance, then arrives in his apartment.
The place really doesn't sound too appealing, even though Forster tells us that it's "amorous" and "not unpleasant." Still, it has a seedy feel to it.
Leonard knocks over a framed photo when he takes off his boots, and the glass breaks. The picture is of a girl called Jacky – in it, her smile is dazzling, but the narrator notes a certain anxiety in her eyes.
Leonard cuts his finger and blunders about the flat (which he's renting furnished – it's not actually his stuff). He settles down to read The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin.
Leonard tries to imitate Ruskin's style, and tries to truly understand Culture, just as he was in the concert.
His reverie is interrupted by the arrival of a tackily dressed woman – a floozy, one might even say. It's Jacky, the woman from the photograph (though much older).
Leonard and Jacky talk half-heartedly – obviously, their relationship is not an intellectual one.
Jacky forces Leonard to tell her he loves her; he responds that he can't marry her until he's 21 in November (she's 33), but promises to keep his word.
Leonard goes off on a tirade about how he's not one to leave a girl in the lurch, and about how he's on a campaign of self-improvement through Art and Literature.
Jacky doesn't care about this. She just wants to know that he loves her.
The couple sits down to a depressing dinner of basically artificial food.
After supper, they chill awkwardly in the sitting room – it sounds horrifying. Leonard plays the piano badly and Jacky flees to bed. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is not a couple in love.
Alone, Leonard ponders the Miss Schlegels. He's fascinated by them and jealous that he'll never be like them.
Leonard continues with Ruskin, ignoring Jacky's calls for him to come to bed.